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TOP 7 MISTAKES LAW FIRMS MAKE DURING INTAKE #4: FIRMS DON’T TEACH THEIR INTAKE TEAM THE NUMBERS

August 25, 2017
TOP 7 MISTAKES LAW FIRMS MAKE DURING INTAKE #4: FIRMS DON’T TEACH THEIR INTAKE TEAM THE NUMBERS - blog post image

Everyone needs to know how to keep score. I have yet to come across a team that doesn’t enjoy knowing the score. People engage at a higher level when they understand how to score points and have control over winning or losing. It is the same for your intake team. Whether it is one person, or ten people, they need to have an easy way to “check the scoreboard” and know how they are doing.

Know your “want ratios.” The first set of numbers that your intake team should know are the want ratios for each case type that the firm handles. What does this mean? If a firm receives 100 automobile accident calls, there is a certain average number that they will “want” to sign up. It may be 30 out of every 100 calls. That means that the firm’s average want ratio for automobile calls is 30%. If this want ratio drops to 20%, it should catch the attention of your intake team and lead to some sort of audit. However, to spot this, your team must be educated on what is your average want ratio per case type. They vary from case type to case type and jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Want ratios for premise liability claims are typically much lower, in the 5% to 10% range. Medical malpractice want ratios are typically below 5%. Firms in threshold states or no fault states may have lower want ratios. Whatever your criteria is, your want ratios should be consistent by case type unless you change your criteria. Therefore, know them, and educate your intake team on them.

Know your conversion ratios. If you “want” to sign a case up, you need to know how successful you are at that process. Your conversion ratio = cases you signed up/cases you wanted to sign up. Firms that say they “get every case they want” typically are not tracking this process. Vista has worked with nearly 100 plaintiff firms all over the country and not one of them gets every case that they want. When measuring your conversion ratios, you do want to give some sort of lag time for the data to settle. What does this mean? It means that there is typically a delay between the time that you make the decision to sign the case up to the time that you have a signed contract in your hands. This is the lag. For some firms this lag may be a few minutes if they are using electronic contracts, or it may be a few weeks if they are signing clients up by mail. It is important to know the typical length of this lag time for your firm to convert wants into signed cases. Once you know how long this process is, you would not measure your conversion rate until this lag time is passed. For example, if your lag time is two weeks, and you want to look at your conversion ratios for January 2017, you would not analyze the data until February 14, 2017, because you want to allow the two-week lag time to pass. The first two weeks of February, your intake team may still be working to get contracts in the door on calls that came in during January. We typically recommend that firms look at their conversion rates over a 90-day period with a 30-day lag. We recommend 90 days because that is more data to give you an accurate picture of your conversion process and the 30-day lag gives your intake team ample time to make every effort to get signed contracts on the calls that met your criteria. This stat is typically displayed in the area where intakes are being handled and the goal is to alway improve it. Conversion rates above 92.5% are healthy. This number drops some for mass tort campaigns where signups are being handled all across the country rather than in a localized area.

John Michael Bailey
"From operations to accounting, from marketing to income production, the team at Vista has done it all and seen it all. They bring all of the experience and commitment to excellence to bear and work with you to achieve the results that you have dreamed of, but been unable to reach. I know it works, I am living it."
- John Michael Bailey
Jim Reed
"I have to confess, I was initially skeptical that Vista could significantly improve my firm. Heck, we are a small firm (4 lawyers) in a small city and have been in business for 60+ years. Frankly, we were already doing well and had managed to carve out a successful business handling personal injury and malpractice cases. But I met (and liked) Tim McKey and we were having a good year, so I thought, let’s give them a try to see if they can offer any meaningful improvement. I am happily surprised to say that hiring Vista is one of the best business decisions I ever made. Vista analyzed and made recommendations in a few key areas and helped us implement changes in those areas. In less that one year, we are already reaping substantial dividends from those simple changes. As lawyers, we think we are pretty smart and know our business pretty well, but I can tell you that inviting an outside set of experienced eyes to take a close look at the way your firm operates WILL reveal many things you never saw and many areas for improvement. If you want to REALLY learn about your firm and how to improve it, I HIGHLY recommend a consultation with Vista."
- Jim Reed / Owner
Bill Berg
“… They have also worked with us in ways to improve how many new cases we sign-up – they constantly are coaching us in ways we can do things better in that regard. In our weekly meetings we go over our new case sign-ups, our demand times and various other statistics and topics. They hold us accountable to ourselves… I could go on & on – our accounting department was also restructured based much on their recommendations. And, Vista also researched and found a new CPA firm for me which actually keeps up on telling me what needs to be done instead of just keeping things as the status quo.”
- Bill Berg