Panel interview: Warner Goodman

"You have to engage with clients, and make them feel special and wanted"

- Dan Thompson, solicitor and business head of the injury team at Warner Goodman


 

South coast law firm Warner Goodman is fully signed up to the importance of training staff and monitoring conversions.

Last year, all staff across all departments underwent training on sales and conversion. The training was conducted on a firm-wide basis and not solely for those taking enquiries so that everyone received the same message that there is a ‘Warner Goodman way’ of handling the telephone and enquiries.

Following the training, the injury team now receives quarterly refresher training, which is a useful exercise not just to remind the team of the steps for the call, but it’s also an opportunity to discuss anything that’s arisen since the last session, with the team sharing best practice about what has and hasn’t worked.

The injury team also has a dedicated phone number so as to reduce the number of steps a potential client has to go through before reaching someone to talk to.

It certainly seems to be working.

Solicitor Dan Thompson, business head of the injury team, says the firm is converting at the highest level he can ever remember.

He describes incoming enquiries as “the single most important call that comes into the office”.

Dan explains: “We’ve been monitoring conversion rates since I joined 20 years ago. If you don’t treat that phone call with the respect it deserves, you might as well burn £5-600.”

Calls are dealt with by a claims handling team, who work to a structure but not a rigid script, he explains: “You have to build a rapport – it’s all about empathy and understanding. You can’t just go through a tickbox of ‘you had a claim, great, when, where?’. You have to engage with clients, and make them feel special and wanted.”

Marketing manager Karen Clarkson adds that an important aspect of this is ensuring the claims handler recognises the wider impact an injury has had on the customer’s life, for example how it has affected their family, work and hobbies, and discusses that with them.

But equally, callers want to know how the claims process works. Karen explains this was something the team really took on board, recognising now that while they may describe the process several times a day, for the potential client it is the first time they are hearing this – she finds it actually makes Warner Goodman stand out from a lot of the competition, even if it requires an in-depth conversation.

The claims handler’s target is to convert the client on that first call; they then book a sign-up agent to visit them within 48 hours.

In the event that a case is out of the ordinary, and the claims handler needs to seek advice before deciding to take it on, the client is asked to stay on hold for a couple of minutes for that to happen – Dan says they try to have at least one member of the senior team available to manage such queries, although this isn’t something that happens regularly.

The claims handlers have also been trained for various objections that may arise, such as callers who insist on speaking to a lawyer. “The main thing with the training is that they have control of the conversation, meaning they are able to adequately demonstrate their expertise throughout the whole call so that objections are less likely to arise. Having control of the conversation is important to lead to the best outcome for us and the potential client,” explains Karen.

At Warner Goodman, the claims handler’s role does not stop here – while others do the legal work, they continue to be the client’s main point of contact, unless the case drops out of the portal, say, when it would be transferred to a more senior member of staff.

Dan says this makes the claims handler’s job a more interesting one and also helps with conversion: “If you know that this is going to be your client for the next nine months, it’s much easier to have genuine understanding and empathy. It also makes it easier for the client as they have one point of contact throughout their claim.”

For web enquiries, the aim is to respond within an hour.  With enquiries that come in overnight, they try and call first thing in the morning in case the client has sent out a few emails to different firms.

Back to White Paper: Converting Clients