Law firms are bombarded with advice about transitioning from paper to digital. Much of the reasoning sits around cost savings. But have you considered revenue generation opportunities with your move to digital?
Specialist technology solutions for going paperless are launched seemingly every month, while regulatory changes (such as electronic conveyancing) place even more pressure on today’s firms.
Of course, going paperless can provide many benefits.
Firms can expect to:
- save time on data entry;
- remove transcription errors;
- make it easier to re-use data; and
- ultimately provide a better client experience.
But what’s often left out of the ‘benefits of going paperless’ discussion is the lead generation and lead qualification opportunities that digital provides.
One of the key digital assets law firms can implement is a client questionnaire. I see two types of questionnaires and each comes with varying benefits.
1. The existing client questionnaire
As an example, let’s take a family law firm providing divorce services. Those firms that haven’t yet gone digital are likely to be asking their clients to fill in a hard-copy form to provide information on themselves and their spouse.
We know there’s problems with that traditional approach:
- The questionnaire is huge and clients dread filling it all out.
- When it’s completed, the law firm is faced with the issue of how to get it back efficiently. A dozen pages scanned and emailed is painful. Do they drop it in? Or perhaps mail it back. None of those options are a great experience.
- The office admin then must transcribe the completed form, risking potential errors in the process.
2. The prospect questionnaire
This is when a legal client is online researching about their situation and trying to identify which firm is the right fit for them. They’ll find several legal resources online from Legal Aid to individual law firms. Often the information is presented to them is thin content lacking the depth they need. Or sometimes it will be presented in a way that’s hard to follow and it doesn’t provide any real value to them.
A digital questionnaire is a terrific way to improve the user experience.
The potential client goes through the questionnaire and at the end is presented with a summary of their position.
This type of questionnaire presents your law firm with two key opportunities:
a) You separate your firm from the rest
That’s because you’re likely to be one of only a handful of websites that provides them with a positive experience and clarity about their situation. This puts you in a better position than your competitors to secure the client or provide them with a quote. With an online questionnaire, the information a potential client submits can also be saved, so they don’t need to re-submit it if they decide to continue.
b) It qualifies potential clients without you wasting time on a call or an appointment with them if you’re unable to assist them
The questionnaire can also be structured to identify good and bad clients, helping you to qualify them and to refer them elsewhere if necessary.
For example, the call to action the user sees at the completion of the questionnaire can be conditional depending on their answers to specific questions. If they’re not the right fit, you can suggest they seek out Legal Aid or another firm so that they aren’t wasting their time or yours. Or if they are the right fit, you can encourage them to book an appointment with your firm or let them know you’ll have a member of your team contact them.
You can also use different types of prospect questionnaires to generate leads.
For example, if you’re practicing property law, you might want to develop a ‘Do I need a conveyancer or a solicitor?’ questionnaire. There are a ton of articles online addressing this very topic, so it will be difficult to rank another article prominently. But if you use a questionnaire instead, other websites addressing the topic will be likely to link to your questionnaire and this will provide additional traffic and search authority.
For example, many of the articles that cover that topic are from the real estate industry. The questionnaire can therefore become a lead-generating asset from that industry.
Some other questionnaires that could help the researching prospective client include:
- Do I need a lawyer?
- Should I be paying child support?
- Is it worth challenging a Will?
- Should I file for bankruptcy?
How to get questionnaires published on your website
There are third-party software solutions that will help you publish questionnaires on your site. There are many solutions in the market that are easy to use and allow you to embed questionnaires into your website.
However, I encourage you to contact your web developer to build your questionnaires for you. Ultimately, you’ll then have more control over their functionality and styling.