#019 – Live Chat On Your Law Firm’s Website
Our fast-paced, instant digital world has morphed most of us into demanding consumers who cannot wait. If a website visitor reaches out and does not get an immediate response from your law firm, you could lose them to a competitor. To prevent this, law firms have been turning to live chat, which can attract website users and confirm that someone is available 24/7. Live chat has pros and cons, but law firms should seriously consider live chat on their website to gain more clients.
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Hello. Welcome back to The Legal Marketing Lounge. I’m excited for today, because we are going to be talking about something that I get asked about a lot, which is Live Chat on law firm websites. So if you have been considering putting Live Chat on your law firm’s website, you are in the right place.
I would just ask that if you’re listening on iTunes, that you click that subscribe button, and here we go.
Our fast paced, instant digital world has morphed into what most of us would consider demanding consumers. We can’t wait. We’ve got to have instant answers, right now, yesterday. If a website visitor reaches out and doesn’t get an immediate response from your law firm, you could lose them to a competitor. It’s serious stuff. It may be the difference of landing an incredible client and losing them. So to prevent this, some law firms have been turning to Live chat on their law firm’s website, which can attract website users and confirm that someone is available 24/7, to visit with them. Live Chat has its pros and cons. But if you are a law firm, you should consider Live Chat on your website, to potentially gain more clients. Let’s talk about it.
What is Live Chat? You’ve probably seen Live Chat as a tool that pops up during your visit to a website that says, “How can I help?” Or asks some similar type of questions. And Live Chat makes it easy for an interested visitor on your law firm’s website, to get in touch with someone that is representing your law firm, immediately, without having to rummage around the website looking for a contact form, or an email address or a phone number.
A Live Chat service is staffed by an outside vendor that you pay and it can help your law firm answer a visitor’s questions and engage them as potential clients. You can’t offer any legal advice on the Live Chat. The people that are on this other end of a Live Chat aren’t part of your law firm. They are an outside vendor. They cannot offer any legal advice, but they can answer generalized questions and engage potential clients. This usually works through the use of a help desk or support agents and lines of preprogrammed code. So on the front-end, a potential client is just seeing a speedy response to their common questions with, hopefully, some empathetic support.
So why would you consider using Live Chat as a law firm? Live Chat is a way to employ one or more channels for potential clients to contact your law firm. Live Chat does it instantaneously. People increasingly prefer messaging through Live Chat, rather than making a phone call. That is the truth. We are all used to and programmed to deal with messages, messenger text messages, Facebook Messenger and much more, so this is not a foreign form of communication for your potential clients. If they are really not sure what their legal issue is or whether or not, they want to contact you, this may be more comfortable for them than making a phone call. Live Chat also offers a convenient connection to your website visitors, so that they are not tempted to go look at a different competitor’s website, because they are already talking to a representative from your website.
Using Live Chat can be beneficial for several reasons.
It can offer real time support. It can’t offer legal advice, but there is a Live person, who can give a more complex answer than a bot would and give more interaction, as a real life human to another human.
The second way is increased conversions. Statistics show that websites that use the Live Chat option, typically garner more email addresses, there is more scheduling of phone calls, and they are engaging more potential leads. Each Live Chat app has various tools to measure conversion rates. You’ll be able to know whether or not your Live Chat is working to get you clients.
The third way that Live Chat can be beneficial for your law firm is increased client satisfaction. Individuals say that when they use Live Chat, they give higher customer satisfaction rankings, overall.
The fourth way is instant service. Many clients prefer Live Chat over traditional contact methods, because they are getting an immediate response from someone, even though they know it’s not a lawyer. Even though they are not getting a direct answer to their legal question, they are getting an immediate response.
The last is that there is out of office engagement. Live Chat automation means that you can reduce the amount of staff that you need to answer your phone calls. Also because the internet is open 24/7, visitors to your website can contact your law firm outside of office hours. You can follow up later. You can decide with these Live Chats how long you will have someone actually available to visit with someone.
Well, there are disadvantages to Live Chat as well. Here are some of the common complaints regarding Live Chat on law firm websites,
Some users find Live Chat helpful. We absolutely know that from a lot of the statistics and research that has been done, but some visitors find it annoying. Reports say that millennials are 20% more likely to use a Live Chat than a baby boomer. Millennials are 75% more likely to use messaging than make a phone call. You really need to know who your demographic is that is contacting you and using your legal services. This is going to help you make a decision whether or not Live Chat is really right for you. Different Live Chat solutions vary.
Next is uncertain user value. Most Live Chat applications for law firms, hire people who really have no idea about anything to do with law. They are just someone that this third party Live Chat company hired and they really don’t know anything about the law at all. While you should not be giving legal advice, you do want to be providing value and information to the potential clients that are trying to contact you on your law firm website. When a potential client starts a Live Chat, they are not going to get any specific answers regarding their legal situation. Although, Live Chat mimics a personal interaction, the only answers provided are going to be the general information that has been given in advance by a law firm. To avoid that, some Live Chat applications do employ legally trained chat agents, but you really need to do your research to determine whether or not that is something that you even want on your website.
The other complaint is invasive user experience. We all know this, right? We get it. You are
on a website, and then all of a sudden you get bombarded and attacked visually, with all these things that pop up and you get a bot and you get a Live Chat and you get another pop up and then you get to all of the things, right? Many Live Chat providers promote a pop-up Live Chat image, and frankly, that can be annoying to some people. I will say, however, that pop-ups, while they are annoying, there is a reason why a lot of websites have them. They work. People actually interact with those pop-ups. Just because you think it’s annoying, doesn’t mean that it is not a successful tool that you can use, to engage and develop relationships with potential clients. On the other hand, that said pop-up can be so off-putting to some visitors, that they might just exit your site altogether. That’s something that you need to think about when you are making the decision, whether or not to include Live Chat on your law firm’s website.
The next complaint or disadvantage of Live Chat is that the older generation is less likely to use Live Chat. The demographic information that I gave earlier is true. Younger visitors prefer alternative contact methods, such as Live Chat, bots, and things like that. If you employ Live Chat on your website, there should be a really easy way to dismiss the Live Chat option, to allow people to continue to gain information on your website without that feature, if they find it bothersome.
Let’s talk about the difference between Live Chat and Chat Bots. Live Chat is a technology that engages potential clients and answers their questions, immediately, from a live person. Some law firms are using Chat Bots. That is a computer program that interacts with visitors via a chat interface, but there’s no real person behind that bot. Both Live Chat and Chat Bots can be useful for your law firm’s website. It depends on your preference, on your needs, and on the demographic of the people that are visiting your law firm’s website.
Now what are the true differences between both of them? With Live Chat the interaction is carried out by a real human. When a visitor asks questions that delve into, slightly more complicated matters, a Live Chat session can deliver better results. Even if they can’t answer the person’s question through the Live Chat, at least there is a conversation that is continuing on. This is where it really pays to understand your audience and the questions that they ask. To be honest, a Live Chat might be overkill for an audience that typically has questions that are simplistic, common, and repetitive ones, that you expect that can have an easy answer. A Live Chat can’t always immediately access consumer information, which means that it can slow down personalized service, but it certainly can answer more complicated questions than a bot could. If you have an audience that is simply asking very routine questions, that can be answered very simply as an introductory conversation, maybe Live Chat is not for you. A Live Chat agent can actually interpret questions to a real person and they can even understand if someone types in a question that has misspellings or is improperly phrased. A Live Chat agent will be able to take that information and still have a conversation with that person.
A Chat Bot is different. A Chat Bot is just a machine that interprets questions or comments in a preprogrammed way. Chat Bots can instantly pair personal data with consumer questions and deliver a “personalized” response. A Chat Bot can handle many discussions at once, because it is just a robot. However, Chat Bots can only answer questions that they understand. If someone puts in a misspelling of a word or an improperly phrased word that a Chat Bot does not understand, that user or visitor may not get the answer that they need or an answer at all. They may not get anything from the Chat Bot. Chat Bot interactions are appropriate for visitors to law firms that have simple repetitive and commonly asked questions. This is going to be a judgment call, whether or not you feel one or the other, or both are good for your law firm.
I will just take a side note here and ask you to exercise a little bit of caution, because as I said earlier on, people get emotionally exhausted looking at websites that have an invasive and aggressive approach to them, or that have pop-ups and chats and bots and everything on them. My suggestion is to choose one or the other. Choose to either have a Chat Bot or a Live Chat feature on your law firm’s website. There are several Live Chat apps that exist for law firms, because Live Chat for law firms are becoming more of a necessity. It is certainly becoming more of a choice. It is very common, as potential clients kind of expect businesses to be available 24/7 to them. Live Chat is a personal touch on your law firm’s website. It really can make an instant impact and help you gain leads.
There are many Live Chat apps that cooperate well with the needs of small and solo law firms. In fact, some of them are created especially for law firms and lawyers. These are just a few of the Live Chat apps and I will link them all in the show notes. I think it is really important to say that you should do your own research to decide which Live Chat option works the best for your law firm. Here’s a few, just to get you started.
One is called ApexChat. It has law firm specific features. You only pay for results. You pay per lead. The agents actually have legal experience and it is easy to install. There is a 14-day free demo at the recording of this podcast. They actually have options in both English and Spanish. That’s really fantastic.
The next one is called Client Chat Live. This was created by lawyers for lawyers. It has a 14-day free demo. It is also in English and Spanish. They have flat price quotes. Chat transcripts are provided along with monthly reports. That is a unique feature as well.
The next one is Cugic. I’m not gonna say the name because I am probably gonna say it wrong. It is made also specifically for law firms. It has a free trial as well. It is pretty easy to install and use. The cool thing about it, is it has 42 languages. If you have a demographic that speaks not just Spanish, but you cater to a different demographic, speaking another language, this one might be for you.
There is another live chat called Legal Chat 24/7. It is 100% law firm specific. There is a free trial. It is pretty simple to get started and the operators there are trained in legal language. This one is also in English and Spanish.
The next one is LiveChat. This one is not law firm specific, but I’m mentioning it because it is used by over 26,000 businesses, in 150 countries. It is a pretty well established Live Chat. There are a variety of tools that it has. It also has 45 different languages and a free trial.
The next one is called Ruby. 42% of its users are attorneys. It has a free demo. It has a 100% 1-minute or less response rate. This is great, because it means that within less than a minute, someone will respond to your potential client, asking a question on your website, which helps make sure that they don’t leave your website to go to a competitor. Ruby is also in English and Spanish.
The next one is called Source. It is not specific to law firms but it’s very popular, with a wide variety of businesses. I’m throwing this one in here because it has 90 languages and it also has a very easy setup.
The last one that I’ll mention is Zendesk Chat. It is not law firm specific, but it is one of the most established chat providers. It also has a free trial and annual pricing plans. It has multilingual support.
I will place a link to all of these in the show notes that are on my website. You can find that by going to lawquill.com/podcast and you can find all of the show notes there.
We know that the internet never sleeps. People expect your law firm’s website to be consistently available, even if that is sort of an unfair standard to reach. Live Chat can make this possible, while being pretty inexpensive. Live Chat for law firms allows lawyers to answer questions from website visitors with a human touch. As I just indicated, a lot of the Live Chat companies that are out there are actually catered to law firms, specifically. I’ll say this, I guarantee you that some of your competitors are using either a bot or Live Chat. You will do yourself a disservice if you don’t even consider this for your law firm’s website. Adding Live Chat to your messaging options can offer your visitors really helpful information and bring profitable leads and generate new business for your law firm.
I hope that this episode of Legal Marketing Lounge helped give you a little bit of understanding and clarity regarding Live Chat, how it can work on your law firm’s website, how it can benefit you to keep visitors on your website, give them answers to their questions, and turn those potential leads into actual clients. That’s the point of all of this. It is to get more clients. While there are pros and cons to Live Chat, I do really feel like law firms should consider this, very seriously on their website, to attempt to gain more clients.
I hope that you’ve enjoyed this episode. If you have, please subscribe and leave me a review if you are listening on iTunes. I’d love to connect with you. If you’d like to find me on LinkedIn, I’m Annette Choti there and I’d love to hear if you use Live Chat on your law firm website and your experience with it. So find me there or just email me firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next time, thank you for joining me in The Legal Marketing Lounge.