When a potential client lands on your website with the intention of contacting you for legal services, it’s on you to have their preferred method of contact available. Having several options that we’ll cover—phone, email, contact form, chat, and text—isn’t exactly a paradox of choice. Each has its own distinct differences that appeal to each individual, and each may be appropriate depending on the area of law, the sense of urgency, and the experiences that the individual has had in the past.
Someone looking for a criminal defense attorney may be especially considerate of providing incriminating information via certain contact methods. Those seeking employment lawyers may face extreme paranoia doing anything close to the workplace. Conversely, someone seeking a family lawyer may only be able to do their research and method of contact during work hours. These types of varying scenarios are almost always addressed quickly by simply providing as many means of contact as possible.
As you’ll see from our recent survey with 100 participants, there’s likely a general burnout from the usage of contact forms. I can definitely say from my standpoint there is – I have experienced about a 50% response rate from contact forms when submitting my information for quotes from local to professional services. They’re simply not being addressed by staff, or they are going to spam. This is one of the reasons people feel more comfortable simply emailing a designated email address if it is available; understandably, many will avoid providing an email address due to the overwhelming spam they may receive and their inability to filter it out. Even a good firewall has a chance of deterring a legitimate email.
Reviewing Forms of Contact Present on Websites
To confirm the forms of contact we’ll be discussing throughout the rest of the article, here are the simple definitions for each that need them:
- Texting: Any option that provides a number and allows the potential client to send a text message.
- Contact Form
- Chat: The chat feature on a website, either managed by a live agent from a third party, an employee internally, or (hopefully not) a chatbot.
- Emails: Any option that provides an email address on the website and allows the potential client to use their own email to send an inquiry.
The Results of the Survey – Ranking Preference
In the first part of the survey, we asked the participants to rank their preferred method of contact from most preferred (at the top) to the least in two scenarios. Below was the first approach:
Please rank which modes of contact you find most convenient when initially reaching out to a law firm.
- Phone Call
- Online Chat
- Contact Forms
Phone is the preferred method in this case, with email surprisingly second. Email isn’t a common method of being contacted, and rightfully so; exposure to vast amounts of spam isn’t ideal for most businesses. Even with firewalls and parameters for attempting to filter only the most qualified emails, the likelihood of only funneling in what is legitimate and blocking what is not is slim. Either way, it is important to note that this was the second-most preferred method of contact.
Contact forms have been less preferable for consumers over the years because of the lack of transparency regarding the next steps and the feeling of the forms going “into the abyss” after submission. In my own personal experience, I would say roughly 50% of businesses follow up on any of the inquiries I submit via contact forms.
On to the next question:
Let’s say your legal matter was more urgent, and you wanted to contact a law firm now. It is 8 PM on a Friday. If the law firm website said someone was available using all forms of contact, please rank these methods of contact in order.
- Phone Call
- Online Chat
- Contact Forms
In this case, text leapfrogs online chat when presenting the legal matter as more urgent. Though email remains the same, text feels like a more direct way to get a response. This should be for consideration during off-peak hours, such as after-hours, holidays (if you would be open to inquiries at this time), and weekends.
Because these answers were quantifiable, this is the comparison between two scenarios:
- Phone Call: 22.23%
- Email: -39.11%
- Text: 23.89%
- Online Chat: -18.88%
- Contact Form: -0.38%
Phone calls are even more viable during a more urgent scenario. Email drops off precipitously but still remains second.
The rest of the survey was comprised of 1-10 answers and NO/YES responses:
On a scale of 1-10, If a law firm had a calendar where you could book an appointment, how likely are you to use that?
- MODE: 10
- MEDIAN: 7
- AVERAGE: 6.78
- WEIGHTED: 7.81
A calendar option on legal websites is actually very uncommon – though it has become commonplace in medical and a few other professional verticals. There may be many reasons for the absence of calendar options on a legal website (sense of urgency of the potential client not waiting 1-2 days to speak with someone, the unpredictability of court, and urgent client matters), but if your practice area is built around clientele that may not need their appointment set within 24 hours such as contracts, wills & trusts, etc., this may be a good consideration.
How many law firms are you willing to call?
- MODE: 3
- MEDIAN: 3
- AVERAGE: 3.25
- WEIGHTED: 3.10
According to this survey, three seems to be the magic number for how many firms the average consumer will contact before making a decision on where to proceed. Intake and client experience are paramount in situations where you consider it may be you and another two firms in the running for their business.
Regarding the rest of the answers, it is the ongoing question law firms often ask themselves: “Is having a chat option on my website right for me?” Again, different methods of contact on a website are not creating the paradox of choice. They are offering additional methods of preference, and people have proven to be very selective about which method they prefer by nature and also by circumstance (e.g. at home, at work, at night, in the morning, and so on).
According to the responses, chat should be given strong consideration, but only if you’re willing to maintain a high level of responsive, professional client experience in-house or partner with a reliable third party that specializes in legal.
On a scale of 1-10, how comfortable are you with using a chat feature or live agent to communicate with a law firm for inquiries or assistance?
- MODE: 10
- MEDIAN: 6
- AVERAGE: 6.35
- WEIGHTED: 7.34
Do you think having a chat feature on a law firm’s website can enhance user experience?
- NO – 27.45%
- YES – 72.55%
Have you ever interacted with a chat feature on a website?
- NO – 15.69%
- YES – 84.31%
Do you need verification if it’s an actual person
- NO – 17.65%
- YES – 82.35%
Would you feel comfortable sharing confidential or legal details via a chat feature on a law firm’s website?
- NO – 55.88%
- YES – 44.12%
Optimize Your Online Presence with Market My Market
In today’s digital age, having multiple, convenient, and user-friendly contact options is crucial for law firms looking to convert potential clients. Market My Market specializes in optimizing your digital presence, ensuring your firm is accessible through various contact methods, be it phone, email, contact form, chat, or text, tailored to your clientele’s preferences and needs. Our expertise in SEO and content writing is designed to elevate your online visibility, driving more traffic to your website and converting that traffic into clients. We understand the unique needs of law firms and their clients, and we are here to help you make the most out of every opportunity.
Don’t let potential clients slip through the cracks due to limited contact options or poor online presence. Let us help you optimize your digital marketing strategy and ensure your firm is the first choice for those in need of legal services. Ready to elevate your firm’s online presence and client conversion? Call us at (866) 270-2250 or fill out our contact form to get started.