What is legal intake?
How is the legal intake process crucial for the success of a law firm?
How does legal intake fit into a law firm’s customer service strategy?
In this article, we will answer specifically these questions.
We’ll discuss the significance of legal intake in the overall success of a law firm’s success and how it can help improve customer experience.
Many clients drop their lawyers as a result of a lack of responsiveness and lack of timely response, not because of the law firm’s lack of expertise.
Let’s see how you can use legal intake to turn things around!
What is a legal intake
Legal intake is a general term used to describe the activities and processes involved in responding to clients, obtaining relevant information from them about their case and assisting them with their queries.
Legal intake is closely linked to your law firm’s overall customer service strategy.
Striving to provide clients with a better, more consistent and standardized customer service is the foundation of the legal intake process.
Legal intake can cover things like:
- Signing up new clients
- Onboarding a client
- Obtaining case information from a client
- Getting information to open a file
A law firm able to efficiently sign up a new client, provide them with an initial onboarding on how things work, obtain all relevant information to open a file and collect case-related information in a standardized way can create a much greater customer experience.
A great legal intake process helps improve your law firm’s overall credibility showing your clients you are structured and mindful of your customer support.
Legal intake to improve responsiveness
Operating a law firm means that you have to be responsive to your clients.
Prospect clients contacting your law firm should be answered immediately and in a professional way.
Someone calling your law firm and hitting a voicemail or unable to reach anyone will hang up and call your competition.
Nearly one-third of clients switch law firms due to lack of proper follow-ups, lawyers being unavailable and lack of timely response to inquiries.
Clients are leaving you for your competitors not because they are more competent but because your clients are no longer able to tolerate your inefficient legal intake process.
As part of your overall legal intake strategy, you should set up your operations in such a way that a prospect or a client calling your firm can always speak to a live person during business hours.
The same is true for email inquiries and queries submitted by your clients.
Tracking your legal intake activities
With the proper legal intake process in place, your next task is to ensure you track your legal intake activities.
You want to make sure that your legal intake team:
- Answers client calls
- Answers client emails or chats
- Manages your firm’s contacts into your law firm’s client relationship management system
- Provides high-level information about your firm to clients and prospects
- Is able to triage the calls and dispatch them to the right lawyer or department
- Gathers required information to open client file
- Takes client information and ensures proper follow up as needed
These activities should be recorded and tracked.
You’ll see an interesting return on investment by providing excellent customer service to your current clients.
More importantly, if you are investing important sums of money in marketing your firm to generate leads, you want to make sure that you do not lose any single opportunity in responding to prospects contacting your firm.
Legal intake processes
The legal intake process is how you interact with your clients.
Through a strategic legal intake process, you can get meaningful information from your clients to better serve them, engage with your prospects and enable your staff and lawyers to provide the services your clients need.
To implement an optimal legal intake process, you should ensure that it’s simple, standardized and organized.
A process that is simple will be easy to adopt.
If your internal administration teams, lawyers and internal stakeholders can easily coordinate with one another in the context of your client intake process, you’ll improve your customer experience and help improve employee satisfaction.
Your legal intake process should be standardized.
If you have different people handling calls or responding to clients, they should all follow a standard protocol so your law firm remains consistent in its client-facing communication.
The standardized process is even more important if you have multiple office locations and several employees involved in the client intake process.
You want the same uniform customer service and client intake process across the board.
Another component of an optimal client intake process is to be organized.
If you have an important volume of inbound activity, client calls and communications, you want to make sure they are all handled properly.
You should have a log of the client calls and communications along with proper tracking to ensure that your firm responds to the client in time.
Legal intake processes can be automated through legal intake software solutions allowing you to intake client information for internal processing.
If you have the resources to hire the needed administrative and support staff to manage your legal intake process, you may be well served by implementing a legal intake software to automate it as much as possible.
If you are using legal intake forms, perhaps you can manage it when the volume is low.
However, if your volume is high, you may want to consider switching your legal intake form for a legal intake software.
A legal intake software will improve your overall efficiency, help reduce your overhead costs and minimize time lost on administrative tasks and ultimately help improve your customer satisfaction.
Finding a software solution helping you streamline your client intake process will certainly provide you with a good return on investment.
Legal intake services
Some law firms will handle their legal intake processes internally while others will hire legal intake service providers.
Some legal intake services providers will commit to answering all your client calls so no client hits the voicemail.
The advantage of retaining the service so of a legal intake service provider is that you are effectively outsourcing low-value tasks that is crucial to your overall business.
If your law firm does not have the volume of calls or inbound activities to justify hiring someone full-time, legal intake services can be useful in that case.
Legal intake is how your law firm interacts with its clients.
The better your legal intake process, the better your customer service and overall customer experience with your firm.
Legal intake is crucial to protect your law firm’s credibility.
You want to avoid clients hitting a voicemail or not being able to speak to someone when they call.
You want to have someone answer your client emails and inquiries.
When a new client mandates your firm for services, you want to have a standard onboarding process to collect the essential information needed from your clients.
You can achieve all of that with the proper client legal intake process.
Some law firms will have their own law firm client intake process flow chart outlining all the various steps in their legal intake process.
Legal intake should not be neglected especially if you are spending a lot of money to market your law firm’s services.
The more prospects you attract and the more clients you onboard, the more you need to make sure you can cater to the needs of your clients and interface with them.
How do you use legal intake to your advantage?
Having you considered a legal intake software?
We would love to hear from you.
Drop us a comment!