Potential new clients want to talk after hours, can you? Here are 5 tips to manage after-hours intake.
I am sure you have thought about this at one time another. You have a potential client looking at your website at 7:38pm on a Wednesday and you’re out dining, or hanging out with family/friends. Are you aware that there is a potential client on your website looking for help? Their #1 goal at that very moment is to get legal advice. But you are busy!
Would you drop pretty much anything you have going on at the moment to potentially secure a retainer? Does your hunger for a good paying case outweigh your desire to push the pause button on that rib-eye? Good, keep reading.
Based off of the charts below, I am suggesting that 50% of your potential new client intake, or “funnel of new business” is out there to be captured after your office locks the door at 5pm. Think about it this way, do you have time to shop online during the day? Probably not, while you’re running from the court to the office. During the day you have your secretary to answer the phone, and if you are even more sophisticated you have a dedicated business development employee that handles all of your new intake. But when they all leave at 5pm, who is there to pick up the slack? Probably no one.
First, here are 5 reasons why you should be available to interact with potential new clients after hours:
1. Legal issues are personal, and very few people want to discuss these issues during work hours where they can be overheard.
2. Free time for most people is after dinner and the kids go to bed. Consumer internet traffic doesn’t peak until mid-night. (see graph below)
3. Look at the graph below labeled “Daily Web Traffic” – shutting off contact with consumers at 5 pm means you are effectively making yourself unavailable 50% of the time.
4. Legal emergencies are extremely likely to happen after 5 pm, especially when it comes to Criminal and Family Law.
5. To simply stop them from looking at and selecting other firms.
So now you know the “why”. How do I recommend you accomplish this? After all, you have put in a full day and deserve to relax at night and re-charge right?
1. Live Chat – This is probably your best option for a couple of reasons. First, having a live chat operator (not a bot or computer based service) provides that real contactconsumers are looking for. Again, people want answers, or at least they want to know they found someone who can get them. Live Chat services, like the one we offer at Precision Legal Marketing, offers consumers a “finish line”. In other words, they feel like they satisfied their base desire to find an attorney. The second reason is you can filter out good cases from bad. Since Live Chat logs are sent via email or text messages, you can call the cases with the best potential backimmediately. Studies show a 400% increase in client retention when called back from an inquiry within 1 minute.
2. Have an after-hours answering service – This can prove difficult because there are few options available where operators are trained in legal services, which makes a huge difference. Remember, people want to feel like they get some degree of help when calling, at the very least of which is an appointment made to come meet with you.
3. The “Law Firm Phone” concept – For about $100 a month, you can have a dedicated cell phone that you pass between partners and associates every day or two. Then, you simply have your main phone number forwarded as part of your nightly lock up duties at the office. Members of the firm can share the duties, and this even makes for some interesting contest ideas. Can you imagine competing for the most new appointments booked for the week? Of course you can.
4. Forward all calls to a cell phone – This is a favorite for many solo practitioners out there. The upside is, at least you have the opportunity to answer calls and not have them go to voicemail. And obviously, the costs are low.
5. Having your Jr. Associate work later hours – Hey don’t knock this one. Make them earn their keep. They are usually at the office late anyway slaving away on your case log, so why not have them answer the office line after hours.
There you have it. Consumers are searching for you after hours, the question is, are you available to help them retain you? The potential new clients are out there – go on and grab them before your competition does.