December 12, 2015 Dialogue

2014 ABA Annual LRIS Workshop, Long Beach: 7 Lessons Learned

By Mary Horowitz

Long Beach is known for its large shipping port and the many movies and TV shows that have been filmed along its amazing shoreline. In October, the ABA's Lawyer Referral and Information Service workshop in was held in Long Beach—and while a great recap movie was made, the scenery and gorgeous weather were just two perks of the workshop. Below are seven takeaways from Long Beach.

  1. Nationally, LRIS staff is exceptional. Chances are very high that if your program runs into a glitch, a weird situation, or something new, another program has already run into the same issue and solved it. Because we're all in the business of customer service together, we shouldn't be shy about calling on colleagues to brainstorm and ask for advice throughout the year.
  2. Customer service is everything to an LRIS program. Our programs provide customer service to two distinct customers—potential clients and panelists—and we must be at the top of our game when speaking with both groups. Customer service training is crucial for our teams, and will allow everyone to perform to their highest potential.
  3. Personalizing the referral process allows us to create a bond with prospective clients.  Use first names when speaking with callers. Return email referral requests with a phone call. Put ‘Live Chat' on your website to interact. And always provide great service!
  4. Tracking and follow-up are the most important components of a successful percentage fee program. It is essential to have accurate case tracking, as well as have regular and consistent follow-up with panelists.  Client follow-up can often be crucial in capturing missed remittance payments.
  5. Surveys are a simple and effective tool which many programs use to follow up with callers. Positive comments that come back on these surveys can be used with the client's permission, for your website, brochures, social media and, with the right client, a video testimonial could be made to post!
  6. When speaking to groups or in other presentation formats, Deborah Shames and David Booth of Eloqui demonstrated that being authentic and compelling is crucial to connecting with the listener. Without a personal touch or relevant anecdote, the listener tunes out without making a deeper connection to the speaker. Don't be afraid to get personal—you'll be remembered and gain credibility with the listener because they will trust and like you.
  7. LRIS programs have a unique opportunity to set ourselves apart from online resources. We're with callers from the first call to the conclusion of the case. We do case tracking, and can assist with case-related administrative questions like contacting the lawyer, billing questions, etc.  We provide a human touch through every aspect of our business model.  We should use all of these things to differentiate ourselves in our marketing.

These are just a few of the critical pointers I picked up in Long Beach. As a first-time attendee, this workshop was incredibly helpful, and I've already had a chance to implement many tips in our program. I'm looking forward to learning even more as a repeat attendee, and meeting many more new friends in New Orleans this October—will you join us?

The 2015 ABA LRIS Annual Workshop is scheduled to be held October 28-31 in New Orleans. Registration is now open at http://ambar.org/lrisworkshop.

Mary Horowitz

Director, North Carolina Lawyer Referral Service

Mary Horowitz is the Director of the North Carolina Lawyer Referral Service, a statewide LRS program based in Cary, NC. She can be reached at mhorowitz@ncbar.org or (919) 657-1559.