More industries than ever are utilizing online appointment booking systems, from movie theaters and restaurants to doctors and other professional services. The growth in popularity of online booking systems is driven by consumers who expect to do more digitally and who gravitate towards businesses that facilitate this. Consider your own habits and those of your family and friends. It is likely that you and the people you know utilize online booking for many services and appreciate the convenience and efficiency it provides. Law firm clients are no different, and law firm businesses have no excuse not to reap the benefits this innovative technology offers.
Here are the top 3 reasons your law firm needs an online booking system:
1. It increases your conversion rate
Your receptionist is only present at your firm during business hours. An online booking system is available around the clock. Research shows that many online appointments are made outside of business hours for the following day. In fact, many law firms that utilize contact forms on their websites have low conversion rates because contact forms don’t generate the instant response clients expect when booking an appointment with a lawyer online. This is especially the case if they are trying to see you the following day. The same goes for phone messages left outside of business hours: they must be checked the following morning by your support staff, by which time there is hardly a chance to schedule any same-day appointments.
Some people are less likely to engage with your firm if they can’t book appointments with you online; this is particularly true of the millennial demographic, who are more likely to book appointments online if given the opportunity and for whom booking an appointment online is preferred to telephoning the firm.
An online booking system captures these potentially lost bookings and increases your overall conversion rate.
2. It reduces cancellations and no-shows
Cancellations and no-shows are a costly affair for law firms. Research shows that online booking systems reduce non-attendance rates common with traditional booking methods through regular reminders sent directly to clients’ smartphones and email addresses. This is effective because your clients will be regularly checking their phones throughout the day so the chance of them not seeing your appointment reminder is unlikely. This also means that if your clients do need to cancel, they can do so well ahead of time, quickly returning that appointment slot to the booking system for someone else to use.
Reminders sent via SMS and email are preferable contact methods for many people and studies reveal that many people prefer to minimize phone calls if they can utilize a digital method instead. The added benefit for your firm is that this method is much less time-consuming than reminder phone calls which tie up your support staff.
3. It improves client experience
Many clients often say it is difficult just getting in touch with their lawyers, let alone seeing them! When they can get in contact with the firm, there is a lot of back and forth trying to find a suitable time for both parties.
For many people, being able to book a service online is an important aspect of their experience with that business. If your firm doesn’t provide the option, you risk turning people away from your firm entirely, or otherwise spoiling their experience with you.
You lose nothing by offering multiple options for appointment booking, from phone to contact form to an online booking system – your clients will use the one they like the most. For the digitally-savvy (an increasingly large group) an online booking system simply offers them unparalleled convenience and ease. It also positions your firm as both client-focused and forward-facing.
Alongside an improved client experience, this puts you far ahead of the competition.
“My firm is booked weeks in advance. Can we still benefit from an online booking system?”
Yes! Here’s why:
1. Your support staff are probably overwhelmed by the number of phone calls and emails required to set up so many appointments, follow up on contact forms, make courtesy reminder calls and cancel and reschedule appointments. An online booking system will dramatically decrease the number of calls, emails and scheduling your support staff must attend to, freeing them to do more valuable work (both for you and them!).
2. Your clients might call your firm only to be put on hold and then finally told you are already completely booked out! An online booking system that clearly displays your schedule provides greater transparency between your clients and your fee-earners. It also affords them a better chance of booking an appointment, including any that have been freed up by last-minute cancellations. This will dramatically reduce any client concerns over a lack of communication.
3. An online booking system simply offers more convenience to your clients who prefer to do things online. If you want to maintain a bustling firm, you need to start innovating ways to improve your client service now.
WHICH BOOKING SYSTEM SHOULD MY FIRM USE?
LawTap is an online appointment booking system that allows people to view your schedule and book appointments with you via your website, email signature or the LawTap directory. Appointments are directly filed into your Outlook schedule, so you are always kept up-to-date. You can block out dates that don’t work for you, and non-LawTap appointments are kept private from your clients.
Appointments can be tailored according to your firm’s appointment types. You can book clients in yourself, and if you are no longer available for an appointment, it’s easy for you to cancel or reschedule and notify your clients via SMS and email.
LawTap is unique among booking engines because it can help you attract new clients via its online directory. Your firm’s profile can be customized with your location, areas of law, real-time availability and even client reviews. Prospective clients will have a much easier time finding you based on these factors, particularly as many people prefer booking engines that aggregate results because they can easily compare several firms on the one website.
A third party booking system like LawTap also means you don’t need to deal with any frustrating technical issues that would arise when using and maintaining a system created specifically for your website. This is all taken care of by LawTap.
More of your clients expect you to utilize digital solutions in your practice. An online booking system is a simple but powerful tool that can help your firm improve your client experience, generate more business and streamline the efficiency of your practice.