Why Customer Service Reps Don’t Make Good Intake Specialists
By Mike Brooks, http://intakemastery.com/
Learn why customer service reps can hurt your intake rates and instead use specialist sales professionals to improve your client legal aid intake process and department at your law firm.
Most of the attorneys I work with run ads for intake specialists who have a background in either call centers or in a customer service environment. They think that someone who knows how to help people—or deal with problems—would be the perfect candidate for handling their intake calls.
Think about it: What happens when you call customer service for your Internet, cable TV, or cell phone? My experience is that when someone finally answers, they typically sound bored, aren’t very engaging, certainly aren’t smiling, and they don’t mind putting me on hold for long periods of time. When they finally get back on the phone, they are still bored, are quick to pass me off to another department, and I often end the call feeling they don’t really care if I get the help I need or not.
The reason they are like this is because they know I don’t have any options in whether I deal with them or not. They know we have to wait on hold and that we can’t hang up and change providers. We’re stuck with them and they know it. It’s not like you can suddenly call Spectrum if you have AT&T.
Ultimately, there is no urgency to help you or resolve your issue. They are just doing a job for minimum wage, and they are not invested in helping you or helping their company be the best it can.
While these reps can get away with this in their call centers, this is NOT the case with law firms. You know as well as I do that callers have too many choices when it comes to who they pick to represent them. If they get treated like this (and many of them do—if you don’t believe me, just call into your competition, or into your own intake team), your callers will quickly get off the phone and just call the next billboard they see or listing on Google. If your intake team doesn’t know how to build real rapport, invest the caller in the intake, and close the lead—convert that call into a paid case—then you’re simply rolling the dice.
So, what’s the answer?
The solution I immediately implement with the firms I work with is to run ads for people with a background in inside sales. Sales reps have a completely different attitude, and they know how to work with urgency to qualify and close sales. This is the skill set that makes a huge difference in the more successful firms.
The reason is that sales reps understand the sales environment and are used to the structure and best practice approaches that lead to higher performance and achievement of goals. Sales reps are the perfect fit for legal intake, and they respond well to:
* Metrics and being measured against expectations for performance.
* Training and being held accountable to using a best practice, scripted approach.
* Recording their calls and review of their performance.
* They are money motivated and will perform well with the right compensation plan.
* They are competitive and come with high expectations.
In addition, inside sales reps are closers at heart. They are driven to convert leads into sales, and they are the kind of professionals you want handling the leads you pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for every month.
Think about it: What does it cost you to generate a phone call for a potential case? $400 each? $500? A lot more?
Every time your phone rings, that’s a $500 bill calling—and even thousands of dollars in fees if you convert the case. Do you really want your untrained receptionist answering that? Do you want your untrained and overworked case manager taking that call? Do you want your customer service rep (who is not trained in sales) taking that call?
No. You want a highly trained, inside sales person taking that call who is trying to make a quota and convert a sale. THAT’S who will convert more of the $500 bills into thousands and thousands of dollars in cases per month.
And don’t get me started on your supervisors and managers… I’ll address that in another article….
Bottom line: It’s easier than you think to upgrade your intake department and explode your conversion rates. It just won’t happen if you don’t upgrade or train your existing team in the best practice inside sales approaches they need to be successful.
Stop expecting customer services reps to do what trained inside sales reps need to be doing for you. Hiring and training successful inside sales teams is what we’ve done for over 30 years, and it’s the best investment you’ll ever make in the profitability of your firm.
If you like to know more about this, then reach out to us.
Mike works with some of the largest Personal Injury and Tort law firms in the country. His company has received both the 2017 & 2018 “Top Service Provider of the Year” award by the American Association of Inside Sales Professionals. Mike’s 30-year background in sales and sales methodology allows him to offer his clients the kind of proven corporate training and results they can’t get with traditional intake training models.
By combining proven, best practices from the inside sales environment, Mike has been able to increase conversion rates in excess of 40% and more. Have a conversation with Mike today and find out how he can help your intake department convert more calls into fees. You can reach him by phone: (919) 267-4202, or by email: Mike@intakemastery.com