Hunching over a keyboard, plugging in names, addresses, phone numbers, personal details — data entry is no one’s idea of a good time. Of course, you can hire someone else to enter client data for your law firm, but that option forces you to make tricky decisions: do you deal with the significant spending required to hire someone local, or outsource the work at low cost and open yourself up to potential errors and communication headaches?
We’re not the first ones to note that law firms who want to stay lean and competitive need to reduce their reliance on time-consuming and error-prone manual data entry. In February, the American Bar Assocation’s publication “Law Practice Today” listed “eliminating multiple points of data entry” as one of seven habits of successful law firms.
At LaFleur Legal Marketing, intake optimization is our way of solving the data entry problem by taking advantage of the automation services we already have in place. We created our intake optimization services out of real-world experiences working with personal injury attorneys, and we designed our platform to reduce waste and inefficiency to let you spend more time on what matters in your practice — your clients and the legal matters they need help with.
How Intake Optimization Works
One of our goals as your marketing partner is to capture as much data from prospective clients as we can without resorting to tactics that could annoy and alienate your audience. We do this by encouraging potential clients to volunteer their information through contact forms, promotional opportunities, ebook or whitepaper downloads, and a variety of other methods.
Once we collect this data, we can often import it directly into your case management software or other existing systems, which reduces the time your staff spends on data entry and streamlines the client intake process.
Even though it sounds like a simple concept, intake optimization is one of those “big little ideas” that can revolutionize the way your firm operates on a day-to-day basis. Intake optimization is the next logical step that flows from the role of online form-fills in digital marketing, and from that natural extension, a plethora of time-saving and value-creating applications follow — as you’ll see in the next section.
Four Ways Intake Optimization Can Help Your Law Firm
If you’re not convinced yet that intake optimization is right for your firm, consider the following four ways that it can improve your firm’s processes and benefit your bottom line.
Less Time Spent on Data Entry
While many contemporary firms take advantage of the benefits of case management software, they often take in client information through paper forms, which translates to time spent on data entry in order to get clients up and running in the case management system.
By using the data that you’re gathering from clients as part of your marketing efforts and automatically plugging it into your case management software, you cut down on data entry work for your intake staff, and you also provide them a more complete picture of a client before they come in — allowing them to prepare for a potential client, ask informed questions, and better understand the prospective client’s needs and their reasons for visiting your firm.
Garbled conversation over the phone, scrawled handwriting, typing errors brought on by the monotony of staring at data-rich spreadsheets — every step in manual data entry is another potential point of failure in an inefficient system. By automating your data collection and reducing the number of times that data has to be provided and transcribed, you eliminate opportunities for costly errors.
Improved Client Satisfaction
Almost anyone who’s been to a hospital or doctor’s office knows the annoyance of being asked for the same personal information seemingly half a dozen times. Imagine if you received your initial paperwork and the information you gave them over the phone was already filled in — even if it’s a minor touch, it makes for a great first impression that speaks to an interest in innovation and efficiency.
In general, your clients don’t enjoy filling out forms any more than you like spending time on entering the results, and you’ll improve their experience working with you if you minimize their paperwork — which will in turn make them more likely to recommend you to other potential clients and leave favorable reviews online. Perhaps even more importantly, it allows both you and the client to quickly move past the intake process and focus on the legal matter that brought them to your office.
Intake Is Just the Beginning
Once you reduce your physical paperwork and start capturing data from your email marketing and online intake forms, the world of integrated software opens up to you. Your data will easily port into a wide variety of case management software systems like Needles, Clio, MyCase, and others, and you can also use it with email clients or plug it into document automation tools to populate routine legal documents with client details at a click.
Not only that, but your optimized data makes it easy to keep in touch with clients and follow up to ask for additional information, saving your staff time and increasing engagement among your clients. You can send out reminders for clients to contact you if any of their essential information changes, for example, or email new clients with surveys after a set period of time to gather information about client satisfaction — all with automated processes that require little to no ongoing work from your legal team.
We’ve also encountered cases where clients needed custom-built software to meet their needs, and we’ve been able to deliver solutions in these cases with a minimum amount of involvement from software developers and at a reasonable price point compared to what you might expect for custom software — so don’t let your practice’s unique demands keep you from exploring what we can do for you.
LaFleur: Your Law Firm’s Marketing Partner
From attorneys who lack any web presence to established firms who have misgivings about their current marketing strategy, we’ve helped law firms across the country streamline their operations and take advantage of the power of marketing automation. If you’re ready to cut down on time-wasting tasks so you and your staff can focus on the legal work that creates real value for your clients, we’re here to help.
Call LaFleur Legal Marketing today at (888) 222-1512 or fill out our convenient online contact form to learn more about what we can do for you and your practice. We look forward to hearing from you soon.
Kabra, R. (2016, February 12). Seven habits of successful law firms. Law Practice Today. Retrieved from http://www.lawpracticetoday.org/article/seven-habits-of-successful-law-firms/
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