If you went back ten years, generating leads for your law firm was simple. You would advertise on TV, the radio, in the phone book and hand out fliers in relevant areas. You may have also placed ads on billboards, buses, and benches. The call to action asked the age-old question, “Do you need a lawyer?” If your firm was fortunate enough to make a lasting impression on a potential customer via these methods, you’d get a call or an email requesting more information.
Fast forward a few years, the rise of email marketing has reduced the ease with which lawyers solicit business and has empowered firms to build relationships that will help you stay at the top of a lead’s list when an opportunity presents itself. Getting to the top of this list is vital for success, especially in today’s digital world. Utilizing email as a tool, in addition to social media and other digital platforms, to do this is one of the most self-sustaining ways to remain top-of-mind.
However, it is only half the battle.
In addition to the lead generated from your marketing, you need to respond promptly to queries to ensure you make a good first impression. The faster you can reply, the more likely you will convert a lead into a paying client, especially in certain sections of the legal sector.
How do high-performing law firms maintain a fast reply time to people filling out your intake process? In this guide, we’re going to share their best practices and show you how to optimize your law firm’s email reply time for success.
Your reply time is exactly what it sounds like — it’s how quickly you respond to your clients and leads.
How quickly your firm responds to demand generation emails directly impacts the success of your intake and client onboarding process. This is especially important in the instances where your leads are contacting multiple firms. Being the first to reply will immediately prove that you attend to your clients’ needs, improving lead-to-customer conversation rates.
The 2019 Legal Trends Report highlights that being responsive is the most important component for securing potential clients. In fact, 79% of consumers stated in this Clio report that whether or not a lawyer responds to their first email right way is a deciding factor in which law firm they choose.
Once someone has decided to email your firm, their entire experience communicating with you is equally important. You don’t want to lose a lead after they have already expressed an interest in your firm. With that in mind, here are three things you can do to optimize your reply time throughout this process.
The first step is to create and send your intake responses to a single team email address, such as email@example.com.
Give your entire team access and ensure one person is directly responsible for monitoring it. We advise that this should be someone within the support staff team, freeing up your lawyers’ time for billable work.
This person can vet new leads as they come in to ensure that the lawyer within the area of expertise of the inquiry is assigned the case, and they can respond to the client accordingly with the next steps.
In the Legal Trends Report, 64% of participants never received a response from the lawyers they contacted. A catchall email address is a simple way to avoid this and ensure you don’t miss leads due to competing demands within the firm.
Remember that your time to reply is limited in today’s smartphone-driven world.
If you’re not measuring your reply times, it’s easy to let standards slip.
It’s no one’s fault. You’re working on important cases or preparing documents for clients. Your support staff is monitoring inboxes in addition to their other tasks.
To create a great experience, invest in an email reply time tracking tool like timetoreply. Then connect it with your team’s email account.
With a measuring tool established, if you or your staff see that reply times are lagging behind targets, you can build processes to manage them. That could include hiring more support staff or setting up automated notifications for when new emails come in.
Considering 88% of clients expect a reply from your business within 60 minutes, these measures are key to great first impressions. Once you start measuring reply time, your staff can see key insights into their reply time performance and see how they’re performing compared to their goals.
When reviewing your leads, you’ll need preliminary information: where they’re based, what the case involves, and their contact details. To put this in perspective, according to Law Technology Today, law firms do not record a lead’s email address 86% of the time.
It is unlikely that a busy law firm will be able to convert a lead into a client if they only have their name. To resolve this, create a simple data capture form that includes contact information and basic details of the case. Once you have the necessary information you can transfer it into a client database or a CRM system.
Some law firms enter this data manually. But if you automate this process, you’ll minimize the likelihood of errors, and save time on repetitive data entry — freeing up time to spend on billable work. When your team sees a new CRM entry, they can review the details, and instantly get back to the lead to learn more.
The smoother your intake process is, the faster your team can get back to leads. Make sure to regularly review the intake process to make the process as smooth as possible, both for potential clients, and your team.
At Postali, we know all too well the need to stay on top of response times.
We wanted our clients to feel they were in control of their communication, but none of the current email ecosystems have data on response time. This led us to seek out an email analytics tool like timetoreply.
Now we can measure email performance across our inboxes and see real-time reports on the response time of internal and external emails. The result has been more successful client relationships.
How can you assess that your intake is smooth, and your clients are left feeling like your firm is right for them?
Track your email reply response times and conversion rates as KPIs!
Then your law firm can measure which approaches work best and which ones need to be tweaked.
With a strong system in place, you will be able to eliminate any bottlenecks that come in the way of your client intake process. You will also be able to enhance your law firm marketing strategies for the best results.
An active email response time strategy is a small but impactful step to growing your customer base and caseload.
Not sure where to begin?
Get started with a marketing audit.