Live Chat on My Law Firm Website: Is It Right for My Firm?

Live Chat on My Law Firm Website: Is It Right for My Firm?

By Sarah Ryan
February 04, 2022 | 3-minute read
Business of Law Process Improvement Content Type Article
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As consumers, we have come to expect instant gratification in this digital world. Why should buyers of legal services be denied the same? Incorporating a live chat service on your firm’s website provides a real-time engagement opportunity for potential clients.

At Stark & Stark, we have successfully utilized a third-party live chat service for several years to find new customers and help our attorneys focus on performing the high-value, profitable legal work that drives our firm’s growth. A visitor to our website can quickly and easily use messaging software to have a substantive conversation with a real human to determine if our firm is a good fit for their legal needs. This initial interaction kicks off the intake process, helping our lawyers save time and money by identifying quality leads in an efficient manner.

There are several considerations to think about before trying to implement a live chat program, including:

1. Confidentiality: Maintaining client confidentiality is critical when working with live chat service providers. Make sure you understand how client information is collected, stored, owned and managed throughout the vendor engagement. Ask who, if anyone, has access to client information. And you should always have the vendor sign a non-disclosure agreement.

2. Appearances and Client Experience: Live chat functionality is incredibly flexible and can fit seamlessly into a client’s browsing experience if appropriately used. It truly is a matter of placing code in particulate sections of your site — for instance, limiting the live chat functionality to practice pages or the About/Contact page. When selecting a chat service provider, be sure to discuss vendor downtime to avoid any disruption to your live chat experience as well.

Your website is usually the first interaction that a potential client has with your firm and it is essential to keep the browsing experience genuine, safe and helpful.

3. Scope and Strategy: Boundaries and planning are vital to any live chat project. The vendor should have a clear script to follow and a branch of question and answer pairings to help them navigate conversations with your potential clients. For instance, if a website visitor says they were injured, the live chat agent should be directed to ask in what state did the injury occur. Depending on the answer, the live chat agent can then determine if your firm is accepting cases in that jurisdiction. To draft these questions, talk with anyone who interacts with clients (including reception, assistants and attorneys) to determine the top questions your potential clients currently ask in order to replicate that experience in the live chat environment. Make sure to ask your vendor how they handle illegitimate leads, too, as most vendors will only charge you for leads within a specific set of pre-defined parameters.

4. Determing Your Return on Investment: Live chat provides straightforward metrics and statistics on client engagement to help determine your return on investment based on your goals. Documenting how often site visitors engage with the chat feature, what website pages have the highest engagement rate and the types of clients or matters being discussed are all excellent insights into how the live chat platform can impact your business development efforts.

Your website is usually the first interaction that a potential client has with your firm and it is essential to keep the browsing experience genuine, safe and helpful to the client. Ultimately, if you serve individuals and do not use a live chat service, you could be leaving leads on the table.

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Sarah Ryan
Stark & Stark

Sarah Ryan is the director of marketing and business development at Stark & Stark. She is responsible for assisting attorneys in putting their skills and connections into meaningful action that directly creates opportunities for profit and growth. She is focused on one-on-one coaching, combined with all aspects of digital and traditional marketing targets at both businesses and consumers. She also serves on the diversity and inclusion committee at the firm.