How to Use Virtual Receptionists to Convert More Chatbot Leads

Maddy Martin Guest Post Leave a Comment

If you’re using LawDroid’s chatbot, then you already understand the importance of capturing website leads from organic search, paid search, referral, and direct traffic. Yet, you might not understand the magnitude of the importance.

Did you know that 2 of 3 potential clients say the #1 influence on their “decision to hire” is whether a law firm responds to their first phone call or email right away?

Does the website look great? Did their friend’s mother refer them? Does the attorney have over 10 years of experience? None of these factors matter as much as response time. And the fastest way to respond is to communicate prior even to that first call or email, through web chat.

So you’re doing things correctly. But a chatbot only takes you so far. It gets the fish on the line. It might even get the fish in the boat (e.g., through a new appointment), but it often doesn’t wield enough power to reel it in, cook it, and put it on the dinner table. That involves a few things:

  • Lead qualification (do you even want this fish?)
  • New client intake (what kind of fish is this?)
  • Payment collection (how long till this fish becomes dinner?)

If you’re a solo or small-firm attorney, you most likely don’t have receptionist or intake staff, so these qualification, intake, and payment tasks fall on the shoulders of you, your partners, associates, or paralegals. Let’s face it: That’s not the most efficient use of your time or theirs. Not to mention the fact that you’re not always available to answer and return calls.

Stop sending leads to voicemail or making them wait forever in your email inbox for a call back. The truth is, they’re not waiting. They’re going with the most responsive firm. If you’re not making them wait by answering the phone yourself, that’s a losing strategy, too — your time should be spent practicing law for your existing clients, networking to build more business, and overseeing your practice.

The solution is to hand-off even more non-lawyering tasks. Enlist the help of an affordable live answering service as a complement to your chatbot. For just a small incremental cost per lead on top of the LawDroid fee, you’ll nab those fish — systematically, reliably, and far more often.

Here’s how to best incorporate virtual receptionists into your web conversion funnel to capture more leads and get yourself that fish dinner.

  1. Forward calls for immediate pick-up

As soon as a chatbot lead is deemed “qualified,” transfer that call to virtual receptionists for further qualification. It’s easy for the bot to ask unintrusive qualifying questions, like which county the person lives in, but it’s not as appropriate to ask if they’re willing to pay your hourly rate. Let a live receptionist walk them through the basic fee structure and further vet the lead.

  1. Queue up outbound call-backs

If it’s after hours, or if the web lead prefers to talk later and not now, you can queue up call-backs with the live receptionists, who are able to not only accept inbound, but also make outbound, calls.

This is also an excellent strategy for leads who left your website (“bounced”) before booking an appointment through your online calendar. The receptionists can call these leads back to answer questions and attempt to book a new client appointment. Demonstrate the level of care leads can expect when they become clients of your firm by showing attentiveness in the beginning.

  1. Add a client intake questionnaire

Once the lead is fully qualified, the next step is intake. Provide the virtual receptionists access to your intake form along with any instructions for proper use, and they’ll take care of completing it while on the phone with them. If your LawDroid bot has already booked an appointment with the lead, receptionists can call them back ahead of the appointment to complete intake, so you or your partner is fully equipped for the phone consultation or first client meeting.

  1. Add appointment scheduling (with & without payment)

After intake comes the first appointment, either on the phone, via live web chat, or in person. Some attorneys charge for the initial consultation, and some don’t. Either way, your receptionists can plug in to your calendar to see when you or your partners are available for a new client appointment. You might even instruct them to live-transfer the new client to you immediately, if you’re available. If not, they’ll just proceed with scheduling that appointment. If payment is required, they can accept payment via Law Pay, Trial Pay, PayPal, and other online payment methods, to ensure an easy, secure transaction.

  1. Integrate your CRM, CMS, and calendaring software.

Throughout each of these steps, all the captured data, from the completed intake form to the booked appointment to the payment receipt, can be passed into your existing systems. Do your due diligence when selecting a virtual receptionist service here — you want to ensure they’ll sync with your software so you’re not left with the chores of copying and pasting notes back and forth. The goal is to create automated workflows for greater efficiency and better synchronized data.

  1. Monetize your bad leads

Every so often, one of those qualified leads is going to reach your receptionists, and they’re going to qualify them formally, and determine they’re not actually a good fit for your firm, due to some mismatch with location, practice area, fees, timing, or expectations. Turn that potential loss into an opportunity: monetize the bad lead by having the receptionist recommend a better-suited lawyer whom you recommend to serve their particular needs. Simply provide a list of recommended attorneys, along with your criteria to refer to them, and you’ll open yourself up to referral fees that otherwise would have been left on the table.

Choosing a virtual receptionist service

It’s important to note that not every live answering service offers lead qualification, new client intake, payment collection, and other services mentioned above. Smith.ai virtual receptionists does. Professional, U.S.-based receptionists answer, transfer, and return calls during business hours, freeing you up to practice law, network, write articles, and do everything else that no one but you can do.

What’s with the “ai” in the name? That stands for “artificial intelligence,” and it powers the following features:

  • Automatic spam blocking of 20 million numbers
  • Live call transfer requests via SMS and Slack
  • Easy status changes via SMS (e.g., text “Do Not Disturb” when you arrive at court)
  • Instant call notes via email, SMS, or Slack

Unlike most live answering services, billing is per-call, not per-minute. Leads who need to explain their case in detail? Clients who need to track down their credit card to book a consult? These calls can take 5 to 10 minutes. You get consistent billing when you’re charged per-call.

Smith.ai provides:

  • Inbound & outbound calls
  • Lead capture & qualification
  • Appointment scheduling & reminders
  • Customized call handling procedures
  • Coverage Monday to Friday, 6AM to 6PM PST / 9AM to 9PM EST
  • Call screening, prioritization, and VIP lists
  • Instant call summaries and end-of-day reports
  • Voicemails transcribed and sent to email or SMS

With plans starting at $60/month, law firms get the experience and quality of an in-house receptionist at a small fraction of the price.

Here’s what one of our long-time clients had to say:

“I am extremely pleased. The ease of use, reasonable cost, and very professional staff have made this one of my best business decisions of the past year.”

– Kevin Levine, immigration attorney

Get started with a free trial and $50 off

If you’d like to sign up for Smith.ai, you may do so online at https://smith.ai, by phone at (650) 727-6484, or by email at support@smith.ai. LawDroid users get $50 off their first month with code LAWDROID. This code can be used in combination with Smith.ai’s 30-day/10-call free trial.

Contact Smith.ai

Questions about integrating virtual receptionists with LawDroid? Looking for more best practices? Our support team can offer guidance so you implement the most efficient and effective workflows from the start. Contact Smith.ai Monday through Friday between 6 AM and 6 PM PST at (650) 727-6484 or support@smith.ai.

About Maddy Martin

Maddy Martin is the head of marketing and partnerships for Smith.ai, which provides law firm communication services, including their virtual receptionist & intake service, and Keypad cloud phone system. She has spent the last decade growing tech startups from New York to California, and has expertise in digital marketing, small business communications, lead conversion, email marketing, SEO & event marketing. Maddy can be reached at maddy@smith.ai.

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