The most important person in your law firm is the intake person, the person who answers your phone. Many lawyers just don’t understand this fact, and it is costing them lots of business. I can get you all the quality leads and phone calls possible, but if you don’t have an all-star intake specialist answering the phone then all the leads I send you are essentially worthless.
Nothing happens and no cases get signed up without the intake person or team doing their job correctly. The intake staff is the first point of contact that a potential new client has with your office, and this interaction is make or break. Either your intake person is going to recognize that the caller has a good case and get them signed up, or your intake person is going to fail to get them signed up. Nothing happens and you don’t make money without the intake person doing their job.
I recently heard about a call where a client’s intake person mishandled a death case. Someone’s relative had died in a car accident and this person was searching for a law firm to take their case. My marketing program brought this quality call to my client’s office, but his intake person dropped the ball. The intake person listened to the caller describe their case, and then, instead of signing up the person’s case over the phone, or setting a firm call back time and getting the caller to commit to that call back, the intake person simply said, okay thanks for telling me about your case, we will review this information and call you back soon.
That kind of intake and support is dropping the ball. The intake person let a high-potential death case slip away. That caller was likely desperate for immediate help, and probably thought okay these people don’t want my case, I’ll try calling somewhere else now. This law firm lost out on a potentially high revenue case because their intake person didn’t handle the call correctly. And the saddest part of the entire situation is that the law firm owner isn’t even aware that he could have gotten this case because it got lost at the intake level before he would even have a chance to know he had a shot at getting this kind of case. Intake is everything.
The best advice I have for how to think about your intake staff and process is to be thinking train, incentivize, and improve. You have to first give your intake staff the highest-level training you can afford. You have to help them help themselves and learn how to handle calls and close good cases. Then you have to motivate your intake staff to perform with their A game every day by incentivizing them to do their best, sell sell sell, and get quality cases signed up. Every law firm should have some kind of strong incentive program in place to motivate their intake staff to handle the phone calls they get as well as possible. And finally, you should be constantly improving the intake process and the intake staff’s skills with things like call scripts, A/B split tests, continuing education, on-site training, brainstorming sessions, and the recruitment of top talent.