Technology has handed customers unprecedented power to dictate the rules in purchasing goods and services. Three-quarters of them, research finds, expect “now” service within five minutes of making contact online. – McKinsey Quarterly CEO Report
I’m excited to be speaking by invitation on Friday to the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) at their Summit in Newport Beach, CA. I’ve been asked to speak on the topic of Elder Law Client Intake in the Digital Age.
In the digital age, client intake is key to new client engagement as well as practice efficiency. Sadly, most intake processes are broken, and automating a broken process just means you can fail faster than ever. During my session, I’ll show a process that works, define some of the key characteristics of an ideal client intake process, and address issues of concern for elder law attorneys, such as data security issues, intake automation, process efficiency and case management integrations.
The One Thing
While there are lots of details that go into creating an online client intake process, there is one thing that you must get right from the outset. Change your mind. Success in online client intake may require a paradigm shift – for you and your staff.
Here it is – get this right and you’re online intake will succeed; fail at this and you fail:
This is about creating a great customer experience.
That’s it. If you remain committed to creating a great customer experience, you can succeed. Stray off course, put operational efficiency or staff convenience as a higher priority? You’re destined to fail.
Understand the Interaction through Your Customer’s Eyes
Technology has handed customers unprecedented power to dictate the rules in purchasing goods and services. Three-quarters of them, research finds, expect “now” service within five minutes of making contact online. A similar share want a simple experience, use comparison apps when they shop, and put as much trust in online reviews as in personal recommendations. Increasingly, customers expect from all players the same kind of immediacy, personalization, and convenience that they receive from leading practitioners such as Google and Amazon. – McKinsey Quarterly CEO Report
Consumer behavior online has changed dramatically over the past few years. Whereas internet searches once were dominated by “information shoppers,” today’s website visitor is much closer to making a buying decision. They likely have already read your online reviews, verified your social “proof,” watched your video and checked out your story.
Now is not the time to make them wait.
The Clock is Ticking
Research shows that the overwhelming majority expect “now” service within five minutes of making contact online! Our own research shows that most inquiries come during off-hours: in the evenings and on the weekends.
How you respond, and how quickly you get your online prospect engaged with your process will have a dramatic impact on your conversion rates, or how many of your website visitors actually become new clients.
Client Needs Come First
Neither is this the moment to ask your prospective client to run a gauntlet of interrogation. My general rule for success is to ask only the information you need, at the moment you need it. If you hold yourself to that standard, and never ask your client for information that technology should be providing (such as, How did you find us? – a robust CRM will have already told you this!), you can make the intake process fast, easy and convenient for your clients.
Begin with the End in Sight
If your goal is to create a great client experience, remember that its also your responsibility to lead clients to good decisions that solve their problems. Information gathered during the online intake can inform both you and your process to ensure more meaningful conversations during the initial consult. By understanding your clients’ stories and their most urgent needs, you become a better and more effective leader.
If you will be at NAELA on Friday, I hope you will join me at 4:30 p.m. on Friday. Or stop by our booth any time on Thursday or Friday and visit with James and Mike. If you won’t be at NAELA this year, go ahead and give James a call to learn more about how we can help you create a great customer experience, convert more website visitors into new clients, and enjoy more focused and satisfying relationships with all of your clients.