It’s important that you hold your intake team accountable to your high standards and processes. Every call is a representation of your firm. Your intake team should be clear on your expectations and what you are looking to hold them accountable to, which is a mix of both key metrics as well as call handling protocol.
You need to listen to your calls. Doing so can be a draining experience. Callers may be emotional, inarticulate, misinformed, overwhelmed, and unsure of their options. It’s not an easy job.
Make sure your expectations are realistic for your team. Include time to decompress between calls. This ensures they are emotionally available for the next caller. Mandatory breaks, rotations, alternative tasks, etc. should be woven into your scheduling. You do not want a poor call handler taking calls.
Holding your team accountable means making time to evaluate calls. If you can’t do it yourself, hire someone who can. With the proper criteria, an affordable virtual assistant can listen to calls daily. They can rate each call as either poor, acceptable, or exceptional. This allows you to hone in on those that present training opportunities. A daily report to your team shows your investment in their work. It also provides data for ongoing progress reports, promotions, and incentives.
Incentives are effective. Learn what motivates your team. Compensation can come in a variety of forms. Take the time to get to know your team so you know what motivates them. For some, time is more valuable than money while others need affirmation. A simple online personality test can help you identify what makes your team tick. That knowledge can have positive effects on your firm at large. A little information goes a long way.
Back in my teaching days the term meta-cognition was a real buzzword. Meta-cognition means “thinking about your thinking.” The theory was that if we talk about what we are about to learn, learn, and think about our learning, we develop a deeper understanding of the material.
This same concept can be applied in the intake department. A brief team meeting EVERY DAY can focus efforts on the task at hand:
- What are we here for?
- What are we about to step into this morning?
- How can we achieve more?
- Who are we serving?
And while the average intake lasts about 30 – 45 minutes (according to Scott Blackburn at Legal Conversion Center), the moments after the call are hugely important to the continuous improvement of intake.
- What made that call a success?
- What could have been done better?
- How would I do it differently?
- Where was a missed opportunity?
- What actions did I take that I will use on the next call?
While it may be too time-consuming to complete this exercise following every call, I strongly recommend that every call handler complete this opportunity at least twice per week – once on a call they are particularly pleased with, and once on a call they believe could have gone better.
Measure your progress. Know the data points that affect your intake and track them relentlessly. This goes for calories, pennies, and firm metrics. If you want to improve, you must drill into the details.
Last summer, I marveled at the number of Olympic records broken. In fact, I was so befuddled by the sheer number of crushed records that I did a little research. As I had suspected, the number of records broken in 2021 (this was actually the 2020 summer games postponed on account of Covid-19) far surpassed those broken in my 80s era youth.
Olympic athletes have tapped into their data, tweaking minuscule components of their fitness, nutrition, sleep, and even their attire, to test the impact on their performance. Athletes have become data-driven. As a result, they are crushing records at unprecedented rates.
Your firm can break records too.
There’s a saying that goes, what’s measured is managed. When we measure, track and report data, we learn what’s working, who’s working, when it’s working and what works! It’s one more point of accountability driving your firm to be that record-breaking law firm.
Here at KerriJames, the value of marketing and intake data is the cornerstone of our consulting practice. Countless discovery calls have shown us the reality that very few firms actually know their numbers. That doesn’t stop attorneys from wanting to throw more money into the market with the hope of signing more cases, however. We routinely caution firms not to spend another dime until such time that their intake is optimized.