A recent article from the Harvard Business Review on how critically important it is to get back to client inquiries as quickly as possible concludes that following up within the first hour of contact results in a 7 fold increase in connecting and having a meaningful conversation. Yes, you read that right 7 TIMES. After an hour, contact rates drop dramatically. The sad fact is that their survey found that only 37% of companies respond to inbound leads in an hour or less.
When a potential client—a “lead”—appears at your doorstep, either by inbound email, phone or in person, this is someone who has a pressing need right now. Their sense of urgency will lead them to find a solution as soon as possible to solve their pain point. In a busy law office, it is really easy to de-prioritize inbound leads until after you put out the daily fires. This is a terrible idea! The study concluded that even after the first 10 minutes the value of a new lead can drop by half, with contact rates diminishing by the second. That is just how fast potential new clients move. Sit on your leads and conversions plummet. Clearly, following up immediately with any new inquiries is crucial to effective ROI when it comes to maximizing your investment in marketing.
Here are a few ways to ensure you are speedy with your follow up:
- Have a dedicated intake person handle all inbound emails and calls. Make sure they are well trained in the practice areas your firm handles.
- Use a call answering service during off hours, having a live person pick up the call in the middle of the night and then send a notification to an intake specialist or attorney can be crucial for closing new business. You can review and triage leads during off hours and sometimes respond if it appears to be an excellent lead. For instance a serious personal injury sustained in an auto accident and the potential claimant needs immediate help. Attorneys are professionals and sometimes must rise to the emergency—it is good for the client and good business.
- Use email auto-responders after someone fills out a contact form on your website. Let them know that you received their request and someone will be in contact shortly. Along with that email, you can also send a welcome packet with FAQs about your firm or their potential problem, the more relevant the better. For instance for a potential Workers Comp claimant send valuable information on what their rights are with their employer and what to expect on their call with an attorney. Every little step helps to build rapport and trust.
Bottom line, fast follow up is the single most important factor when it comes to lead generation and getting the maximum return you deserve from your firm’s valuable marketing investment.