For most firms a written script for the intake person (usually either your receptionist or a legal assistant) can make a very big difference in the results you get.
Incidentally, if you are still personally taking calls from prospective clients, stop immediately. You want a consultation scheduled (preferably a paid consultation) and the prospective client in your office before you spend any time communicating with them about their case. Taking their call screams out to the client that you are desperate for business. The impression you want to create is that you have your choice of clients and they will be lucky if you are willing to take their case.
If this is new for you and you are not sure, just try it my way for a while and track your results. You will find that you get a lot more retained cases almost immediately. You want to be seen as the wizard and you do not want to appear as readily available as some of the other attorneys they will have called. Having to make an appointment and pay a consultation fee will make the client understand that your time and advice is valuable and it will help give you an aura of importance, making you seem scarce and desirable. Try it and you will see what I mean.
Anyway, back to using scripts for intake. The script gives your staff person a basic framework to use when a prospective client calls the office. You don’t want to require slavish adherence to the script, but you also don’t want your employee freelancing their way through every call.
I suggest drafting the intake script document with three parts: 1) an actual transcript of a hypothetical new client call, 2) a bullet list of points that must be addressed on every new call (a lot of which should already be covered on the intake form that gets filled out for a new consultation), and 3) a frequently asked questions list which covers the more common questions a caller may ask and a response to each.
Even if you currently have a staff member who handles all of the new intake calls to your satisfaction without any documentation, you should create this script. First, if that person quits or goes on vacation you can use the script to very quickly get a new or temporary employee up to speed on one of the most important tasks in the office – booking new client consultations. Second, even though you may be currently satisfied with the way the job is getting done that probably has more to do with you being unaware of what is happening than the job being done exactly as you want.
If you don’t believe this then just try listening in on five or six new client calls and see if you don’t find a whole lot of issues with the way they are currently being handled. Remember, you spend a lot of effort and money getting those new clients to call. You want this part of the process to quickly screen out the ones who are not legitimate new client prospects and to seamlessly drop the good prospects onto your calendar as initial consultations who are pre-sold on the idea that you are the solution to their problem. Fixing any glitches that currently exist in this part of the system will help you get the best clients possible and maximize your firm’s revenue in the process.