Constantly interrupted? Perspectives on converting new enquiries

There is nothing my friends fear more than when two legal professionals butt horns on an issue whilst we are out having coffee. However, this is what happened last week.

My friend, a studious and hard-working solicitor said she believes that the job of lawyers is being stretched beyond breaking point and feared that the constant interruptions would lead to a dilution of quality advice. In the same breath, she then expressed concern about hearing rumours of potential redundancies because finances are under pressure.

She moaned about having to answer phones and follow up on new enquiries when she is already swamped with her own cases that take precedence. She dismissed these as tasks that should be dealt with by the marketing or administration team.

This made me quite concerned. The start of the legal service and the customer experience we provide begins with that initial enquiry. It is a difficult balancing act to do the legal work, respond to existing clients in a faster and faster pace environment, and deal effectively with new enquiries.

In my experience, a firm has two options when they reach this position. Firstly, they can outsource enquiries to a specialist company that have a level of expertise to deal with it and find the relevant person to complete the work. This will relieve the additional burden my friend finds so difficult whilst creating the fantastic first impression that every legal services firm wants to deliver.

The second option is that staff could be trained in dealing with the enquiries themselves. I understand that law firms are unbelievably busy places, but I would be more likely to choose a firm that offers me the time and a good experience from the outset, not once they have secured my business. After all, people buy people first and these days are very likely to be shopping around. Being able to talk immediately to someone who is knowledgeable but approachable to explain my enquiry makes me feel comfortable that it is going to be resolved quickly. It is this immediacy whenever I personally buy something that I find reassuring and gives me confidence in my choice.

Begrudgingly sipping her coffee whilst turning a shade of crimson, my friend then agreed. It is important that someone who knows the firm and the legal process should take the call. It is also crucial for the future of the business.

Here are our top 3 tips on converting enquiries:

  • Firms do need to be sales driven

Law firms now often have a good marketing team but are not necessarily sales driven. The website and beautifully presented brochures are generating new enquires. However often we find that the firm’s wider processes in dealing with phone calls, emails and social media contacts are leaching out this investment in unconverted sales opportunities.  It is important to train all staff in dealing confidently with enquiries. To manage price objections and articulate the value in your service (e.g. the story behind your firm and talking about who will look after their matter and not being afraid to ask for the business) to get that new business secured.

  • Measure metrics other than raw financials

To ensure a maximum return on your marketing investment, incoming enquiries and their outcomes need to be tracked.  Knowledge is power after all. Then working on improving the conversion rates can then be more easily embedded in the culture of how the whole firm is managed. Defining what ‘good’ looks like in terms of results and customer response times can only be done if you know what you are doing today.

  • With data comes the ability to measure the results of outsourcing or further training investment

In my experience, this is the single biggest influencer on positive organic growth. Improving conversion rates from enquiries can add so much to the bottom line, maximise the existing marketing investment and improve a firm’s customer service reputation.

Converting more value from your existing enquiries is an untapped source of gold for many firms and there is more than one way to improve your results. If you would like to learn more do get in touch.

Karen Babington, The Move Exchange