5 Common Client Intake Mistakes to Avoid at Your Firm

Streamlining your intake process is a critical step in converting leads to clients. Learn the five most common intake mistakes and how you can avoid them.

You put a ton of effort into generating quality leads, from PPC ads, to email campaigns, mailers, and everything in between. Once these campaigns drive traffic to your site, it's not enough to hope people reach out.

Lawyers are often able to generate leads, but drop the ball when it comes to the intake process. Common mistakes include having inconsistent onboarding procedures, taking too long to reply, not tracking lead sources, not asking the right questions, and lacking empathy.

Intake can make or break your firm's success because this is where you start building relationships and nurturing leads. Once you have the right systems in place, growth will be a million times easier.

Inconsistent procedures

Repeatable processes are a necessity because they allow you to measure the effectiveness of a given strategy and fine-tune it over time. In the past, you might call or email someone who has reached out whenever you get the chance. But in today’s fast-paced world people expect instant replies.

Law firm automation software allows you to keep up with demand. The benefits include streamlined intake, onboarding, and client communication from start to finish. Tools such as Intaker, provide your firm with resources to maximize the effectiveness of your lead-generation efforts.

The client journey can be optimized through repeatable procedures such as using an intake bot, offering self-scheduling for appointments, sending auto-messages, and using text templates when possible.

The exact experience will differ from client to client, but the foundation should remain the same. A great example of this is when someone fills out an online chat and schedules a meeting.

Next, auto-messages are sent to confirm the appointment. After the initial meeting, another sequence begins to conduct onboarding, and down-the-road invoices and billing can also be automated, along with asking for a final review.

This is the basic formula for top-performing firms. Taking advantage of legal technology will make your law firm more efficient, responsive, and organized. As a result, you'll develop an excellent reputation and be able to expand at a more rapid pace.

Taking too long to reply

Taking too long to reply is the fastest way to negate your lead gen efforts. By responding to new leads within the first five minutes, you'll have a much higher chance of converting these leads into clients. While it might sound challenging to respond quickly, the process can be automated with tools like Intaker.

When using Intaker, all communication comes through "Desk," which is part of lead management. You can enable notification chimes for text and emails, making replying easy. Templates also come in handy for fast communication, allowing you to respond to commonly asked questions in seconds.

If you don't have time to reply right away, you can send Desk items to other team members allowing them to respond. While Intaker isn't the only tool on the market, it's essential to have some CRM and chatbot.

Not tracking lead sources

Not tracking lead sources is a common mistake. You need to know where leads are coming from to determine which marketing efforts are working and which ones you can eliminate. That critical information will help you decide where to invest time and resources.

Tools such as Intaker Analytics, Google Analytics, and CallRail can tell you the most popular lead sources. For example, a landing page that drives a lot of traffic, or which particular PPC campaigns are more effective than others. From there, you'll be able to tweak your marketing strategy for optimal results.

In another blog post, Marketing Secrets Every Lawyer Should Know, we interviewed Charles Laputka, and he provided valuable information about how lead tracking was critical to his success. It's worth the read if you're interested in diving deeper into the subject.

Not asking the right questions

Another common intake mistake is not asking the right qualifying questions. If someone were to call your firm, is your staff trained to pre-qualify leads and answer any questions your potential clients may have?

Even if they are, it will save time to have an intake chat to take care of this step. Intaker has over 1400 ready-made prompts that can do the heavy lifting for you. They ask all the necessary intake questions before you ever talk to the lead.

No matter what practice area you’re in, there are time-tested prompts available for you to use. If there is anything you think of that is not currently available, our team can create something to fit your needs.

Asking the right qualifying questions will streamline your intake, and make onboarding easier for your clients and staff.

Lacking empathy

People seeking legal advice are generally going through a difficult time. While these calls become routine for intake staff, for prospective clients, whatever they are calling about is hugely important.

It’s vital to convey a sense of empathy and show that your firm values clients and cares about their well-being. Beyond training staff to be empathetic in responses, there are other ways to showcase empathy.

For example, Intaker’s chat allows lawyers to record introductory videos that establish rapport with prospective clients before communicating in person.

David Wattel is one person with an epic intro video that immediately creates a sense of trust with the viewer. To learn more about his strategies, check out the blog, How to Differentiate Your Law Firm with David Wattel.

How you are going to avoid these client intake mistakes

While a lot of lawyers have to learn their lesson through trial and error, you now know what mistakes to avoid moving forward. You can begin optimizing intake to make it a more enjoyable experience for clients, attorneys, and staff. If you aren’t sure where to begin, looking into legal tech solutions such as Intaker or other CRMs is a great place to start.