It’s a new year and time to do a little check up on the important processes in your firm. Specifically, it’s time to check up on your intake department or intake processes. Some of you may be thinking my firm is too small to worry about intake…but I would challenge you to think, HOW BIG could your firm be if you were checking up on intake?!
When was the last time you stopped and looked at the processes your firm is following when a new lead comes in? When was the last time you listened to a recorded call to see how your team is handling your valuable leads? Have you initiated any ghost calls to see how your firm is “truly” following through on the processes you think are in place?
You are investing a lot of money, time and energy in creating new business leads for your firm (regardless of your budget) and you should be very protective of this investment. Always think of the marketing dollars and efforts you are expending as an investment and treat them with as much attention as you do your own personal wealth development. One poorly executed process or overly trusted team member could be costing you thousands of dollars per year. Your intake department or intake processes have the ability to make you a lot of money or lose a lot of money for you.
Let’s talk about processes. Consulting with personal injury firms of all sizes across the country, it is always interesting to sit with the owner first, and hear his/her impression of how the intake department functions at their firm. Even more interesting is to sit with the intake and actually follow the process and see how intake really works. Over time, without proper oversight, processes have a tendency to change. These changes usually occur because your team has not been properly educated on the purposes of the process and the overall result you are seeking to achieve or because they have too many things assigned to them and intakes are not the highest priority on their list.
Your processes should be documented. You should have a process for where the potential client’s information will be gathered, how will the client be signed up (by investigator, by mail, by e-sign, office visit, etc.) not to mention processes for what happens after the call. Next you should ensure every person entering your firm is educated on the process and the purpose of the process. Finally, you have to check in on their progress. If you don’t have a dedicated training program for how you want your intakes to be handled you are most likely losing cases and aren’t even aware it is happening.
Now, let’s talk about your most valuable asset: your team members. It is great when you have team members that work hard for you and you can trust them to work all of your cases without fail. However, what I often see when I visit smaller firms is an inclination to believe that your team can handle their entire work load and all of your potential intakes without missing any cases. In my smaller firms what I have often learned is you, as an owner, expect that everyone will take intakes and do a good job on them because “they know what you want”. In reality your team wants to do a really good job for you, but they don’t like or they don’t want their workday to be constantly interrupted to have to focus on the intake processes – which usually leads to another case for them to have to work. This leads to lost leads due to poor follow through or due to a team member who is overworked and isn’t ready for another new case.
Lastly, let’s talk about yearlong management of your intake system. Do you know your want ratio? How about your conversion ratio? Lead lag time? Which method of sign up converts most often? Why cases didn’t convert? These are all very important measurements you should know. If you are curious about intake and how to improve yourprocess be sure to sign up to receive regular e-mail tips from our personal injury firm consultants at www.VISTAct.com. We only do personal injury firms and we can help you and your team lock down all the necessary skills to ensure you aren’t missing any cases.