If you know me, you know how much I love to talk about financials. I am a CPA, after all, and it’s my job to love those numbers. But there’s another number in the Clio Legal Trends Survey that could have a HUGE impact on your revenue and profitability. It could boost your revenue by 27% or even more!
Hello? Anyone there?
The researchers at Clio picked up the phone and called firms all over the country. They wanted to find out how firms were handling incoming calls from potential clients. I have to say, the results shocked me!
First, 39 percent of calls went to voicemail. Of course, we all know that firms are busy and a lot of calls will go to voicemail. The trouble starts when it’s time to reply to those voicemails.
A full 57 percent of those voicemails weren’t returned for 72 hours or more! Just imagine how many prospects are lost to other firms if you fail to respond for 72 hours. A huge percentage will have found someone else by then, especially if you do defense work.
Even more surprising than the slow call backs were those firms that didn’t call back at all. Clio found that 27 percent of their calls weren’t returned at all! That’s a 27 percent decrease in possible revenue right off the top. As Wayne Gretzky once said, you miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take. Those missed call backs could have been the best, most profitable clients. There’s just no way to know if you don’t return the call.
Improving your systems and reclaiming your revenue
Although phone call statistics aren’t technically financial numbers, they can be tracked and improved in the same way. I highly recommend doing a little research of your own on your firm’s call back performance. Check into your records and your voicemail messages and see how quickly they’re being answered. What’s your average delay for a call back? Are you leaving some of your prospects hanging with no call back at all?
One of the biggest challenges is one we’ve talked about before. If you or the attorneys in your firm are spending your time on administrative tasks, it’s taking away from your billable time. Not only that, it’s also causing your administrative tasks to be done poorly. I imagine that many of these calls were missed or delayed because the attorney was juggling the phones while also working on legal matters.
If you’re spending excessive time doing work that isn’t billable, it’s time to delegate, outsource, and prioritize your time so you’re billing more of your time. If you think you don’t have enough clients to fill your days with billable hours, think again. Get that call back time down and follow up on every prospect and you’ll find yourself with a lot more billable work.
Regardless of who handles the phones, you need to track your performance. Start keeping track of calls and how quickly you respond. This is a great way to maximize new prospects in the door and keep your current clients happy. Work on getting those times down, keep your team and yourself accountable, and celebrate small victories every time you make progress.