3 Steps to a Highly Productive Law Firm
This is a guest post from Maddy Martin of Smith.ai. Smith AI is a proud partner of LawPay and together we’re working to help law firms improve efficiency and provide incredible experiences for clients.
As a law firm grows, little inefficiencies become bigger issues and have a major impact on your bottom line and your time.
When you are just starting out, you can essentially manage and track everything. Then, as things grow, you can’t afford to be constantly putting out fires.
You also can’t afford waste in any sense. Waste costs time, but also costs revenue. Revenue bleeds out from wasting billable time, but also quite literally money is often lost due to lack of efficiency.
Our goal in this article is to define three key areas where law firms can streamline their productivity to increase revenue, profit and eliminate waste.
1. Increase Cash Flow by Collecting More Payments
In Clio’s 2018 Legal Trends report, you can find many sources of stress and waste in a law firm.
One statistic that jumps out like a sore thumb, though, is this one: Out of every three hours of billable work, only two hours of revenue are collected.
Yikes! That hour of uncollected time could have been spent sipping a cup of coffee by the fire (or whatever sounds fun). This problem of uncollected revenue has a lot of causes, but the most important is actually collecting payments for work performed. Law firms need to make this as easy as possible. Start by offering online payments with LawPay, so clients can conveniently pay online at their convenience.
Making matters even more serious for law firms, the legal trends report also shows many potential law firm clients won’t even hire an attorney who doesn’t accept credit card payments.
Making payments easy for clients is essential for collecting cash flow and even getting the client in the first place. You can work with virtual receptionists and give them the tools to accept payments over the phone, so you can make the most of your time with clients.
Making this easy is 1. A better experience for clients, 2. Puts more cash in your firm, and 3. Saves you and your staff a lot of time with follow up.
2. Build Revenue with Increased Lead Responsiveness
To be clear—when we say “responsiveness,” this is what we mean. When the phone rings, or someone fills out a form or in any way reaches out to your law firm expressing interest in working with you - how quickly do you respond to them? The sooner you can, the more they feel like you are in control and they will trust you and most likely work with you.
So the first step in adding revenue is to increase the speed of responsiveness. Reach these potential clients immediately. Work them through a process that leads proactively to the next step.
Responsiveness refers to the speed of communication, but also to lawyers’ attention to clients’ preferences. A responsive law firm is one that: 1. Communicates quickly, 2. Filters out noise that consumes resources, and 3. Adopts the platforms its clients prefer.
Live chat is an example of an option to provide extremely quick responses in a way potential clients prefer. Live chat also helps your firm, as data shows conversion rates increase by an average of 40 percent when using live chat.
If you are taking these steps, you are going to be well ahead of many other firms, creating a better experience for your clients and helping you win more business.
3. Qualifying Leads to Maximize Your Time
In addition to quick responsiveness, it’s important to have the right communication for the right potential client. Not everyone is a perfect fit.
The goal in responsiveness after an initial contact is to qualify leads. For live calls, your staff should have a specific criteria for what your ideal client looks like and specific questions you can ask to determine if a lead is a good fit. Quickly.
Quickly determine if you have a good client on your hands and get them scheduled for an initial consultation (or whatever the best next step is in your process).
Doing this quickly puts you in control of the situation and demonstrates professionalism and confidence to potential clients.
You can qualify leads with a virtual receptionist and ensure attorneys’ time is only spent on the best possible fits. Everything else can be filtered out.
This will help remove plenty of waste and stress, making your firm more profitable in the long run.
A growing law firm has a lot of moving parts and plenty of potential for waste. The good news is, there is a lot of opportunity to capture more time and money by simplifying these processes. A good place to start is with easy payments, responsiveness, and lead qualification.
At Smith.ai, we specialize in helping law firms create and execute systems for quick responsiveness and qualifying leads so you can save time, and ramp up your revenue.