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Lead Intake Best Practices

by SimpleLaw on

Growing your law firm starts with new clients and that starts with new leads. Too often, we hear lawyers concerned about losing leads. From clients, we often hear they haven't heard back from attorneys they've contacted. Clearly, there is something falling through the cracks of the intake process. Effective lead intake is critical for a law firm to grow their firm. Following these best practices increases your odds of converting leads to clients, growing your law firm.

Streamline the Intake Process

The focus here is to make it easy, both on the lead and the law firm, to connect. What are you doing to make it easy for leads to contact you? The answer isn't always more options. After all, if you offer a chat on your website, accept phone calls, receive emails, connect on social media, and have a law firm listing on a site, it's a lot to keep track of in a timely manner. The key part of this sentence is responding in a timely manner.

Technology is a great option to streamline the intake process. Look for case management software, like SimpleLaw, that offers a lead intake form for your website that automatically populates your software. Going the next step, find software, like SimpleLaw, that lets you email an intake form to a lead, create tasks for the firm or the lead, tracks emails, integrates with your calendar, and more, centralizing all of this information.

Create a Standard Process

For some, creating a standard process is as simple as making it part of your daily routine.  Before you begin your work day, check your intake locations, whether one or many. This simple process of just scheduling the time to review sources on a regular basis goes a long way to not losing leads.

Then outline the follow-up steps. Focus on a timely response. The process must focus on delivering great support, a timely response, and consideration for the potential new client. Below is a possible process:

  • Check lead intake sources every morning.
  • If a new lead is noted and received electronically, whether email, web form, or other online resource, respond immediately with confirmation of receipt and outline when they can expect to hear from your firm next.
    • If your firm offers paid consultations only, be sure to note that.
    • Key to this first response is to communicate clearly what the next steps may be for that individual.
  • Follow up within 24-48 hours with next steps.
    • Be sure to offer a consultation, if that's part of your law firm process. 
    • Describe the need for the consultation and the information that your firm will gather.
    • Create a standard list or form for each consultation or intake, by type of matter.
    • If the client does not respond to the email, take the time to give them a call.
  • Hold the initial consultation.
    • During the initial discussion, be clear about what may limit your firm's ability to accept them as a client. 
    • Give the lead direct and respectful feedback as to next steps, including if your firm feels there is no legal case warranted or if your firm has a conflict. Be ready to give them alternative attorneys. 
  • Take thorough notes on the lead journey.
    • Note the date of request, each reply, scheduled appointments, intake forms, and any other information your firm monitors. 
    • Use software that centralizes all of this information so it's easily accessible to the law firm members who should have availability.

Train the Intake Team

If a lead calls the firm or there is immediate interaction, including a web chat, be sure the person responding is trained. They should be well informed on the firm's practice areas, procedures, and availability. Given the area of law, there may be questions that should be gathered immediately, like the date of an incident for a personal injury matter. Likewise, they need to give the lead clear steps on the process and what to expect next. Make sure everyone involved in intake is trained to get, and give, information. 

One of the key differences here is making sure the intake person enters that lead data to your case management software. One of the most common issues noted when law firms lose leads is losing that piece of paper. Be sure to use software that gives a contact relationship manager (CRM) so your firm has one central location for all leads, clients, and more. Like SimpleLaw.

Track Results

Knowledge is power. Be sure to track where leads are coming from when they find your firm. Include this question in the initial intake process, and be sure to use software that lets your track - and customize - the sources. Not only does this help your firm know where to check first for leads, but where some extra attention may drive even more leads. And on the other side, which locations may not be driving leads to the firm. With limited time and expense, it's critical to understand where to spend your limited resources for the best result. Look for software that creates custom reports for your firm so you see results over time, by any criteria, including day of week, etc. The more you know...

Deliver Exceptional Customer Support

From the initial interaction through resolution, whether becoming a client or not, be sure to give the lead great customer support. They should feel valued, important, understood, and supported. Remember, most people don't have legal issues on a regular basis. This can be a stressful and challenging experience. Whether they become a client or not, a great interaction gives that person some good news to share about your firm. 

Remember, every potential client is unique. Tailoring your approach to their specific needs is crucial. Standardizing the intake process, leveraging the power of technology to not lose any bit of information, helps ensure no one is lost and the lead has a great experience with your firm.