In this 6-part series, we’ll address how chatbots are changing the game for law firm intake. This is part 3, where we’ll discuss why chatbots are essential for modern law firm intake. In part 1, we defined what a chatbot is. In part 2, we covered common chatbot features.
Well, the primary reason why you want chatbots for your law firm intake is because 9 out of 10 consumers prefer messaging with brands. C’mon now — give the people what they want! Certainly, chatbots are not the only options for ‘messaging’ — live chat, Facebook messaging and text messaging are a few other examples — but, if you want to start experimenting with how messaging can become part of your intake program, chatbots are a good place to start, in part because of the relative control you have over the system, as well as a compelling price point.
Of course, the primary reason consumers want messaging tools (and why you want them, too) is for engagement. One of the main differentiators between a chatbot and a contact form, for example, is that a chatbot actually engages the consumer. There is a back-and-forth, responses and replies, a conversation. Contact forms, voicemails, even text messages, drop into the ether, potentially without a response. A chatbot provides an immediate reply, and drives consumers down to a call to action. It’s a dynamic solution that also fits modern consumer preferences, including for speed of response. If, as the 2019 Clio Legal Trends Report suggests, that almost 80% of legal consumers want a response from law firms within 24 hours of an inquiry (and 10% want a response within an hour) — why not blow away their expectations, and provide an instantaneous response, from a chatbot?
Certainly, from the perspective of a legal consumer, offering a preferred channel and an engaging platform represent wins. However, from the perspective of the average lawyer, chatbots are particularly useful, too. Chatbots serve to qualify clients based on law firm-specific criteria. Chatbots vet potential clients (and boot tire kickers) so you don’t have, thereby saving you time — and money, when you don’t have to dedicate staff (or staff time) to picking up phone calls or answering chat queries. And, for those consumers that you actually want to engage, you can build calls to action into your chatbot: send leads to specific pages on your websites, send notifications or covert to appointments — all within one, seamless interface.
Traditional law firm marketing was largely about finding personal referral channels. Modern law firm marketing is about optimizing channel spread, because it’s becoming far more difficult to know which method of communication or information gathering a legal consumer will prefer. In an environment that favors omnichannel marketing, chatbots are another important tool in your toolkit. The more options you can cover, the more chances you give yourself to acquire the most lucrative cases. And, given that chatbots are much cheaper than live chat services and virtual receptionists, as well as being more engaging than typical web-based messaging tools, chatbots are the perfect addition to any modern law firm marketing program.
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Now you know why chatbots are so important to law firm intake. We’ll focus next time on how to build a chatbot for maximum engagement. Stay tuned, right here.