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Chatbots are one of the most popular tools on today’s small law firm websites, and an increasing number of companies use these virtual helpers. Technically, a chatbot is a software application that is used to host an online conversation, as a substitute for direct contact with a human representative. Chatbots can function as customer service agents, answering typical questions and directing users to specific website content. They can help generate leads, increase conversion rates and direct potential clients to contact a live person from your law firm. Since these automated assistants offer so much, it may be time to think about using a chatbot to support your law firm’s objectives. Here are 5 things to know about chatbots and your law firm’s website.
Law Firm Chatbots Can Narrow Your Niche
Individuals who need legal advice often call law firms asking for services that it does not provide. Handling several of these calls a day can feel like a waste of time, but using a chatbot can help. Lawyers and their law firms can assign FAQs (frequently asked questions) to an online chatbot receptionist, helping visitors get efficient answers. Chatbot assistance means that genuine leads can get connected to your office, others can get help elsewhere, and your team members have more time for meaningful tasks.
Chatbots Can Communicate
A chatbot can translate unfamiliar legal terms and concepts found on your website, and has the ability to extract information from your existing content, pull it up onto the chat window, and direct visitors to a live person if needed. When building your chatbot, its language should be conversational, using simple terms and short sentences. It is also important to match the chatbot’s language style and “personality” with the branding of your business, typical clientele and the services your law firm provides. Whether your chatbot appears slightly formal or uses casual word choices depends on the unique identity of your law firm.
In fact, some law firm chatbots allow YOU to directly record a message and chat with your clients – even in a video! Intaker is an amazing company on the cutting edge of this type of chatbot, and they work directly with law firms.
Law Firm Chatbots Can Direct Potential Clients
Using a chatbot is an ideal way to utilize the content you already have posted on your law firm’s website. An optimized chatbot can scan existing website content and extract relevant snippets for website visitors. A chatbot’s conversation can also inform the lawyer of the questions that a potential client has asked. When the client meets for an in-person consultation, an attorney is already informed of the issues they face.
Chatbots Can Uncover What Clients Want
Chatbots can relay information to your law firm regarding why visitors search your site. Your chatbot’s interactions contain valuable information about your potential clients and their needs. These records can be examined and your website content can be tweaked accordingly, so it reaches and engages the most potential clients possible.
Law Firm Chatbots Can Integrate
Chatbots and your law firm’s website should be scrutinized and updated as you see issues arise. You will want the ability to tailor chatbot scripts to fit your law firm’s needs. Your legal chatbot should be smoothly integrated into your existing customer service system and infrastructure, and the chatbot should consistently offer a way for a potential client to seamlessly contact a live person. This is often done by using a chatbot to let visitors opt to speak with a law firm staff member if their questions were not completely answered. A chatbot should not get in the way of the visitor’s website experience; it should assist, not annoy. Place the chat thread on the side, so the potential client can keep interacting with the rest of the page. Finally, confirm that your chatbot can work effectively with any device a visitor may be using, whether it is a home computer, tablet or mobile phone.
Ethical Standards and Law Firm Chatbots
It’s really important to consider all of the ethical considerations regarding bots on your small law firm’s website.
It’s Just a Bot
Website visitors should understand clearly that the chatbot is not a live person, and this statement should be distinctly visible on the website. However, if your website is using a chat tool that allows visitors to chat with a live person through the site, this fact also should be plainly in view.
Not an Attorney Substitute
An online conversation with a chatbot should never replace stepping into a lawyer’s office, and a chatbot conversation must be programmed to only give factual, straightforward answers. Always keep communication channels open so visitors can speak with a real lawyer regarding their concerns. Besides this, the chatbot must be programmed to be compatible with an attorney’s professional obligations, and should never request confidential information or give programmed legal advice or guidance.
Avoid Rogue Chatbots
There is always the potential for a machine to provide incorrect responses, and companies should implement some type of intelligent censoring mechanism with their chatbot system. A chatbot should be thoroughly tested before coming on board, and your business should be ready to manage any complaints made by website users concerning their chatbot conversations.
Monitor Legal Issues
There are legitimate concerns about how chatbots gather and use the data they collect, and there are issues with monitoring and policing chatbot activity as well. As chatbots become more commonplace, our need to comply with risk factors and legal issues will become more prevalent.
How to Get Started
Professionals can customize your chatbot specifically for the needs of your law firm’s website, and the bot can connect to any of your website’s features, including your calendar and payment services. In addition to using chatbots on your law firm’s website, they can be used on social platforms as well. Determine which online locations would be most utilized for the types of clients you typically serve.
Adding a chatbot to your law firm’s website, or to any of your social media platforms, can boost your law firm’s ability to engage and inform potential clients, but there are some things to keep in mind. If you are considering a chatbot for your law firm, here are a few guidelines.
- Have a goal in mind when adding a chatbot
- Shop around for best provider prices
- Give your chatbot a personality
- Set expectations for your chatbot
- Be transparent about chatbot limitations (cannot give legal advice, etc.)
- Offer consistent ways to get in touch with a live person
- Build your chatbot into your existing system
- Keep updating and editing your chatbot
- Rush the design process
- Begin without setting goals for your chatbot
- Send large chunks of text
- Forget to match the chatbot’s style with the branding and services of your law firm
- Assume conversations will always move perfectly, so give users a way to contact in person
Tips for Ensuring Chatbots for Law Firms Are Ethical
Here are some tips to consider to ensure any legal chatbots you use are ethically sound.
Think About Confidentiality
A key concern for many regarding chatbots for law firms is whether lawyers are hiring legal chatbot providers that are taking reasonable precautions to protect the information within any communications between chatbots for lawyers and their prospective clients. To choose an ethical legal chatbot provider, make sure you think about the provider’s approach to confidentiality. This includes considering how they receive, transmit, store, and delete this sensitive data.
For instance, when a legal chatbot talks to a potential client, it is likely this chat may contain private data that is specific to their circumstances, alongside other sensitive information, including health care or financial information. According to the American Bar Association, it is necessary for lawyers to take reasonable steps to ensure confidential discussions like these are not intercepted by unintended recipients. By carefully considering that your legal chatbot provider secures your data, you can more easily fulfil this requirement.
Complete Due Diligence
Before choosing a chatbot vendor to work with, make sure you carry out thorough due diligence to ensure their chatbots for lawyers are ethical. When doing so, consider the following:
- Whether the chatbot provider has adequate security measures in place to protect confidential discussions between the bot and potential client
- Whether the chatbot provider regularly updates its security protocols to follow industry standards
- Whether the chatbot provider plans to inform you of data breaches if these take place
- Whether the chatbot provider plans to provide just you with any data it obtains from client discussions, or if it plans to share these details with third parties to improve user experiences
- Whether it is possible to easily retrieve all of your data from the chatbot provider if you decide to terminate your relationship with them, or if they become defunct
- How the legal chatbot provider stores the conversations between clients and the bot, and how long they store this data for
Consider Chatbot Supervision
While it is highly unlikely that you have had a role in creating the legal chatbot, it is important that you have implemented measures so that the chatbot’s conduct is similar to that of a lawyer. To do this, you may want to see if your legal chatbot provider can allow you to adequately supervise your chatbot’s conversations and adjust the chatbot’s scripts or pre-programmed responses if necessary.
Prioritize Client Needs
When building your own law firm chatbot, or seeking a legal chatbot provider, consider the needs of your clients. Try to use a chatbot that provides more value to your clients by allowing it to perform some basic automated business functions, in addition to answering simple queries. Moreover, ensure that prospective clients using your legal chatbot can leave feedback regarding the bot. This allows you to ensure it behaves ethically by identifying problems with the chatbot. Additionally, it enables you to improve the overall customer experience for prospective clients who visit your law firm’s website.
Think About How a Chatbot Can Help Your Law Firm’s Website
When thinking about chatbots and your law firm’s website, be aware that seven out of ten consumers say they prefer getting an instant answer from an automated assistant, rather than waiting for a live person. Chatbots offer various benefits, such as efficiently answering FAQs, simplifying legal terms and concepts, freeing up team members, and providing you with information about what website visitors are seeking. Chatbots can also schedule appointments, direct clients to payment and refer potential clients to existing content on your website. However, chatbots may need to be regularly updated and monitored, and ethical standards need to be considered as well. With all this in mind, adding a chatbot to your team is a decision that any modern law firm should examine.
How Law Quill Can Help
We are here to help and would welcome the opportunity to visit with you for free regarding your law firm website’s content, and how we can take these tasks off your plate! Schedule a free visit with us by scheduling a quick phone or zoom call at your convenience on our calendar today. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.