5 Winning Communication Strategies for Family Lawyers

Nov 4
min Read
Legal Webinars

[Webinar with McKay Allen (Kenect) and Dan Couvrette (Divorce Marketing Group)]

Who is Family Lawyer Magazine?

Dan Couvrette:

My name is Dan Couvrette. I'm the publisher of Family Lawyer Magazine and CEO of Divorce Marketing Group. Divorce Marketing Group, by the way, is a full service marketing agency. I invite you to visit our website divorcemarketinggroup.com, where you'll learn about all the marketing products and services that we offer for family lawyers. We exclusively work with family lawyers and do everything from strategic planning to building websites, videos, podcasts, newsletters. All of our products and services are outlined in our website. I won't take your time to go through them, but if you're looking for help with marketing, we can definitely help you.

My guest today in this webinar is McKay Allen, who is the VP of marketing for a company called Kenect that's K-E-N-E-C-T, as you can see. And on their website, it says "We help businesses connect with their customers." And McKay is going to share how they go about doing that today, and also share ideas about how you can better connect with your clients and prospective clients and referral sources. Whether you use this system or not, although I encourage you to carefully listen to McKay, because they do have a great, great system. We're going to share information that will be of value to you either way.

I've been working with family lawyers for 26 years, so my perspective active is from the point of view of family lawyers. I'm not a family lawyer, I'm a marketing guide, but I also have a perspective as a divorcing person and as the publisher of divorcemagazine.com or divorcemag.com. We've received four million visitors a year from our site. So I have a sense of having gone through a divorce myself and having watched what divorcing people are interested in reading on our websites, divorcemag.com and divorcemoms.com, what they're looking for. So I'm going to dovetail my insights in with what McKay will talk to you about. So he's going to look from a more of a technical and business point of view. I'm looking more from the emotional point of view. So McKay, I'm going to turn it over to you to introduce yourself and lead the way.

McKay Allen:

Awesome. Dan, thanks for having us. We appreciate it. I think it'll be great to have this discussion. All right. Let's dive in here a little bit. Talk about some communication strategies at law firms. As Dan said, he's going to hit more of like the emotional side of this. I'm going to hit more of the business side of this. We'll dig into some data that we've never really shared before with law firms. And we'll have a good discussion. If you do have questions, go to the little question dropdown. We'd love to interact with you there as well. So let's get started.

Who is Kenect?

First of all, who is Kenect? We're based outside of Salt Lake City. We're a text messaging platform built for law firms throughout North America. So we actually help you communicate efficiently, generate new leads, conduct video consultations, streamline intake, all of that, simply with texting. So what we do is we allow you to keep your main business number and simply log in to Kenect, to send and receive text messages.

So you simply log in to Kenect and you can text like you would from your cell phone. It's just with Kenect with your main business phone number. We were recently listed on the Inc. 5,000 list. Inc. 5,000 list is a list of the 5,000 fastest growing companies in the world. We were ranked number 216 on that list. So top 5%, which was a huge honor for us at Kenect. We're also integrated with the leading case management systems in the industry.

So how do we do it? Two-way text messaging for your law firm. So you can stop giving out your personal cell number, web leads straight from your website, video chat for virtual consultations, and then online review generation and reputation management, all with texting and all by simply logging into Kenect. So with the two-way texting, we just allow you to text your clients back and forth.

Get text leads from your website

Web leads. We put a little "text us" button on your website that allows you to get more leads. Video chat helps a ton for virtual consultations. So you can actually have a video conversation in the text thread specifically. Why texting? Why are we so obsessed with it? Worried about it? Pretty simple. So texting we believe is the biggest change in communication since the telephone was invented 110 years ago. So most people would prefer to text a business rather than call. Most people will engage far more quickly with a text message than they will with a call. The days of playing phone tag with customers, with clients, with future clients, with past clients, with trying to get hearing dates and documents back and forth, the day of playing phone tag with all that are over. Your clients don't want to do that. They find phone calls disruptive. They would much prefer for you to text them.

Top ways firms use Kenect. Scheduling consultations, sending appointment reminders, streamlining intakes, sending case updates, collecting fees, video chatting, as I said. You can also attach and send photos, videos, PDFs, docu-signs, generate online reviews, capture more leads. It's just great way to engage with your clients. How does it work? You just log in to- go ahead, Dan.

Dan Couvrette:

I'd like to jump in for a moment. You mentioned, you know, all the things you do. And I want to reinforce to the family lawyers who are listening, that I'm in the marketing business. We work real hard to build websites and do videos and all that sort of stuff for family lawyers to help them get out there, get attention, get leads coming their way. I really see everything you do McKay as adding tremendous value because it ensures that all that work is going to produce better results if they tap into your system. And for a small amount of money compared to what they're spending on building websites and videos and doing Google pay-per-click, you can help ensure through your products and services that they get full value from all of that effort. So I just want to underline that. That's my perspective and why I always like talking with McKay, because I think that what they have to offer and produce a lot of value. So go ahead. Keep on going, McKay.

McKay Allen:

No, thanks for jumping in there. I appreciate that. Yeah. It's kind of interesting. Like we've started to go back to some trade shows now in the last few weeks. I was down in Austin, Texas at the ALA show, and it was interesting talking to law firms who use Kenect and started using Kenect in the last year or so. And they're like, "Man, this has changed our firm." Like it was cool to see those people in person. Cause we know those stories as employees at the company, but like to talk to the law firms who were like, "Yeah, this has changed our firm and helped us communicate far more efficiently, helped us get more deals, helped us get more clients," like it's just a big deal for these firms. So I appreciate you mentioning that, Dan.

So anyway, as I was saying, you can just log in here and send text messages, just like you would send emails, but they're text messages. So your clients don't need to download anything. You just need to log in to Kenect. You can also download the app on your phone so you can send and receive text messages there. You can assign leads to other members of the team. You can get alerts when they do or don't respond to leads. You can send quick replies, you can request reviews, you can attach photos, videos, request payments, schedule messages, all that kind of stuff. And then we mentioned video chat, just the ability to instantly conduct a live video chat. It really helps streamline intake, helps a ton with that and there's no additional software required to run it or anything.

Top 8 Ways Law Firms Use Text Messaging

Went through this topic, eight ways firms use Kenect. I want to focus on this one just for a second here. You simply add a little "text us" button to your website. And if you add that and you also have an email address and a phone number and a contact us page, all that stuff, they will text you about 80% of the time. I think that statistic alone shows you how popular and common this is, and what happens when you get it. Like you will get new leads if you put that "text us" button on your website. Okay, let's talk about lead response, Dan. I want to just kind of run through some data here. Now what you're going to see is some data that we pulled for our two largest industries. So we sell to law firms and we sell to dealerships, and you're going to see some of this data comparing law firm and dealerships. And I was going to remove it and just keep the law firm data in, but as I started digging through it, I actually thought it might be interesting for you all to see what we are seeing from another industry that we work with. If that makes sense. So please don't think I'm trying to like use it to bludgeon you with this data, but I thought it would be fascinating for you to see.

Dan Couvrette:

Tremendous to compare industries because, as consumers, our expectations are very high that we're going to get responded to quickly when we contact companies and more often than not, we're disappointed. So I think it's very useful to compare your dealership data to legal profession.

McKay Allen:

You know, we, we just thought it would be kind of interesting to see. So the average dealer gets a lot more leads than the average law firm. First of all, they get a lot more people texting them regularly, inquiring about stuff, more so than law firms do. But these numbers are not insignificant for law firms either, right? 25, 26 leads a month. The one that I really want to focus on is response rates. And then we'll dive into some best practices as once we get through the data. But, in dealerships we see about 79% of the leads getting a response. In all the other industries we work with, you can see that average data and then the right chart will show you specifically what their response rate is. And we have very, very few, by the way that are in this other category. So you can see down here at the bottom on the left hand side, legal. So what this is saying is the percentage of time that law firms actually respond to a lead, and it's a lot lower than the other industries.

So about 58% of the time in Q1. And we need to re-pull this data to see if it's changed over 2021, but it was about 58% of the time leads were receiving any sort of a response. Dan I'm interested, you seeing this data. Does that surprise you? Does it line up with how you've seen firms sort of engage with leads in the past? Like where, where do you fall on the surprise scale for this?

Dan Couvrette:

It surprises me that it's that high, to be honest.

McKay Allen:

Oh really? We didn't discuss this. So I'm interested in your response.

Dan Couvrette:

Yeah, because it's difficult. You know, I've worked with family lawyers for 26 years, so I know how challenging it is. Particularly if you're a solo family lawyer. Maybe your assistant isn't, maybe you don't have an assistant, and you're the one who's responding to any lead. And I know just how focused family lawyers are on taking care of their clients, dealing with the courts, doing all the work they need to do to be a family lawyer. And so taking care of business, which is responding to leads or marketing or anything else that's other than dealing with your clients gets a backseat. And it's always, there's always a fire going in family law. It's just incredible. The stress and pressure that family lawyers are under. So I take my hat off to you. This does not surprise me at all. I'm surprised it's that high.

McKay Allen:

Yeah. And I, you make a great point, Dan. It's not like you're sitting with a strawberry daiquiri on a beach while these leads are just not being responded to. You're helping your current clients. So as I said, I was hesitant to leave the dealer data on there because I didn't want this to be like a bludgeon-fest for law firms, but, or perhaps and, I should say, I think there are some best practices that we can learn from these other industries that may be helpful. And they're really pretty simple things. So like for example, and I'll kind of hit these as we go and then sum them up at the end. Most dealerships have someone who is in charge of responding to leads. Now that's not their only job unless the dealership's gigantic, right?

But they have someone who's in charge of responding to leads. And that is often times a General Manager or a Sales Manager or a Service Manager at a dealership. And I think, in my experience dealing with law firms, very few law firms, unless they're fairly large, have anybody whose job is at least in part to respond to leads. And I think that is a simple way just to let somebody know like, "Hey, when we get leads, you're in charge of reaching back out to them," is a simple way to remedy some of this. Here's the average time a lead will wait to be responded to. So go to the right-hand chart. For law firms, it's about 0.7 hours during business hours, right? So you're talking about 42 minutes or something there for law firms, during business hours, to respond to a lead. That's not actually terrible. Of course quicker is better, but it's not, horrific. It's the after-hours stuff that is painful. So essentially what this is saying is that if someone messages in after hours, they're probably going to wait until the next morning to get a response.

Now, the thing I will say on that, and Dan, I'm curious for your thoughts on this. The thing I will say on that is, for better or worse, Google and Facebook have trained us, Google and Amazon, I should say, have trained us to expect instant answers to our questions. Right? If I want to buy something, I'm going to go buy it now. I don't have to wait and go to the store. Or if I want to find an answer to a question on Google now and engage with the search engine, I get the answer immediately. So the fear I have with this is, is there a firm in your market, a competitive firm who is answering these more quickly? Because the data shows that people will go to that firm that engages more quickly, not necessarily the firm that has the best qualifications or wins most, or has the best attorneys. It's usually the firm that responds to them more rapidly is the firm they go with. Dan, thoughts on all that stuff I just mentioned?

Dan Couvrette:

Well, I guess I would look from the point of view of, "Are you trying to be average or are you trying to be better than average?" So if you're shooting for being a better than average family law firm, then you need to look at what can you implement to make your response rate better? And so there are services that you can tap into to who can respond to you while you're sleeping, or you can have automatic responses in some cases and McKay would know about that sort of thing as well. So as a consumer, we just want to know that we've been listened to, or that we've made a request and that they know that we're paying attention. So if you can do something to let people know that you're paying attention, then that's better than not doing something at all.

McKay Allen:

Yeah. That's a good point. And keep in mind too, with texting, this is one of the reasons we love it. In the past, if you got a lead and it was a phone call, you're going to have to step away from a family dinner, a kid's play, a soccer game, a football game, whatever it is, to actually make a phone call back to that person or answer a call after-hours. That's really in be and awful, frankly. With texting, it's just not that way, right? You can literally just open the Kenect app and send a text wherever you are, whatever you're doing. And it works in minutes, right? In seconds. So you don't need to interrupt your life to respond. So it's just a lot easier. This is just another way to slice the data. Just the percentage of leads that get a slow response.

McKay Allen:

So they're responded to, but they're not responded to for over 24 hours. And you can see the percentages on those. Most of those are after-hours. Some of those are during business hours, but it's about a quarter of total leads, or not a quarter, I guess, only about 15% of total leads that are not responded to for 24 hours. So if you add that to the non-responded-to leads and the leads that are 24 hours or longer, you're looking at about half-ish of the legal leads that law firms are getting are not being responded to at all or for 24 hours. So, summary of the data here that you can see.

Best Practices

So, best practices. Dan let's go through these together. And then you chime in with like the stuff that you think is pertinent for family law firms, specifically. What I would suggest though, as to assign someone to handle the leads. If you only have a couple of employees and you have one attorney, you've got to just determine who's in charge of handling these. It's really important for your firm that these are responded to. I promise you, they're not reaching out because they are interested in the price for your services. If they're reaching out to you, they need you. So it's not like other services where maybe they're just price-checking for the fun of it because they might need this in the future. They need you.

Dan Couvrette:

The truth of the matter is that, and every family lawyer on this call knows it, not all family law cases are equal. You want more than others. So if you increase the communication that you have with potential clients, you increase the possibility of sifting through and getting exactly the type of clients you want. Everybody, all of our clients, I would say pretty well, all of our clients, family law clients are busy right now, but this is probably going to, things will slow down. We're hopefully towards the end of a pandemic. And I believe it is pent-up demand that's being fulfilled over the past year for people to get divorced, but it will get back to more normal six months or a year from now. So your ability to handle leads, connect with prospective clients, will become more important than it is right now. So get things set up while business is good, get things set up.

McKay Allen:

Great. That's a really good point. Develop a process for handling these, especially after-hours leads. Whatever that process is, make sure it's right. Texting versus calling, I kind of talked through, just the ability to conveniently text somebody as opposed to having to step away from something family or personal-related to make a phone call is vastly different. And I think sometimes in the past, if you were assigned to respond to after-hours leads, it was just this chore because of the calling component. Now it's not because of the texting component. Set a standard for lead response time. Dan, you spoke to this a moment ago. That's going to depend for every firm, right? I'm just going to tell you, quicker is better, always, but be above average on this. Set a goal. Say, "Listen, everybody, we've got all these leads coming in after-hours. After-hours, it's 30 minutes. We're going to respond within 30 minutes. Over the weekend, it's 30 minutes. During business hours, it's five minutes." Whatever the number is, just make sure everybody knows that at your firm. Dan thoughts on that point?

Communication Strategy

Dan Couvrette:

Well, I have, I was going to wrap up the end with a communication strategy and this falls exactly within that communication strategy. Part of your communication strategy would be determining how quickly you're going to respond. And like McKay said, set it up like a game, a game that you want to win. And that is right now, our time is, you're probably not keeping track of how could we get back to leads at the moment. So the start of the game is at least set it up, document it, keep track of the results. And then you can make improvements to reduce the amount of time it takes you to get back. I'll give you a few other tips about setting up your communication strategy, but continue on, McKay.

McKay Allen:

Train your team on the "why." Make them see why this is important to them, right? Why is this important to the clients that you serve? Why is this important to them in terms of their pocketbook? Why is this important to firm? Because if you just say, "Hey, we need to do better." It's really hard, I think for smart people to be like, "Why do we need to do better?" But if you can give them the why, that'll help.

And then over-communicate. I say this a ton, these last two. So I've needed an attorney, I had to hire an attorney for one thing in my life. And the attorney that I ended up working with was so communicative that I always knew what was going on. It was awesome. Like I reached out to multiple firms and the only firm that reached out consistently was this one. And that's why I went with them. They were proactive. They over-communicated things. I always knew what was going on. There was never any surprise about, "Hey, we need this document. We need this. Here's this date for this." It was constant and continuous, proactive communication. And that's what you've got to have. Dan, thoughts. You had some principles you wanted to address as well.

Dan Couvrette:

Yeah. Well, it goes to, if you just think of communication, we're talking about initial contact, then the prospective client either comes in into your office or you do it virtually these days sometimes to the interview. You should set an expectation of your firm and let the potential client know what your firm stands for in terms of communication, who they're going to be talking to, how quickly they should expect a response, what sort of way that they will communicate with you, whether that's texting email, phone, letter, you know, whatever it might be. You need to set the expectations so the client is not disappointed. You've also set the standard for yourself by putting it into words to your perspective client. McKay also mentioned Google reviews. We've done a number of seminars, McKay and I, on Google reviews. And I want to just mention it now, this would be a time to let the client know that you're going to be asking them for a review.

So it sets a thought in their mind that "This is really important, how well I'm going to be taken care of by this family lawyer." And I can tell you, most family lawyers will not have that conversation with a prospective client. So if you're setting the bar high for your firm's ability and strategy for communicating with your clients and you live up to it. And sometimes you won't, by the way, but if you live up to it and even when you don't, you make up for it in some way, then you will have a constant flow of quality clients, because that client will not stop talking about how well they've been taken care of, just like McKay with his one legal case. He always mentions it and how well the communication was. So, it's throughout, it goes all the way to the end of the case.

I would recommend that you do an exit survey with your client, and you let them know at the beginning that you're going to be the doing an exit survey with them. This is all about communication. And so the exit survey, throughout the case, you should be checking in to see how they're feeling. I know in family law, it's difficult sometimes to deal with how they're feeling and for them to have a clear way to articulate how they're feeling. But if you're communicating with them on a regular basis, and you're doing your best to understand their feelings, then that won't be new to you when you do it at the end of the case.

So you want to find out how they were feeling through the process and what you did to help them feel more secure, feel more safe, feel more confident. All those things are the feelings, you're hoping to help your client achieve a better feeling in all those areas. So your exit survey is part of your communication strategy. So it's from the beginning to the end, you've got a strategy. And if you want to email me, DanC@divorcemarketinggroup.com, I'm glad to share a document that I've created around this. DanC@divorcemarketinggroup.com. Back to you McKay.

McKay Allen:

Love that. That's great. Awesome. Well, thanks for jumping on with us, everybody. If you have questions, you can text or call us at that number, we'd love to speak with you. Thanks again for taking the time out of your busy schedules, everybody. I know how busy everybody is and how valuable your time is. That's why we like to keep these at about a half hour. So thanks again. Dan, any final thoughts from you?

Dan Couvrette:

No, I just want to, I recommend that everybody go and check out, either text McKay here at this number, or check out the firm website. We have a number of clients who are using his system. They all rave about it. Like I say said, for a small amount of money, it's a great return on your investments. It's a great return on your or investment for all of your other marketing efforts. And the truth is that not every lawyer is great at communicating. So if you can, any improvement would be, would be good. So if you can up your level of communication, whether you're great at communicating or it's not your strong point. You know, you may not have gotten into family law because you were a great communicator. You gotten because of other skills that you possess. So I encourage you, if you could really use help in communication, check out Kenect. And if you think, "Hey, I just want to improve whatever I can improve in my practice," check out Kenect. So everybody should check you out, check them out.

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