Enquiries generated from online marketing has been the primary focus of firms we have had the pleasure to work with over the past 7 years, but ensuring those leads pay their way requires the right systems & processes to convert them, and convert them quickly.
So, what are clients’ expectations, how is the legal sector performing & responding and what are the practical steps you can take to convert them into top-line growth for your firm?
Client expectations now and in 2020
Focusing on the client experience during the ‘consideration’ stage of the typical ‘buying journey’, we have pulled together findings from a variety of sources to highlight expectations (see graphic).
What about the expectations of, excuse the term ‘millennials’ – the demographic that will make up a significant proportion of your prospective client pool by 2020?
- A positive emotional connection is the #1 predictor of whether a millennial will buy, while bad communication is the #1 reason they won’t [Harvard Business Review]
- By 2020, 85% of the buyer-seller interaction will happen online through social media and video. [TeleSmart Communications]. 67% of the buyer’s journey is already done digitally. [SiriusDecisions]
- 7/10 executives believe that technology will replace human interaction with customers in the next decade. [Avande]
UK legal sector
Firms are recognising that a customer journey strategy is critical to the business’ overall marketing strategy, some employing external specialists such as Shopper Anonymous, a mystery shopping company – who last year conducted a customer journey study with 85 UK law firms.
The findings from their study highlighted some excellent business practices but also concerns around enquiry handling (see graphic).
From conversations with law firms and technology providers, the legal industry is no longer shy to embrace new technologies to obtain a competitive edge. Three up-and-coming strategies:
- Customer support ‘on the go’: firms are using text messaging solutions and messaging apps to engage with an ever-increasing mobile population. Nb. By 2018 it is expected that 3.6 billion people around the world will use messaging apps, incl. WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.
- Chatbots: Even today, there are companies beginning to replace customer service representatives with virtual assistants, to provide instant, cost-effective and human-like customer service.
In the legal industry, there are firms involved in the development of Artificial Intelligence to automate and speed up the claims management process.
- Big Data Analytics: Using complex data sets from a variety of sources, businesses are gaining important insights into customer behaviour and preferences and using that knowledge to provide a more personalised service. Law firms are looking at this both from their own client acquisition strategy, but also as a packaged service using their collective legal data to sell to the market as an additional revenue stream.
Practical steps to lift your conversions
AI and chatbots are evidently a longer-term strategy, so what can you practically do now?
Using our analysis of clients who have engaged with law firms through lead generating marketing collectives, including our own, we have identified a few processes that have made a notable effect on law firm conversions:
- Send a text and/or email to new web enquiries within 3 minutes – even if they have requested a call back later in the day. This will give them the peace of mind that their case is important and will be more expectant of your call.
- Follow up each call immediately with an email highlighting key-points discussed; pricing/payment options; together with the value you will add to that client by choosing to use your firm.
Links to relevant content (e.g. videos or reviews) on your website also help build trust.
- Communicate out of hours to suit the client, e.g. utilising the services of an outsourced 24/7 call centre to handle enquires to a point, or even set up text/chat messaging to be managed by designated individuals within your business.
- If prospective clients don’t answer your call, send a text message, highlighting your name and what number you will be calling them from. Call back after 15 minutes. The initial text will seek to bridge the trust gap as many clients are unlikely to pick up the phone to unknown numbers despite requesting a callback.
- Set up video call facilities, e.g. via Skype. Video conferencing provides an effective way for lawyers and clients to meet virtually whilst retaining many of the benefits of actually ‘seeing’ each other.
We have many other examples, so feel free to get in touch if you’d like to know more. What’s important – as the digital economy continues to influence how we engage with our clients – is that firms embrace the technology that’s on offer. Communicating in the most relevant way will undoubtedly improve your conversion rates and times, adding revenue and freeing up the time to spend with your existing clients.