Survey Results: The Biggest Mistakes Law Firms Make with Intake

Nov 10
min Read
Legal Webinars

[Webinar Transcript from October 2022]

Hi everybody. Why don't we get started here. So, we're going to talk about some intake survey results that we did. Some quick background in terms of who Kenect is and what we do. So we are Kenect. We are based outside of Salt Lake City. We're a text messaging platform that is built for law firms throughout North America. And essentially what we allow you to do is send and receive text messages to and from your main business number. That gives you the ability to benefit from texting without having to use your personal cell number, which every single attorney at every single law firm I've ever talked to has felt sort of an obligation to use their personal cell, but then also has horror stories about using their personal cell as well. That is a significant challenge. This allows you to communicate efficiently, generate your leads, conduct video consultations, and drive online reviews by simply sending text messages to and from your main business phone number.

We are integrated with several case management systems. We're also integrated with tools like LawPay, MyCase, Actionstep, Smart Advocate and others that are not on this slide. And to be super clear, you don't have to use Kenect texting with one of these tools, but you can use Kenect with one of these tools.

Your clients prefer texting

So how do we do it? Two-way text messaging for your law firm so you don't need to give out your personal cell number that leads straight from your website, video chat for virtual consultations and then online review and reputation management as well. Your clients really do prefer text messaging. 89% of consumers would prefer to interact with a business via text messaging rather than a phone call. 98% of all text messages are open, 95% are read within three minutes. 96% of clients say phone calls are disruptive and 78% say a text is the most important way to reach them.

How does it work? You can send and receive text messages to and from this Kenect texting inbox. Looks and functions a lot like an email inbox, but it's for texting. This allows you to send and receive those text messages quickly and easily. Again, you can just log into this, send and receive text messages from your main business phone number. There's also a Kenect mobile app that you can use to send and receive text messages as well.

Top eight ways law firms use Kenect. Scheduling consultations, sending appointment reminders, streamlining process and intake, sending case updates, that's really good. Quit playing phone tag and you can use Kenect to in case updates. Collecting fees with our law pay integration as well.

Biggest problems facing law firms

All right, let's talk about this survey that we conducted. So we did a survey with around 600 law firms that was talking to them about their biggest problems. And the number one problem that was identified by these law firms is that they simply did not have a good intake process. There was confusion around their intake process, there was a lack of consistency. There were some people who did it one way and some that did it another way. This was the largest sort of grouping of problems within the universe of the problems that were presented to these law firms. So something related to intake was identified as the number one problem by the vast majority of these law firms. So that's the impetus on the background for why we're doing the webinar and why the survey.

Then what we did is for those people who said that the intake process or something related to intake was the biggest issue, what we did was ask them precisely what the biggest issues were with intake. And that's the next few slides. So what we'll do over the next 15, 20 minutes is kind of walk through this and provide hopefully some ideas in terms of how to fix it, how to remedy it, how to help.

So, first things first is know your process. So the number one thing that these law firms who said that intake process was a challenge indicated to us was that there was a process problem at their firm. They didn't know their process, they were confused by the process. There were some people who were operating with one intake model at their firm, and then if someone else did intake they were to get different information or they would use a different process or they wouldn't put something in the case management system. There was just confusion around the process. This was the number one intake related challenge that these law firms had.

The other thing to note on this is a really simple problem to fix. The law firms that didn't say this was an issue had a written out, bullet pointed intake process document. Some people this lived on their computer, other people they literally printed it out and put it on their desk. But this ensured that everybody had a process that was written down. And this does not need to be like a 12 page manual, this can be an eight bullet point document that has exactly how they intake new clients.

So the first issue, again, the most common one was not knowing process and not having the process. This is easily fixed. So I would suggest that this is a challenge for you, sit down and write out nine bullet points of what your intake process looks like. This is easy and it's an easy fix, but most law firms aren't doing it.

The second issue with intake was the inability to consistently attract new potential clients. I thought this one was interesting. So this was the number two highest result on the survey. And basically what it showed me is that you have a lot of law firms who don't have the ability to get new clients in a consistent way, and therefore their intake is all over the map. It's hard to get a consistent process when you're only performing an intake on a new client every three months. So getting additional clients is critical. Now, we're biased, I fully admit that, but studies from Google and other entities indicate that law firms that have the most reviews are going to get the most clients.

So we provide you at Kenect a way to get more reviews. You can send a text message. You do this, it has your law firm's logo, it has your name, it has a text message. You select the review site, you post the review. Doing this allows you to gather and get more reviews and therefore get new clients, which is a huge issue.

Third was capturing contact information. Now this one was pretty shocking because what this indicated is that throughout the intake process, there were some firms who simply said that there were differences at their firm in terms of what contact information they gathered and what was standard. As part of your process, you should write down what precisely you need to gather from your clients as you do intake. That's really, really important. Make sure everybody knows, okay, these are the eight pieces of information we need to get. Might be first name, last name, name, email, phone number, legal problem, expectations around payment, end result they want in the case, whatever those things are, just make sure everybody knows exactly what information you're gathering. There seem to be based on our survey, some inconsistencies with how law firms were gathering that data.

Now, Kenect can help with this. We put a little “text us” button on your website. It's going to do two things for you. Number one is it's going to dramatically increase new leads from your website. The second thing it's going to do is allow you to gather this information in writing via text. So they click on that button, you can have a menu here, and then you can ask for any information you want on this screen and they text that information in. The beauty of this is that it flows automatically into your case management system if you have that integration set up. So this information goes directly into the case or matter and instantly you're able to get new information about those clients within the case or matter and it flows directly into your systems.

Pre-screening was a big concern. So I think COVID made this a little more complex. Some people were comfortable coming in, some weren't. Some people wanted to Zoom, some people didn't. Some people were comfortable with a phone call and some weren't. So this was a massive challenge. So pre-screening consistency was really important. How do you do this at your firm, how do you structure pre-screening? Do you do a video call? Do you invite them to come in? Do you do a phone call first and then invite them to come in? Whatever process you use for pre-screening, make sure it's consistent. The one thing I will tell you is we have a tool that we built specifically for this. So while someone is texting, you can instantly start a live video chat on either your device if you're using Kenect or on a desktop if you're using Kenect. And the other person, your client does not need to be using Kenect, they just click on a link that's in a regular text message. So this is, I think, a really effective way that a law firms are using video chat to do that initial consultation, that initial screening.

Number five in terms of the biggest intake concerns was collecting key case information. So, sort of like the contact information and the basic case information, make sure you're gathering precisely what you need to know. Who are the other attorneys involved? Who have they talked to before? Where are they at with the agreement or the arrangement? Have they tried some sort of mitigation if it's a family issue? Make sure you're getting the information you need to do a good job on the case up front.

And then finally, this one will kind of shock me that it was in the system, is signing a fee agreement. Far too many law firms require signatures of nothing. That's a problem. Make sure you're signing a fee agreement and demanding that your clients sign a fee agreement as well. And the new client onboarding and setting expectations. This one pops up later in the survey, but it's still really important and I wanted to address it briefly. Make sure that you have a consistent process for client onboarding. When someone becomes a new client, what does that look like? Do you send them a gift basket? Do you meet with them weekly? And you need to spell out for this client what that looks like. What is the communication cadence they should expect? How often should they be hearing from you? If you provide them the ability to text using Kenect, make sure they understand the limitations or any limitations you want to impose in terms of calling or texting. Like, hey, if you text us at 9:00, we'll reply, but if you call at 9:00 we won't, whatever, that's your call. But make sure you set those expectations.

Here's the reason I say that. The number one reason law firms get bad reviews is because of poor communication, or in other words, expectations about communication not matching reality. So if they have an attorney, if they're hiring an attorney, this is probably the most important thing going on in their life. This is a crisis that they have to get through. And so they are not going to have any concerns about calling you at 9:30 at night or texting your personal phone number if you give that to them. This matters more than anything in the world to them, and that's great. But that doesn't mean that you should be able to answer phone calls or text messages at 10:30 at night on a consistent basis.

Now, again, I believe Kenect can solve some of this because they're texting your main number, not your personal number. So you can choose whether or not you want to respond. That's your decision at that point. But again, make sure that you've set expectations with them, because the number one frustration that clients have with law firms is that they are not communicating in the way or the cadence that they previously expected. So you've got to make sure that you set those expectations and you meet those expectations that you set. Because again, they could be thinking that you're going to talk to them every day or that you're having an in-person meeting once a week, and that's just not reality in some cases. So make sure you set those expectations.

So thanks again everybody. Hope this was helpful. If you're interested in learning more about Kenect, you can text us or call us at this number. Thanks again everybody. Bye-bye.

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