Secret Shopping Your Own Practice (Part A)

I always say that the goal of Great Legal Marketing is to help law firms create effective and ethical marketing solutions that basically run themselves once they get going. Unfortunately, you can't have a 100% automated system that is guaranteed to run without flaws. This is where a little bit of secret shopping on your part comes into play.

Become Your Own Client for a Moment

A large part of your legal marketing system is how your clients contact you. Have you ever wondered what your clients hear when they call your office? If you have a call center handling your inbound calls, you'd assume it follows the scripts you provided. If your calls come in internally, you'd imagine your staff handles all the procedures just how they were trained.

You can never be completely certain that your clients are being handled properly when they contact your office until you hear for yourself. When you're questioning your law firm's quality of client response, why not find out for yourself? No, you don't have to personally do this. In fact, I discourage it; because your staff should know you well enough to figure out you're not a new client.

Have a friend or family member that's relatively unknown around your office to call in pretending to be a potential client. Give them a common case scenario and have them call in looking for information. It may be helpful to your secret shopping helper to have a checklist of the things you instructed your call handlers to cover in a phone contact.

Once your secret shopper has concluded their phone call, review the checklist and see what points were missed. Also ask them if the call handler was professional, courteous, and is a good representation of your law firm. If your shopper doesn't feel confident in the contact they received, there may be some further training that needs to take place with your phone answering staff.

Your "Contact Us" Response Is Important, Too

Another thing to test with your secret shopping is the response to your "Contact Us" website forms - especially if they're answered by a live person and not an auto-generated script. This test is easier for you to conduct personally. Just plug in some test information and use a neutral email address to be contacted at.

This is especially effective if your legal marketing plan includes a contact page that allows for client comments and questions. You'll want to check the response you receive for timeliness and content. Did they get back to you in a reasonable time (1-2 business days)? Did they address your concern? Did they offer you more information and ways to contact your law firm for further help?

If you can't answer yes to all of these questions, it's time to review your client response efforts! Keep reading for more information on checking how your clients are handled within your office.

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Ben Glass
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Ben is a nationally recognized expert in attorney marketing and the owner of Great Legal Marketing.