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Why Your Lead Response Times Could Be Costing You Money

When “Speak with a Lawyer Today” Doesn’t Happen

Imagine you have made the difficult decision to leave your spouse after many years of marriage. You have so much to consider from the house to your finances, and how to protect your children. As most everyone does nowadays, you go online and type “divorce lawyer near me” into Google. You click on the first result which says, “speak with a lawyer today”.
You fill out their contact form and get to a page saying someone will reach out shortly to discuss your situation. What do you think will happen when you do not receive a call back for 24 – 48 hours? You were under the impression you were going to speak with a lawyer today. You really wanted to get started and resolve everything as quickly as possible, so you can move on to a new chapter. It’s likely you are going to go back online to find someone you can talk to right away or at least within a few hours.
This may come as a surprise, but surveys have shown that 88% of leads expect a business to respond to emails and phone calls within 60 minutes. Yes, you read that correctly. Clients want to hear from you within one hour. 24-hour response times are officially gone, finished, caput. If you take too long to respond to potential clients, you are going to lose business. 

Why Lead Response Time Matters

According to a study by Forbes, 71% of internet leads are lost because the business fails to respond quickly enough. The clock starts ticking as soon as a potential client completes your form or calls your law firm.
With each minute that passes, you are more likely to lose that client to another law firm. A study by Harvard indicates you are seven times more likely to qualify a lead if you contact them within one hour. When you do not contact a potential client within the expected timeframe, they are going to find a law firm that will help them immediately
Think back to our divorce scenario. Would you hire a law firm that advertises they will speak with you same day, but do not contact you until the next day? It’s highly unlikely because a commitment has already been broken. You can’t expect effective communication throughout your case when they can’t call you in the committed timeframe.

How Can You Resolve Slow Response Times?

Your first step should be to look at your process for incoming leads whether it’s phone calls, form fills, or online chats. Don’t have a written process for how to handle incoming leads? We highly recommend not running paid advertising until you have written procedures. If writing processes is new to you, there are companies that can help. Upleveling Your Business has a systems manual package that has an editable procedures manual.
This process should include the expectation for response times. If you don’t set an expectation, you can’t expect your employees to follow it. Once you have your process in place, employees need to be trained and qualified to handle incoming leads.
More law firms are hiring answering services, so calls are answered immediately, which is fabulous for response times. Problems can arise when the first available appointment is a week or two weeks out. Can you imagine the divorce client being told they have to wait weeks to be able to speak with the lawyer they thought they would talk to the same day? It’s imperative your law firm has enough time slots available to speak with potential clients quickly. Remember with each minute that passes, the potential client is less likely to hire you.

What Comes Next

Once you have your process in place and a staff trained to respond to incoming leads, the next part to consider is how to manage those leads. It’s no surprise here, but you also need a written process for how to manage and follow up with incoming leads.
There are many tools that can help you manage incoming leads. An easy and uncomplicated tool that law firms often use is CallRail, which is a tracking and analytics tool for phone calls and web forms.Depending on the size of your law firm, it may be more helpful to have a customer relationship management system (CRM). Some of the more popular CRMs include SalesforceZoho, or Clio. If you are thinking about using a CRM, be sure to do your research to determine which solution is best for your business needs.


The most important thing to remember is time is of the essence. You need to contact incoming leads within one hour, not 24 hours. And you need to have appointments within a day or two of the incoming lead. When someone needs a lawyer, it’s because they need one now, not two weeks from now. Today is the perfect day to get processes established and set the expectation for response times within your law firm.
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