In this 6-part series, we’ll address how chatbots are changing the game for law firm intake. This is part 4, where we’ll discuss how to build a chatbot for maximum client engagement. In part 1, we defined what a chatbot is. In part 2, we covered common chatbot features. In part 3, we addressed why chatbots are so essential for modern law firm intake.
At this point, you’re riding the chatbot train. You’re down with the conceit. You understand why the tool is so essential for legal consumers and why it’s so effective for law firms. Now, you’ve got to build one that actually works in the law firm environment.
Now, hopefully, you’re working with a provider that will help you to build out a chatbot specific to your practice niche(s). Ask for templates — if they’ve worked with enough law firms, your preferred vendor should have some available. And, if you don’t want to use what they’ll provide, you’ll at least have an example from which to work.
The nuts and bolts of design are pretty important, so stay tuned:
-Don’t ask for contact information right away. Consumers don’t want to be made to feel like marketing collateral. Don’t jump right in, and skip dinner. Make an introduction. Allow the consumer to tell you/the bot something about their situation first. Then, collect contact information later.
-Ask qualifying questions. What specific practice area is the lead interested in? What specific characteristics of a claim can the lead confirm? Does the potential case conform to your jurisdictional limitations? Is the lead interested in talking to a specific attorney, or in visiting a specific office location? Drill down into the most basic questions.
-Because the idea is to qualify your potential clients, you’ll want to develop a classification structure to undergird the conversation that will take place. If the lead is located in Georgia and you’re licensed in Alaska, this might not be a fit. What is the severity of the case? Is this an emergency situation? Set up labels to create classifications in order to route leads to the correct staffperson or attorney in the appropriate timeframe.
-Even if you don’t lead with an ask for contact information, you should capture it at some point later in the conversation. After all, you’ll need it to get back to your lead later, or to send a notification following the chat conversation. At least grab an email address.
-In the case of a homepage chatbot, your conversational structure should be brief, and should not exceed 7-10 questions. Acquire the basic information. Offer your lead a chance to type in their own version of events. And lastly, create a call to action. Consumers complain that lawyers don’t tell them what to do next, or what will happen next. So, have your lead schedule an appointment via the chatbot, or let your lead know that you will reach out soon.
Chatbots can create lengthy question sets, and dive down deep into branching dialogs. And, in some cases those use cases will be essential for your process. A chatbot on a specific attorney’s page may have a different set of questions and length than a homepage chatbot. Similarly, a chatbot on a practice area page, or at a directory profile, may look and feel different. If you ultimately decide to run your full intake form through a chatbot, that may be a secondary or follow-up conversation, and one that represents a highly involved interaction — which nonetheless allows you to take advantage of intake features to qualify lead or client responses.
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Now you know how to build a chatbot for maximum engagement. We’ll focus next time on how to collect and manage data via a chatbot. Stay tuned, right here.