A recent piece of research by American company FindLaw indicated that over 70% of prospects contact solicitors via phone. Surprised? Well you shouldn't be.
Yes prospects use Google to do desktop research on which law firm to call, but when they decide which looks the most suitable for their needs, they pick up the phone, they don't email. Why? Because if you are calling a solicitor, you can pretty much guarantee that nine times out of ten, it's because you need a solution to make a problem disappear quickly - you need help.
It's always struck me as rather bizarre that in the UK, traditionally we train our receptionists to be "Gatekeepers" rather than "Rainmakers"! And having worked in and around law firms for over 20 years, I've been amazed at some of the conversations I've overhead, for example:
"I'm not sure we do that kind of law"
"You can find further information on our website"
"I can't find anybody in that department, can you ring back in an hour!"
And I can't tell you what happens when the receptionist goes for lunch, and a junior member of staff takes over - AND, just a thought, isn't lunch time the perfect time for a prospect to call if they are at work?
I don't know what you'd do if you were the prospect in these situations, but I'd be straight onto the next law firm on my list.
The first point of contact in your law firm is the most important - ideally any prospects who calls should be directed to a business developer who has the time and training to handle the call in a professional manner, and build Rapport with the sole aim of making an appointment for one of the fee earners.
Notice I said the call should be directed to a "Business Developer" and not a fee earner? Why? Because not all fee earners are good at handling enquiries - and it definitely isn't their priority.
So it doesn't matter how much you're spending on optimising your website, ppc, building engagement on social media and writing blogs to showcase your expertise in order to drive leads if it is not being maximised, due to a missing link in your conversion process.
Now it would be wrong of me to tar all law firms (and receptionists) with the same brush, and I'm sure many have a slick process to manage leads coming into the firm, BUT, how confident are you that those hard won leads and referrals are being well managed at first contact?