You probably have some sort of client intake form on your website. Chances are it's a digitized copy, in Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) format. It may or may not be "fillable." Your prospects probably have to download your form, print it out, fill it in by hand, scan the completed form and email it back to you -- or bring it with them to the initial consultation.
It Doesn't Have to Be This Way
Technology can streamline this process, making it much easier for your clients and much less burdensome for you (and your staff!).
I will be speaking on this topic by invitation for NAELA at 2017 Summit next week. It’s a hot topic for lawyers because this is a mission-critical part of the client experience and your practice profitability!
My session will be from 4:30 to 5:30 on Friday, November 17. Learn more on the NAELA Summit website. (CLE is available for this session.)
Learn From Experience
IMS is a pioneer in automated, online client intake. We started helping law firms automate the intake process years ago and, trust me, we’ve seen it all: the good, the bad and the extraordinary! When done well, everyone benefits. Clients love it, your staff love it, and you profit by eliminating unnecessary redundancies that cost you money without adding value for your clients.
Because we track all of the statistics surrounding these processes – including how people found your website, what pages they visit before they start the process, how many start but don't finish, when most forms are completed, and how frequently those who complete the process online ultimately become clients – we know what works, what doesn’t and what you can expect.
Here are the top five things you need to know about automating your client intake process:
- Your prospects are web-savvy.
They found you on the web, right? If they got to your website, they know how to submit an online form. Sure, you will still have some clients who insist on paper forms. But your website visitors are more than ready for this. In fact, they are seeking out your competitors who are already offering it!
- Your online intake process is a sales and marketing tool.
This is not your chance to get your clients to do your work. This is your chance to better serve clients and make it easier for them to do business with you. Designing the process for ease of use and simplicity – for the CLIENT – is your first step to success.
- Less is more.
See #2 above. My advice: only ask for the information you need, at the moment you need it. If you do not need it, or do not need it YET, then leave it off. Simplify, simplify, simplify. Here is one example: online technology allows you to ONLY ask relevant questions. Your intake forms can contract or expand based on the individual situation.
- Most will complete the process during off-hours.
In fact, about 85 percent of your online intake forms will be completed after 5 pm during the week and on weekends – when there is no one in your office to answer a question or return a phone call. Your process needs to be very clear, as simple as possible, and automated so clients get the appropriate follow up (which could include the opportunity to schedule their appointment) immediately.
- IMS has been-there-and-done-that.
This is a mission-critical process and mistakes are costly. You really do not have to reinvent the wheel here, or suffer the costs of trial-and-error mistakes. We know where the land mines are, let us help.
If you’re attending the NAELA Summit, I hope you will join me to see a process that works. We have developed a streamlined, online process specifically for elder law attorneys. This is a process that will delight your prospects and set you up for a meaningful, and successful, initial meeting.