The internet provides us with a lot of conveniences: food delivery services, requesting a ride, grocery delivery, and the ability to play games, interact with others, and even watch movies or listen to music. All of these things are almost immediately available or can be delivered within a few hours or even just a couple of days. It’s certainly nice to have necessities and luxuries just a few clicks away. However, the internet also created a way for consumers and businesses in every industry to remain connected.
This includes anyone looking for a lawyer to help them. The good news is that there are solutions available for law offices that better serve clients by providing 24/7 legal intake. In this article, we’re exploring some of the options available to law offices as well as the benefits they offer.
Online Forms as an Intake Tool
One of the most popular, cost-effective, and relied upon methods for 24/7 legal intake is the use of online forms. These forms are located on the law office’s website. These forms generally work in one of two basic ways:
- The prospective clients download one or more PDF documents that they can either fill out on the computer (known as fillable PDF forms) and save to return to the law office via email or print off after completing them to take to the law office.
- The prospective clients complete a fillable online form that has a submit button. The submit button sends the prospective client’s information to the law office generally by alerting the law office via email that the form was completed and providing them with the information.
Online forms are one of the most cost-effective methods for law offices to give prospective clients the opportunity to start the intake process at their own convenience. It is fairly simple to implement a basic form. For example, websites that use WordPress have simple tools and plugins available that enable the creation of forms that can be submitted to a specified email address.
While cost-effective and relatively easy to use, it’s imperative to briefly mention some concerns. This type of client intake option for a law office does not rely on any sort of artificial intelligence. In short, it’s not particularly engaging. It does not answer basic questions or help the prospective client determine whether the law office can meet their needs. It is a way for their information to be sent directly to the law office 24/7. Additionally, these forms should not request sensitive information, such as a social security number, a credit card number, etc. This type of intake isn’t as secure as other options.
After receiving the information from the form, someone from the law office should contact them to verify the information received, set an appointment, and explain the next steps.
Virtual Receptionist or Answering Service
A virtual receptionist or answering service is another common intake tool used by law offices. In fact, it’s an option that most law offices are comfortable with using since it doesn’t take much work to implement or monitor. The virtual receptionist or answering service should be experienced in handling phone calls for law offices as well agree to answering calls outside of normal business hours.
At the end of the workday and at the end of every work week, the law office phone number is rolled over to the virtual receptionist. When a call comes in, it is forwarded to and answered by the virtual receptionist. Using information provided by the law office, the virtual receptionist may then perform client intake as well as even create an appointment for the prospective client to meet with you.
One of the main benefits of this type of 24/7 legal intake is its ease for law offices. It’s also beneficial for prospective clients since they get to talk with an actual person who may walk them through the intake process. However, it is important to keep in mind that some prospective clients may be more comfortable with an online option.
Chatbots for Client Intake
Obviously, we talk about chatbots a lot here on this site. They are an excellent legal intake tool for law offices. It can be placed on the law office’s website or even deployed through Facebook messenger. Chatbots combine the benefit of having an online intake option, such as an online form, as well as providing a way for prospective clients to get answers to basic questions just as they could if they spoke with a virtual receptionist.
However, before deciding that a chatbot is the best solution, it is imperative to understand exactly what you want the chatbot to do. Otherwise, you may not be happy with the results. If you’re not happy with how it works, you can rest assured that prospective clients probably won’t use it, either.
Legal Intake Tools Included in Law Practice Management Software
Law offices that use law practice management software may have a 24/7 legal intake option available. It may be included as a standard feature or one may be available for an additional fee. It’s typically an easy process to set up the online intake process since the law practice management system already has the information for the law office. In addition to easy set-up, data is also more secure than using an online form. The link to the online intake system can be embedded into the website’s FAQ, contact page, and even in blog posts to make it easy for prospective clients to start the intake process.
24/7 Legal Intake Should Be Easy for All
The process of legal intake should be easy for both the law office and prospective clients, and that’s the beauty of having great 24/7 intake options to choose from. Law offices are able to choose the right intake option that fits their needs as well as working well for prospective clients!
If you’re interested in learning more about how a chatbot can help your law office, schedule your LawDroid demo now!
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