You’re focused on your day-to-day operations, from the moment you arrive in the morning to when you leave in the evening. But just as important is the time you devote to your business operations after normal business hours, on weekends and holidays.
Leads come in 24/7/365. Law firms need to be able to respond to individuals whether they call about a case on Tuesday at 2PM or Saturday at 2AM. Lack of responsiveness (snoozing) will likely drive consumers to other firms (losing). Responding to after-hours leads in a timely and effective manner is an essential part of maximizing each and every opportunity.
Your firm likely has protocols in place to field communications during normal operating hours, whether an individual walks in, schedules an appointment, calls, texts, emails or chats. And, similarly, you should have guidelines established for leads that come in outside of regular office hours.
Here are some helpful tips for after-hours management:
1. After-Hours Service
Consider retaining an after-hours service to answer calls. After-hours companies can provide different levels of service from simply taking messages to providing full intake services. You will want to retain a service that:
- Can reliably follow your script
- Has minimal hold times
- Has bilingual operators
- Can immediately contact the attorney/staff member to respond to a lead that needs immediate attention.
Caveat — a good and consistent after-hours service is hard to find. Not unlike other businesses, they may have challenges finding and retaining quality personnel. Yet, this is a better option than having a prospective client go to voicemail or get no response at all.
You will need to audit your after-hours vendor to ensure sure they are providing quality service and satisfactorily representing the firm.
2. Email/Text/Chat Responses:
Most after-hours services do not handle written inquiries, so you will need to determine a rotation schedule for staff to ensure coverage. You should have scripted, standard language to use for possible cases, and even those you will reject, to assist the staff with their efforts and keep your communication consistent.
3. Follow-up/Follow Through:
Arguably, this is the most important! Someone who has reached out to your firm is not necessarily waiting by the phone for you to call back. If they don’t return your call within a reasonable amount of time, don’t get discouraged. Respectfully follow up with the lead in any way possible: call, text or email. Your firm should have established guidelines for this situation so that expectations are clear, concise, and can be audited for compliance.
4. Go the Distance:
Sign up the case after hours. Once the attorney has screened and accepted a case, there is one final step to solidify the arrangement -- the contingent fee agreement. This can be sent to the client via several different software programs by text or email. Text is by far the easiest and most convenient for all parties and serves as the ultimate conversion tool.
Your firm is generating leads, and you should have a solid plan to manage and maximize each opportunity. An after-hours lead protocol is essential to your business operations. You invest in your site and advertising to drive leads, so don’t leave those opportunities on the table. The effectiveness with which your firm responds, signs, and services will determine your conversion success.