Chatbots can significantly improve lead generation and conversion. That's why choosing the right one is essential. This article will explain the pros and cons of using a free vs. paid service.
Chatbots have become a staple of everyday life. They’re the modern-day equivalent of a receptionist waiting in an office, only more convenient. You wouldn’t hire just anyone to be the face of your business in person, so why would you skimp on the quality of your chatbot online?
Some chatbot services are entirely free, whereas others charge a monthly fee. The price is generally on a sliding scale based on website traffic.
The main benefit of a free chatbot is its price. Free chats are ideal for law firms generating less than ten leads per month. At that stage, every penny counts, and it's hard to guarantee a return on investment with so few leads. Using a free chat allows you to dip your toe in the water of legal tech without fully committing to a paid plan.
That being said, down the road, you will likely need to upgrade your chat software. The downside is that you will have to learn new software as your firm grows because free chats have different capabilities than paid ones.
Free chats often lack the functionality and capabilities of paid services. For example, Intaker allows you to record a video of yourself talking to the camera, creating an instant connection with website visitors. Intaker offers over 1400 custom prompts and automated messaging to follow up with leads instantly.
Most free chats have limited features because they require costly research and development. Free chats often miss the mark regarding personalization, creating an empathetic connection, and building rapport.
Intaker offers an $80 starter plan for small and solo firms, which can be a great alternative to a free chat. It's not too pricey, you won't ever have to switch software, and it's fully customizable.
Availability is another critical factor to consider when deciding which chatbot to use. Most law firm chat services are available 24/7. However, some that use live agents have windows where they are closed.
One of the primary benefits of using a chat is that it makes you available anytime. Using a service that has hours where it's inactive lowers your chances of converting website visitors to clients.
Even if your firm receives less than ten leads per month, it will only be that way for a while. Eventually, you'll need a chat that can grow with you. Investing in a quality chat from the start will help your firm showcase professionalism and establish credibility.
Some of the free options use animated figures. These tend to look unpolished and need to be more personable. Your chat is the first impression people will get of your firm when browsing the internet. If its appearance could be better, this can affect conversion.
By investing in a quality chat, you will look at the part and gain trust with those who land on your site. As your firm expands, paid chats have more capabilities and customization, allowing you to scale.
Website loading speed is the time it takes for a user to see the content after clicking on a page. Ideally, it's the blink of an eye, and a page is loaded. Studies show that if it takes more than 3 seconds to load, 40% of visitors will leave the site. As the internet gets faster, people's patience is getting smaller.
Google recognizes this and rewards sites with a fast loading speed, ranking them higher in the search results. Some software can slow down a site, making it unappealing to visitors and ultimately harder to find on Google. Even a free chat isn't worth potentially hurting your site's performance and all of the hours you've put into optimizing it to be found on the web.
Intaker has put a lot of time and effort into ensuring that the chat will never adversely affect users or cause loading speed issues. The speed alone can make investing in a paid chat worth the price tag. It takes a lot of effort to climb the Google rankings, and you want to uphold all of that work.
Some chats can instantly connect with new leads. For example, Intaker asks leads to provide their phone number and email address. After they finish filling out the intake information, a follow-up text is automatically sent.
Lawyers who respond quickly are significantly more likely to secure clients than those who wait. People pursuing a lawyer need answers and don’t have time to wait around. Responsiveness also indicates professionalism and shows that you care about their case.
Lastly, personalization will set you apart from the rest. With Intaker, every lawyer can record a unique intro to showcase their personality. David Wattel offers a great example of this on his website.
He's so good at standing out we wrote an entire blog post about his differentiation strategies which is a must-read if you're looking to grow your law firm. While his examples are fantastic, every lawyer will have their way of presenting themselves online.
Intaker's intro video offers a few seconds to show potential clients why you're a great fit. Keep your ideal client in mind when recording, and talk as if you're speaking directly to them. This strategy will help when it comes to generating qualified leads and getting matched with like-minded clients.
Chats that don't allow customization can come across as cold and disengaging. It's nice to get an idea of who you are working with rather than talking to a random chat that's either animated or operated by someone who isn't even in the legal industry.
If you are generating 10+ leads per month and plan to continue growing, investing in a paid chat is a good option. Intaker offers services for small firms starting at $80, the fee increases in proportion to the growth of your law firm.
Starting with the chat you plan to use long-term, gives you time to get familiar with the software, perfect your messaging, and avoid the hassle of switching providers. Even if you only generate one extra lead per month, that more than pays off the cost of your chatbot.