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    As an attorney, your clients are your lifeblood. They not only keep your practice afloat but also provide the challenges and experiences that help you grow professionally.

    However, what many attorneys forget is that their potential clients are often facing urgent, stressful situations, and timely communication is key to winning their trust, and consequently, their case.

    And there’s a problem. Many firms are burning their digital marketing budgets (and wasting money) by not jumping on leads already coming in the door.

    In this post, we’ll dive into why your response time is a critical factor in case acquisition and how you can improve it.

    A lady answering two phones at the law office

    The Cost of Not Picking Up the Phone

    While it may seem trivial, not picking up the phone can lead to missed opportunities. If a potential client calls and doesn’t get a response, they’re likely to try the next attorney on their list. And by the time you call them back, they’re long gone.

    • First impressions matter: If the first impression a potential client has of your service is an unanswered call, they may think you’re too busy to handle their case or not dedicated to their needs.
    • Time sensitivity: Legal matters are often time-sensitive. If a potential client can’t reach you quickly, they’ll move on to someone who can assist them promptly.
    • Lost trust: Failure to answer the phone can be perceived as unprofessional, leading to a loss of trust even before you’ve had the chance to build a relationship.

    The Importance of Prompt Call Returns

    Similarly, not returning calls promptly can have a detrimental impact on your practice. Here’s why:

    • Urgency: Potential clients are typically in a difficult situation, making their need for legal representation urgent. Delayed responses can result in them seeking help elsewhere.
    • Relevance: By the time you return their call, the potential client may have already hired another attorney, making your return call irrelevant.
    • Distrust: Slow response times can create doubt in the minds of potential clients about your ability to handle their case efficiently.

    The Need for a Good After-Hours Answering Service

    Your availability shouldn’t be confined to the typical 9-to-5 schedule. Many potential clients may call outside regular office hours, and a good after-hours answering service can be your game-changer.

    • 24/7 availability: An around-the-clock answering service shows potential clients that you are committed to helping them, regardless of the time.
    • Efficiency: A good answering service can collect important information from potential clients and ensure that their inquiries are prioritized for a prompt response. But this is often overlooked because many firms hire bad answering services. Services that don’t act like an extension of their firm, but rather just pickup the phone with in experienced operators.
    • Professionalism: A well-managed after-hours service communicates a high level of professionalism to potential clients, giving them confidence in your services.

    The Power of Follow-Up

    Following up more than once is a strategic move that many attorneys overlook. Here’s why it’s important:

    • Showing interest: Repeated follow-ups show potential clients that you are genuinely interested in their case.
    • Establishing trust: Frequent communication allows you to build a stronger relationship with potential clients, increasing their trust in your services.
    • Overcoming indecision: Some clients may be indecisive or exploring their options. Regular follow-ups can persuade them to choose you over your competitors.

    Internet Leads: The Crucial Role of Immediate Response

    In the digital age, the internet (and often your own law firm website) is often the first place potential clients will turn to when searching for legal representation. Given the wealth of options available online, your firm’s visibility and quick response are paramount to securing these leads.

    When a potential client finds your firm online, they may know little or nothing about you and your services. They’re likely exploring their options and contacting multiple firms to find the one that best suits their needs. At this point, your quick and efficient response to their inquiry can make all the difference.

    Remember, these individuals are typically in a situation that requires immediate legal counsel. By not answering their call or returning it promptly, you risk losing their interest. It’s not just about missing a call; it’s about the impression you’re giving to this potential client. If you’re not available when they need help, they may question your firm’s commitment and ability to manage their case effectively.

    Swiftly answering calls and returning messages sends a clear signal that your firm is ready, willing, and able to assist promptly. This immediate response boosts the confidence of potential clients in your services, showing that you value their time and their case. After all, the key to securing a case often lies in the first few moments of interaction. Therefore, ensuring these moments are positive and reassuring can significantly increase your chance of signing the case.

    This is one of the reasons we recommend texting services like Leadferno which allows you to stay top of mind with your potential prospects directly on their cell phone.

    There is a Huge Opportunity to Grow Your Business By Being Available and Prompt

    As an attorney, your response time to inquiries can directly impact the number of cases you sign.

    Just a few weeks ago I needed to hire an attorney for a foreign immigration matter. I had to call three firms before anyone even answered the phone!

    By ensuring that you’re easily reachable, responding promptly to inquiries, providing a reliable after-hours answering service, and consistently following up, you can gain a competitive edge and sign more cases. These actions communicate respect for your clients’ time and urgency, and they will appreciate it.

    Remember, the key to growing your practice is not just about winning cases, but also about winning the trust of your potential clients – and that begins with the very first call.

    Casey Meraz Casey Meraz is an entrepreneur, SEO expert, investor, creator, husband, father, friend, and CEO of Juris Digital. Casey is a frequent speaker at industry events and the author of two books on digital marketing, including "Local Marketing for Personal Injury Lawyers" and “How to Perform the Ultimate Local SEO Audit”
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