How to Improve Your Law Firm’s Intake Team and Retain More Clients | Law Firm Sales Performance

Sean Lund-Brown

It’s not often that you hear many people talking about “sales” in the legal field, but that’s essentially what retaining clients is doing—selling your services. As such, it’s important to know how you can ensure that your intake team is working its best to deliver the results that you deserve and keep your client list growing. In doing so, you’ve only got about 30 seconds so there isn’t a lot of room for error. 

While some firms think the issue lies with their attorneys, the fact of the matter is that it starts right at the beginning—the intake process. Without an effective strategy in place for bringing in and attracting new clients, it’s going to be fairly difficult to keep your practice growing. Think about it. If you were to approach these three law firms, which would you choose:

  1. The professional, impersonal, “strictly business” law firm that is all jargon and no personal connection
  2. The attempted personal connection from a distant intake team that is detached from the rest of the firm
  3. The intake team that answers with a caring voice and is ready to answer questions, carry clients to the next phase of the process, etc. 

The third choice is the most appealing. So, how can you get your team there? Well, you can start by taking notes from others. 

Although there are several different strategies and approaches to consider, there are some main points and tactics that everyone can learn from. 

Empathy is your most valuable asset

The biggest problem we find with intake teams, or anyone in a “sales” type role, is that they get so caught up in being a sales professional that they forget to be a person. Yes, we have jobs and roles and duties to fulfill. However, we’re still people. Treat every single prospect that contacts your law firm with empathy first. This is a field where people are dealing with a lot of stress, and they need someone supportive that can also assist them with the legal issues that they are facing. It doesn’t cost anything to be friendlier and more empathic towards clients, and it will increase your client intake, retention, and satisfaction all-around. 

Prep your team 

Your intake team needs to be aware of their role and what is expected of them. However, you also have to stay on top of things and make sure that people are performing as they should. Educate your staff as to what makes a winning case and watch how much better the intake gets. Something as simple as this can go a long way. 

You should also follow up and meet with your intake team regularly to check in on benchmarks, goals, and progress. This also gives them a chance to provide you with valuable insights to help you change your strategy. If you’re struggling to keep up with intake because you’re such a big firm, consider having a two-step process:

  1. Prospect information intake
  2. Detail collection call 

This can save a lot of time and effort, and streamline things for larger organizations. Of course, it may not always be necessary. Back on the subject of prep, you should also: 

  • Pre-screen clients
  • Provide intake teams with resources and tools
  • Offer self-scheduling solutions
  • Teach active listening skills 
  • Be transparent about fees and costs (and make sure your intake team is, too)

Track performance and find areas for improvement 

A lot of firms already track performance, but they might not be paying attention to the details of the tracking to get valuable insights. When you use metrics and reporting tools properly, you can guarantee that you’ll find visible opportunities. Tracking could include following up on intake calls, monitoring how many calls become conversions, or even listening to recorded calls to see if you can identify areas and ways that your team can improve on the job. 

You should be data-driven and use technology to your advantage as much as possible. You’ll also want to have a streamlined, single strategy for client intake. Otherwise, there’s no way that you can grow properly. With a strategy, you’ll essentially have a roadmap that paves the way for both your intake specialists and prospects that call your firm. 

The big no’s

We could spend days talking about all the ways that you could improve the efforts of your law firm intake specialists, but it’s usually easier to point out the major issues and snafus that you want to avoid. By keeping up on what doesn’t work, it will be easier for you to know what will work for your intake team. 

When it comes to intake, you should make sure that you don’t:

  • Take too long to follow up on leads, prospects, and client calls
  • Ignore data and statistics that show how things are going 
  • Waste valuable time on data entry and busywork 
  • Use an inconsistent intake process after-hours answering and intake
  • Waste time on back-and-forth communications
  • Automate the wrong things
  • Assume all leads are equal

And finally, no matter what you do, make sure that you always, always make a great first impression. From there, the rest will fall into place. 

Or, you could leave the intake to the specialists at Smith.ai 

If your law firm needs a little assistance or even if you just want to try a different solution for intake, contact the dedicated virtual agents at Smith.ai. Our receptionists provide 24/7 support for lead qualification and law firm intake solutions, along with a host of other services like live website chat, appointment scheduling, after-hours answering, and so much more. Plus, we’ll help you craft a strategy to manage all of it so that you can focus on your clients and cases while we take care of the rest. 

To learn more, schedule a consultation to discuss what the 24/7 virtual receptionists can do to support your law firm’s intake, scheduling, and other needs. You can also reach us at hello@smith.ai or (650) 727-6484. 

Sean Lund-Brown

Sean Lund-Brown is a current Marketing Assistant for Smith.ai. A graduate from Metropolitan State University of Denver, Sean graduated with a BA in Music and an individualized degree in Teaching Vocal Pedagogy.

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