Many of the things that law firms do surrounding processes resemble cottage industry. Much of the work is done by hand. Even at this late date, manual processes rule the law firm environment. But, as many lawyers become concerned over the use of marketing automation technology, due to the loss of a ‘personal touch’, the fact of the matter is that lawyers and staff are often too busy with substantive work to provide that personal touch, and that modern consumers are far more accepting of technology-based communications than law firms realize.
Legal consumers are contacting a lawyer because they’re worried about something, usually very worried. And, when people are worried, they need to be reassured. The way potential customers of legal services are reassured is by consistent contact. They want to know that the business they intend to choose will be looking out for them, and will be keeping them appraised of what is happening in their case.
Of course, this flies in the face of how most law firms do things. Lawyers onboard clients, but their usual MO is to let clients know when something ‘important’ happens on their case —the only problem with that strategy is that, in many cases, not very much happens on a legal claim, on a regular basis. What happens if you don’t have a substantive case update on a client’s case for six months? Not contacting them at all is a common, but poor solution, because that’s a surefire way to raise your client’s anxiety level. One thing a thoughtful law firm might do is to automate a regular check-in process.
And, this starts by conditioning clients to regular, automated communication, starting at the outset of representation. Get your clients used to communicating with chatbots and receiving email and text pings when they’re leads and new clients. This will also advantage you at intake, because the majority of potential law firm clients are more likely to become the clients of the law firm that offers a first point of engagement. That’s not a form to fill out, or a link to click. It’s a virtual receptionist, or a chatbot. Communicate with the potential law firm client in a fashion that does not require a lawyer or staffperson’s time, but that does equate to actual engagement, and your chances of winning that client skyrocket. Plus, you’ll prep them for the methods by which you will communicate with them later. Extend that proposition by using a client journey. Further entrench the procedure by automating regular check-in and checkup options.
Marketing automation is not the end of ‘personalized’ communications, it’s merely the preferred method of personalized communications in the digital age. And, this is what lawyers have always struggled with: keeping up with the times. But, if your law firm becomes a first mover on marketing automation, you’ll end up creating a massive competitive advantage for yourself.