If your firm invests in Social Security Disability leads you are probably already aware of how important it is to manage the intake process efficiently and thoroughly. Making a great first impression and earning initial trust with SSD/SSDI applicants will have a major impact on your overall case retention and revenue. When working with leads that are generated through an internet-based web form, the intake employee or attorney must make the first move to contact the lead. In most cases this is done by phone but if an email address exists, that may be used if no phone contact can be made.
When the claimant has been reached and is willing to speak, the first order of business is to decide if their case merits conversion into a case file. Do they fall within a reasonable age range (typically 30 – 65)? Are they currently seeing a doctor for their disability? Do they have enough work credit to qualify for benefits or are they already receiving some form of Social Security benefits? The ability to quickly and humanely “re-qualify” the lead is critical to an efficient intake process and can save a lot of time down the road.
Next, it is important to educate new clients on what to expect. Let them know how you will handle document preparation, representation during hearings (if needed) and communicating with the SSA. Be prepared to answer how your firm is compensated and that you will never receive payment unless you are successful in obtaining benefits. Even if it is not brought up initially, it will be top of mind and should be discussed to help put the applicant at ease.
Assuming that the SSD claimant qualifies, it may be necessary to review why the person filled out the form in the first place. This may initially seem like a waste of time but people often reach out for help in a moment of desperation and later feel more guarded when having to confront the prospect of filling out forms and doing the necessary work to begin the process of qualifying for Social Security Disability benefits. Take the time to discuss why they are seeking help with this process and softly sell them on the idea of receiving much-needed benefits. It can make all the difference to convert the prospect into a valued client for your firm.
It is also very important to manage expectations and let the client know that the process can take some time and that it’s not as simple as sending in an application and the Social Security Administration automatically approves benefits. In fact it is very common for first time claimants to be denied on the first try. Remind the claimant that your firm is there to help them through a complex and time consuming process and will assist in getting the necessary paperwork, doctor visits, etc. completed.
Time is of the essence! Paramount to successfully connecting with Social Security Disability leads on the phone is FAST follow-up! As soon as a lead reached your firm a call should be made to the claimant immediately since many studies have shown a drastic reduction in contact rate after the first hour. Should it be difficult to reach a potential claimant, don’t give up, this is normal. People who are experiencing dire economic and emotional turbulence in their lives are often difficult to reach for various reasons. Perhaps their phone has been turned off intermittently or they are not up to speaking with anyone for fear of creditors calling or other stressful situations.
Ultimately, the real key is persistence. Using a non-threatening tone, leaving messages and calling at least 4 to 5 times for any single claimant is standard practice in many cases and can take up to a few weeks to finally make contact. Not allowing for this type of follow up with your intake system will leave a lot of potential revenue on the table and can cause your cost per case file to rise to unsustainable levels. It pays to qualify well, be kind and very persistent.