There is a bit of a disconnect right now between what businesses think their clients want in terms of customer service and what their clients actually want, expect, and prefer.
A recent Kayako Live Chat study demonstrated this point quite clearly:
The most popular type of customer service among consumers is live chat. While there are still some who primarily use the telephone, that trend is going away more and more with each passing year. LiveChat’s customer service report found that the demand for live chat services increased by 8.29% between 2016 and 2017.
This is a problem, however, since businesses aren’t yet up to speed with this reality:
Because they still believe that telephone support is the primary method of providing customer service, many are missing out on a huge opportunity to connect with customers and prospects alike.
Law firms and lawyers, in particular, would do well to install a live chat module and service on their websites. When your business model depends on your ability to communicate with clients and earn their trust in real time, live chat gives you the chance to do this while they’re already thinking about you.
7 Reasons Your Law Firm Website Needs Live Chat
Businesses of all sizes and types would benefit from adding a live chat service to their websites. Here are seven reasons why your law firm needs it:
1. Customer Satisfaction
The LiveChat Customer Service Benchmark report shares statistics on real-time usage of its software. As of January 2018, 83% of customers that engaged with LiveChat software were happy with the experience.
Contrast that with customers who engaged with B2C professional services companies (we’re going to lump legal services in since there is no unique category for it), and you’ll see that satisfaction rate jump up to 85%.
Granted, the quality of customer service ultimately comes down to the people offering the assistance behind the live chat software. However, it appears that the majority of users are quite content with this method of service.
2. Real-time Engagements
Customers want instantaneous support and answers to their questions. Phone calls require them to wait on hold. Emails require them to wait for a response. And social media can sometimes be a crapshoot.
Live chat, however, promises a real-time experience that connects prospective clients (or even current ones) with a real person. As you can see in the benchmark report above, it usually only takes about 49 seconds for a live chat representative to make first contact with a customer, so it happens really quickly, too.
3. Improved Relationships
Live chat puts your law firm in touch with prospective clients in real time. And by providing expert advice, immediate answers to their questions, and streamlining the process of scheduling in-person consultations, you’re improving the experience they have with your firm, all from within your website.
Your business’s success depends on your ability to aptly handle sensitive manners. That’s why a platform like social media (which puts it all out there for the public to see) or email (which can make responses feel canned and impersonal) doesn’t always work so well.
While a phone call could accomplish the same thing as live chat, why force anyone off of your website if you have the means to keep them put? You’ve spent a lot of time crafting a message that informs them about everything you do. If they have questions about it or want to discuss next steps, it should take place on that same website.
5. Time Savings
According to the benchmark report above, businesses, on average, field 66 chats a day. With live chat software, though, you’re not restricted by how many conversations take place at once as you are with phone or email. You can handle concurrent conversations on live chat and cut down on the total amount of time spent talking to prospects.
If you’re short on time or want to make the most of your live chat service, you may opt to outsource live chat to another team member or a legal live chat service. Or you can automate with bots and save your firm even more time in handling incoming inquiries. As Szymon Klimczack, the CMO of LiveChat, told Small Business Trends:
“Currently, [bots] are completely ready to handle the most common and repeated inquiries which don’t require any human reaction. Thanks to them, companies can run complex, 24/7 support (even with limited resources) and improve customers’ satisfaction and loyalty.”
Using live chat software gives your law firm more insights into your client base:
- What are the most common questions they ask?
- What are their biggest concerns in signing on for legal assistance?
- How much time do you spend talking to a prospect before converting them to a client?
By studying the trends, you can be better prepared to anticipate their questions and address their concerns. It will also save you time in handling the initial intake as you would have already gotten many of those questions out of the way.
Law Firm Live Chat: It’s a Must
Any time you introduce something new to your workflow—especially if it directly touches your client base—be careful. There are a lot of ways in which live chat software could turn the experience with your firm really sour, very quickly.
- A slow response (or a complete lack of one),
- Poor customer service etiquette of a lawyer or chat agent,
- Intrusive software pestering clients while they’re trying to read content on the site.
A negative experience with live chat is just as bad, if not worse, than a bad one with one of your lawyers. Except, this time, you won’t necessarily be able to defend yourself to try to recover the relationship.
So, just make sure you do what is promised. Have someone monitor live chat during the published hours of availability. Have a legal expert on hand to answer their questions. Try to resolve all questions and issues quickly and on the first engagement. And be consistent in your responses.