As we move into week two of pretty much full lockdown, it is interesting to see traffic trends as they relate to the traditional retail law firm landscape. At Moore Legal Technology, we work with law firms all over the UK and beyond to help them make the most of the Internet and its capacity to generate work.
The question we are asking ourselves is:
How is the Coronavirus situation going to impact our law firm customers in terms of their online business generation and what changes should we implement for them?
Apart from a handful of exceptions across a portfolio of nearly 100 sites traffic is down by close to 30% over the previous week, despite the fact that Internet traffic in general is up. We aren’t reading too much into this right now because last week was probably the biggest shift in our working lives many of us can remember. For some it brought their entire working lives into doubt, for others it meant a full doubling down as a surge in demand appeared.
We went from working in the office as part of team to working on our own, at home, with members of our family, including those of school age, doing the same. Our priorities, focus and Internet usage changed and adapted as we all did our best to work ‘as normally as we could do’. For some the launch of Disney+ was the biggest news of the week, whilst for others using Zoom, or Microsoft teams for the first time, represented a leap into the unknown.
I think it would be fair to say that last week was about us ‘adapting’ and ‘getting things working’.
The customers of ours who fared best last week were those who released campaign type content. They marketed. They assessed events as they were happening, provided quick and easily digestible guidance on the Government’s employment measures and attempted to provide useful guidance to their client base, both real and prospects. This all helps to bring them to the front of mind.
Depressingly, but unsurprisingly, firms offering assistance with Employment Law experienced an upsurge in enquiries from both employees and employers. Commercial contracts also saw an area of increased activity as businesses wonder how they can avoid a contractual obligation which looked like a good deal a couple of weeks ago. Property queries tanked, unsurprisingly.
In our opinion, family law will probably be an area that remains relatively consistent until lockdown ends, then we will see a significant upsurge as the strain for many of spending numerous weeks together becomes too much. There have been reports from China that, following the lockdown there, some districts are experiencing record numbers of divorce requests.
In terms of overall traffic trends, we believe it is too early to draw any conclusions. Last week was so strange it has to be seen as an outlier. We do expect the picture to become clearer over the coming weeks.
So what are we doing for our customers and what do we suggest you do too?
1) Implement changes to all of your online marketing materials
Make sure that your website, your ad copy, your business pages and anything else reference Covid-19, your changes in working practice and that you are here, ready to help - whatever form that might take. Otherwise your online materials will look really out of date. There is just no way that the events of the past couple of weeks shouldn’t be front and centre.
Make it clear that you can be contacted in a number of different ways, will use different types of technology for consultations and also indicate quick response times. Make life easy.
2) Change the way you set up appointments/communicate with existing/prospective clients
Traditional appointment setting is not going to cut it, at all. Be flexible and use the technology available. Zoom, the video conferencing solution, automatically integrates with google calendars, outlook and exchange allowing you to send meeting invites, with links and joining instructions. People want things done quickly even more so where the purchase, or potential purchase is a distress purchase. There are loads of options there for scheduling meetings, arranging multi person consultations and sharing notes. Please embrace this as this will help you now, and in the future. (You can read more about our recommended online tools for lawyers here).
3) Maximise Enquiries
Effective client intake processes and procedures are more critical then ever. Respond quickly and get the right message, to the right person as soon as you can. Maintain a database of new enquiries with associated statuses and follow ups (we have software you can use for that). Don’t ignore an enquiry because it is the weekend, thinking I’ll get to that on Monday. Appointment setting of a quick 30 minute video call could be critical.
Although the majority of our portfolio of sites suffered a drop in traffic last week, the actual goal completion (people making enquiries) suffered less of a drop overall. Enquiries are still going to come through, maybe more so in particular areas, so make sure you are well placed to handle them. This is the biggest area of leakage for the majority of our law firm customers.
4) Make it easy to get paid
Setting up systems to get paid online and over the phone has never been easier. Make this a priority. Speak to your bank and also look into getting accounts set up with Stripe and Paypal if you haven’t already.
5) Communicate with your existing client base
Make it clear to your clients that you are there for them. Craft a concise email update explaining this to your clients and outline a range of options in terms of how they can contact you. We have been suggesting to our customers that they offer their clients a free half hour video consultation if they have any issues, or concerns they would like to discuss.
Our online business generation services were born during the last recession. Law firms had to look beyond the traditional referral into an online future and by and large the smaller firms have been much better at this than the larger firms. The last recession forced them to rethink their practices and those that did early and wholeheartedly have prospered as a result. In our view this is the same – now is the time to embrace change and embrace the technology that is out there to give your business every chance of coming out the other end fighting fit and raring to go.
New podcast episode
If you'd like to listen to a discussion of the points above, you can listen to this new podcast recording: 'Online strategy for law firms in a time of crisis' in collaboration with Hey Legal.
Get in touch
Our priority at this time is to help you communicate with your clients as effectively as possible. If you are uncertain as to what tools, software or applications your law firm might use to allow you to conduct business as normal, but in a non-face-to-face way, we are always here to help.
Now, more than ever, it is crucial to leverage technology not only to adapt, but to prosper. That is why we have introduced a support toolkit - ‘Your Law Firm Success™ 2020 Toolkit’ - to deliver business continuity and growth in these challenging times. For more information, get in touch with Chris Davidson today on email@example.com and see how we can help you.