Menu

Converting telephone enquiries into clients – a best practice guide

converting telephone enquiries into clientsConverting telephone enquiries into clients may sometimes appear a little difficult. If significant numbers of enquiries are coming in but you are not seeing client numbers increase, there are a few simple things you can do.

In a recent report: Legal Firms: Converting telephone enquiries into business, Professor Ian Cooper showed the way in which you can make a big difference. His report surprised many. Mainly because it makes clear that the solutions are straightforward and easily implemented immediately.

Here are some of Professor Cooper’s tips together with a few of my own.

First impressions count.

Even if the phone is ringing off the hook, you only get one chance to make a first impression. Indeed, most callers will make up their mind about you within the first minute. This means that the people fielding your calls are crucial to the conversion process. If they lack basic enquiry handling skills, the business will evaporate.

Make sure you have your very best people taking incoming enquiries. Obviously, they should be trained in how to deal with what are effectively “sales” moments, but they should also have the time to do so. Rushed or flustered responses are a sure-fire way of losing business. Just think how you feel when you make a call and, after waiting an overly long time, receive an abrupt answer. It’s easy for us to forget the value of initial enquiries. For the enquirer first impressions are critical and affect the decision they make about becoming a client or not.

Call quality.

Make sure the person handling your calls has a protocol to follow. This can be drafted easily for them and should include the basics:

  • Take full, accurate contact details.
  • Obtain detailed information on the assistance the caller needs.
  • Listen to the prospect, rather than doing all the talking.
  • End the call by giving a clear, time-scaled promise of action.
  • Ensure the promise of action is fulfilled on time.

When some clients call, they might be worried or stressed about their problem. This is where a caring approach and a sympathetic ear is vital. Although, essentially, your call handler is gathering information, it should not sound like a form-filling exercise. Building empathy in the first few moments will often clinch the work for you. As the Professor suggests, ask yourself the question: “Would I chose me?”

Be proactive.

Speak to the prospective client using language that is both straightforward and positive. Legal jargon will make eyes glaze over. At the end of the day, you don’t want the caller to go away and think about whether they should instruct you. You can work around this by using proactive language. Instead of using phrases like “if we work with you…”, try “when we work with you…” This approach tells the caller you want their business and are genuinely interested in them.

The key is to convince the caller that they are talking to the right people. Positive, proactive language can convince callers at first contact without any thinking time or shopping around.

Quality control.

converting telephone enquiries into clientsThere is little point in putting in protocols and procedures if they are not followed. You need to monitor them for quality. You can do this easily by using a mystery shopper approach.

Ask someone to make several calls to your practice, each covering a range of legal services. This done, take stock of:

  • how long it took to answer the call;
  • how professional and approachable the greeting was;
  • whether the recipient was empathetic to the caller;
  • whether a course of action and a time-frame was set out for the caller.

And just ask yourself if you would be satisfied with the treatment you received from your first point of contact with your firm. Armed with this information, you can then make changes to your procedures, provide training for your staff if necessary and improve the service – and the conversion rates.

Keep records.

Not every caller can be converted into a client at the first point of contact. Consequently, it makes sense to log your incoming calls and keep basic details of the nature of the enquiry. How do you feel when you call an organisation for the second time and have to go through a rigmarole of questions you’ve already answered? Second impressions are just as important as the first.

If you have a decent practice management system, doing this should be easy. A good PMS will include a client relationship management module in which you can store caller details and information for future reference. The CRM is often the under-utilised, almost forgotten part of your PMS. In actual fact, it is a very powerful tool. You can use it not only to log incoming enquiries, but also to chase them up after a short time has passed. Putting enquirers on your email update list will also keep your firm’s name in the picture for future business.

If you’d like to find out more about CRM and practice management systems, click this link or give LawWare a call.

All the above pointers are really just common sense. However, it’s surprising how many firms are failing to install simple procedures. It’s all about ensuring your front-of-house reception to clients is as appealing as your website. But that’s another issue. You can read a few more pointers on websites in the article below.

Mike O’Donnell, April 2017.

Mike O’Donnell is an experienced marketing professional who has spent much of his career working in and advising the legal profession. For further biographical details click this link.

Marketing for Lawyers: #1 Getting your homepage right

Previous
Next

© LawWare Limited 1995-2017

Archives

Join over 365 law firms across the United Kingdom.

Our clients range from small start-up legal practices to multi-partner, multi-site firms.

As the first commercial user of LawWare back in 1998, we have had no hesitation in remaining with the product through its development. We thoroughly recommend it to any firm looking for a practice management system.

Alastair Hart & Co.
Alastair Hart

The helpdesk is exceptionally good. Whatever the query there is always a human being there to help. No leaving messages or being advised to go to a website. The best computer service for solicitors I have ever used!

South Forrest
Irene Yule

The linking of documents and casefiles saves so much time! I have experience of several accounts packages and I like that LawWare is simple to use and easy to learn. Support is quick and effective and staff are helpful and courteous.

Sprang Terras
Fiona Allison

I have worked with a number of Case Management providers over the years but have not come across anything with the attention to detail and thoroughness of LawWare. My colleagues and I have not been disappointed.

Brymer legal Ltd.
Professor Stewart Brymer

I can’t imagine trying to be a law firm in the 21st Century without 21st Century IT systems. Having a ‘single system’ that underpins all the work, whether we are in the office or out, is an integral part of what we are building.

Sneddon Morrison
Eric Lumsden

The level of support is the main benefit using this system.  The system itself once you have had training is simple and easy to use. We have a great relationship with LawWare and the ongoing support is second to none.      

Linda George Family Law
Sharon Rodger

Significant preparation was required to configure and import the data from our old firm. We had to get all clients onto the new system and then learn how to use it. We just find it very easy to use, much easier than our old system.

Scanlon Ewing
Maureen Ewing

It’s a big help that you can speak to the boss directly. The support team takes a lot of the technological stress away and, as LawWare continues to build relationships and integrations with other suppliers, it makes our life much easier.

Matthew Cohen & Associates Ltd.
Matthew Cohen

Being a busy litigator with a growing firm it is incredibly useful to be able to view my files from any location with some form of internet connection. I am a fan, and want to keep working with LawWare to make a good product great.

Helix Law Limited
Jonathan Waters

The switch to the new LawCloud system, which is still on-going, has gone very well. We found the LawWare team without exception to be very helpful and knowledgeable. All queries are followed up and dealt with promptly.

Cullen Kilshaw
Ross Kilshaw

interested in

Explore LawWare

Connect With Us