How to Beat the Competition with GrowPath
Law firm intake is, stated simply, the manner in which a firm is contacted by prospective clients, evaluates legal matters and converts qualified leads into retained clients. Every firm has its own approach to intake: Some firms use very streamlined processes. like the case study below, while others attempt to make do with more outdated methods. If your firm struggles with providing quick and informative responses to leads, juggles between multiple platforms, and misses out on high value cases, you may need to become the change agent who revolutionizes your firm’s intake workflows.
Mike Jordan, a personal injury attorney at The Law Offices of James Scott Farrin, plays a huge role in optimizing his firm’s intakes process. He does this by helping each staff member use GrowPath to its fullest potential. See the case study below to learn how this high volume firm handles its intakes.
Efficient intakes provide better client experiences, reduce stress on firm staff and keep valuable data securely stored. Now or in the future, this data may even lead to other derivative cases the client never anticipated. With that said, let’s take a look at the factors involved in a streamlined intake process:
Being an Omni-Channel Law Firm
In today’s world of smartphones and expectations of quick response times, law firms who only expect to receive legal inquiries from walk-ins, phone calls and emails during regular hours are likely missing out on some high value cases. Smartphone users in the United States send and receive texts at a clip at least five times higher than the rate at which they make and receive calls (International Smartphone Mobility Report by Infomate). For this reason, many law firms now have the ability to send and receive text messages on their business numbers.
With messages coming from so many different channels, it’s vital to have a system in place to get messages and notifications and evaluate the merits of a legal case so the prospect can receive quick (if not immediate) follow up. For example, chatbots on law firm websites are engaging with prospects and evaluating their legal matters according to predetermined decision-tree types of questions. This information is then, as necessary, sent to a firm intake specialist for follow up.
If response times lag too long, the prospect will have already moved on to a competitor. In many cases, Mike Jordan and his team at Farrin provide the prospect with answers to legal questions and a plan of action during the first phone call. Read on to see how they do it.
Quickly Evaluating the Merits of a Legal Matter
Regardless of the channel through which the prospect chooses to engage the firm, the next factor in better legal intakes is the ability to quickly evaluate the merits of the case. GrowPath provides intake specialists with scripted prompts that help them know the right questions to ask at exactly the right time. As the intake specialist enters data into the GrowPath software, additional fields populate based on the answers received. This prevents intake specialists from asking unrelated, unnecessary questions; instead, it keeps them on track to uncover the vital information needed to determine whether a case has merit.
All the while, GrowPath’s advanced technology is assessing and processing the inputs behind the scenes to provide a lead score. This score immediately tells the intake specialists the next steps to take. These lead scores are customizable. Each firm sets the values that determine how to score leads as well as the action steps to take based on the score.
To create the formula for the lead score, each firm looks at its history of cases and determines what common factors lead to high value. GrowPath intake forms allow for “if-this-then-that” prompts, custom drop-downs and time-saving measures such as “stop-the-call” red flags.
For example, a high lead score will prompt the intake specialist to set up a consultation, while a moderate score may result in the call being transferred to a staff member for additional questioning. A low score gives notice to the intake specialist to quickly end the call to prevent wasting valuable time. All low score leads can then be handled in a batch process by someone like Mike and his team.
Converting the Lead
Ideally, a law firm should always have an attorney available for a live call that rates as high value. Often, Mike Jordan is that intake attorney for Farrin. He is patched through when a lead shows a high score in GrowPath.
Depending on the size of the firm, this may not be feasible. If a caller has to leave a voicemail, they are likely dialing the next firm as soon as they hang up. The same can be said when a caller gets a receptionist who simply takes a message and does not know how to speak intelligently about the legal matter at hand.
To stay ahead of the competition, the intake process should provide a live encounter with a person who asks the right questions, evaluates the case and takes the appropriate next steps in signing on the client. All actions in GrowPath’s intake process are dated and time-stamped for accurate record-keeping. Just ask Mike:
“GrowPath provides a clean, quick, simple process allowing you to focus on the important issues to best help the potential client.”
With GrowPath, the intake specialist will know based on the lead score whether to set up an appointment, email a fee agreement for e-signature, collect more information from the client or decline the case/refer it to another firm. Remember, this is very important because prospects want quick (if not instant) feedback on their legal matter.
Once a prospect has made the decision to hire the firm, GrowPath streamlines the process of signing on with one-click conversion of all intake data into case management.
Derivative Causes of Action
Keeping all intake information as part of the case file allows for better searches in the future when searching for conflict checks and derivative claims. This is because searches will show all intakes, not just converted cases.
GrowPath’s patented Buzzwords™ feature also indicates to intake specialists in real time that another possible type of injury-related case may pertain to this caller. For example, someone may be calling about a workers’ compensation injury but, in the course of the call, happens to mention a work environment containing asbestos. The Buzzword™ will flash on the screen to prompt the intake specialist to inquire further about this issue with a specific set of scripted prompts. This feature has been a game changer for Mike:
“The Buzzwords feature allows us to discover cases of substantial value that the client wasn’t even calling about. If you’re missing cases with GrowPath’s Buzzwords, it’s because you’re not looking at your screen.”
Let’s take a look at one high volume North Carolina plaintiffs’ firm that uses GrowPath’s legal case management software. This case study will illustrate how they are out-classing the competition with streamlined intakes.
Firm: The Law Offices of James Scott Farrin, Durham, NC
Intake Volume: 500+ intakes per month
Intake Specialists: 17 (take calls, follow up on website contacts)
Dedicated Intake Attorneys: 16 (meet with prospects, available for live calls on high value cases)
The intake specialist would open a Microsoft Word document based on the type of injury discussed in the call. He or she would ask questions based on that document and then save the document on a shared drive. A contact card would be created in Microsoft Access, and the information would be duplicated onto an Excel spreadsheet. After all that, the appropriate attorney would be emailed to review the information, or the document could be placed in a special folder for pending reviews.
Next, the attorney would send a response via email suggesting action steps for each matter. Finally, the intake specialist would reach out to the lead and provide information on the applicable action step. This response cycle would typically take 1-3 days from the time the call was initiated.
The intake specialist types notes into the new contact screen and asks questions based on the prompts. The prompts repopulate based on the answers given so that the right questions are asked at the right time. The contact information is stored in the intake section of GrowPath and, in one-click, converts over to case management when the client signs on with the firm. No duplicate data entry necessary.
As the intake specialist is typing, a score is given to the lead, and the specialist knows the appropriate next action step. The Farrin firm uses some of the following variables in its intake process:
Initial Categorization of Injury Case Leads
- No Injury
- Soft Tissue Injury
- Minor Definitive Injury
- Major Definitive Injury
The answers given during intake then trigger specific follow-up questions for each category. The follow up questions deal with:
- Contributory Negligence
- Extent of Damages
All of these answers affect the lead score, which determines the action step. Action steps include:
- Set Full Appointment
- Transfer to On-call Attorney
- Schedule Attorney Callback
- Transfer to Staff for Follow-up Questions
- Decline Case
As you can see, the intake specialist is able to provide immediate feedback to each prospect. All notes taken during the call are stored securely in GrowPath for future conflict checks, to easily convert the file into a case matter or to discover possible derivative cases with Buzzwords. Mike wholeheartedly prefers the new process: