Episode 205 – How To Capture The Clients That Get Away

Episode 205 – How To Capture The Clients That Get Away

Not so sure about adding live chat to your website? Join us as the VP/Co-Founder and the Director of Marketing of ApexChat share how their service can result in a 40% increase in leads for your law firm. Stay tuned to the end. ApexChat offers listeners an exclusive value offer. Listen to the interview below and make sure to subscribe, share and review the podcast.


Tracy: This is Tracy Merda with Secrets of Attorney Marketing and today I have two very special guests with me. I have the co-founder of Apex Chat Jim Bert and Kenneth Lee. Apex chat is an industry leader in Live Chat services providing live chat services and software that helps online businesses turn valuable advertising into customers. Thank you so much for joining me today gentlemen.

Jim Bert: Thank You. Thank you for having us.

Kenneth Lee: Not a problem. We are excited to get this interview underway.

Tracy: Let’s just jump right in. Why don’t you tell me a little bit about Apex Chat? Just tell me a little bit about the history. What kind of brought the company about and how you guys work?

Jim Bert: Yeah. So Apex Chat was founded back in April 2008 and our business is to create more reach for our clients. In other words, convert more people that come to the website into leads for business. In doing that we provide a live chat service, we have 150 people who all they do is take chats on behalf of our clients. As I mentioned, our role is to convert more visitors to websites into prospects for the business. Today, we have about 6000 clients or over 6000 clients, most of which are law firms. We have well over 2000 law firms that we do business with and those law firms all have the same goal. That is they want to capture more information on the people that come to their website and convert them into leads for the business. As you probably know, today a lot of people will go to a website and they won’t do anything at all. They’ll just leave and they don’t necessarily want to make a phone call to the business. They don’t want to fill out a form, so we found that on the other hand they will chat with someone. In fact, we see a 40% increase in the leads that we can supply for business when they had our live chat services in their website.

Tracy: Wow. Okay. That’s huge. Who are your clients typically besides the legal firms and things like that?

Jim Bert: If you can turn on your radio in the morning or you watch TV and you see people advertising, here in the San Francisco Bay Area which is where we are headquartered, we have a lot of law firms that we see advertising for Mesothelioma and around this time of the year a lot of tax attorneys will advertise and then there’s always the solar firms, the electrical firms, the heating and air conditioning companies, the carpet companies. So lots of companies that want to come to your home and give you a quote on their services. Every one of those people are very good prospects for us because they are very obviously just spending money advertising. So what they want to do is to convert more of those people that come to their website into prospects for their businesses. In addition to in-home services businesses and attorneys, we have automobile dealerships, we have plastic surgeons, we have some real estate agents, we have a lot of educational businesses. We have pest control businesses and many more. In other words, anybody you hear advertising on the radio or television is probably a great prospect for chat.

Tracy: You talked a little bit about why people prefer live chat. Do you think it’s just the world that we live in today. I’m totally guilty myself. I hate picking up the phone unless I have to. I want to get as much information as possible before I have to dial a phone. Do you think it works in all industries or is it more specific to things like legal firms and other companies that you work with?

Jim Bert: In our business you know, obviously we are not experts in every single business that we talk to. So if you are asking a few simple questions and getting the answers to those questions and then getting the contact information for the visitor back to the firm in a couple of minutes that the chat is over in. We can do that very nicely in the industries that I mentioned. However, I mean chat isn’t a good application for a restaurant or a bar or a retail store or even many E-commerce sites where the kinds of questions that people are going to ask from the chat representative are things like I’m trying to check out and my Visa card doesn’t work. Obviously we can’t help with things like that. So those businesses that I mentioned to you are, for the most part really good prospects for us and the more traffic they have on their site, the better the prospect because the more they are interested in converting higher numbers of those people that are coming to their website.

Kenneth Lee: I’d also like to add that one of the core reasons why Live chat works on a website is that for attorneys, specifically of course the goal is to get your website visited, to pick up a phone and set up a consultation with the firm but that in reality isn’t always an easy decision for a person to do right away. What live chat does is give them another opportunity, another communication channel if you will, to warm up to contact with the firm, to kind of engage the dialogue and extract the customer’s contact information and pass it along to the firm.

Tracy: Walk me through the process. I am a prospective client, I’m looking for an attorney. I go to their website, does the screen pop up? What am I asked? What am I looking for? How do you disarm those that maybe aren’t attracted to that initial popup screen if that’s what it looks like?

Jim Bert: We call that pop up screen a proactive invitation. A proactive invitation depending on the business, they might want it to be intrusive. By intrusive, I mean there are some sites that have a pop up that comes up in the middle of the window and darkens the screen and you can’t do anything until you click Yes or No. Most of our clients prefer not to have that style of invitation. They prefer something else that’s more subtle but no matter what it is it should be animated in some way. Something that grabs the attention of someone coming to the website. When you put a proactive invitation on the website, it is much more effective than a button that just sits there and says Click Here For Help because you want to grab the attention of that person visiting the website. If you think about us, your listeners, yourself and me, I don’t know necessarily why I do a search when I’m presented with a lot of different options. What makes us choose to start a conversation with website A versus website B? We know that if you introduce a proactive invitation 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I was just going on in the middle of the night on weekends, that visitor to the website is much more likely to communicate with your business first over another business that doesn’t offer that. I mean they are going to think, well, this is, especially in the middle of the night, this must be a large firm. Obviously they are very customer service oriented, here is a nice friendly person that said how can I help you? So , for all those reasons, when chat gets put on a website, a law firm and really any business should expect about a 40% increase, it’s a very large number, a 40% increase in the number of leads they are getting from the internet but remember this, a chat not only occurs on a desktop but over 40% now of chats that are started come in from a mobile device. Whatever you do, you’ve got to have that chat available on mobile device as well, on desktops, mobile devices and tablets all of which of course, we do.

Tracy: Once the information gets to the attorneys, what are you finding are the follow up rates or if you are able to track the information of the attorneys already going through following up and the clients materializing?

Jim Bert: It’s interesting you asked that question because you can take Law firm A and Law Firm B. Law firm A does things a certain way and law firm B does things a different way. Law firm A gets 20 leads from us and law firm B gets 20 leads from us. Law Firm A converts a high number of those leads, Law Firm B converts a low number of those leads. So it’s very important that the firm has a system in place to deal with not only leads that come from chat but phone calls, emails, any other forms, any other method and a lot of firms don’t do really well with that and that’s why there are companies in the marketplace that have various systems to help attorneys manage that. We integrate with an awful lot of them. common firms like Salesforce.com, Infusionsoft, Hubspot are some of the CRM systems and then there are systems like Needles and Captora which are specific to the legal industry. So we integrate with all of them and so it’s very important that we are able to do that.

Kenneth Lee: I’ll also add to what Jim just said. It really comes down to speed. If an attorney has a system where they are able to get a lead from live chat or even a phone call, any lead as you mentioned, and they will be the first attorney. You know if a prospective client contacted 3 different firms, they will be the first one to set up a consultation without our clients that have that system in place tend to convert a higher percentage of the live chat leads we send them.

Tracy: Who is on the other end of this chat? I’m looking at the information, I’m looking at the website, it pops up. What am I looking at? Who am I going to talk to?

Jim Bert: We have people dedicated to taking chats 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. So the people that are answering those chats are our people. A common question we get is how do your people know what to say? Are they experts in the legal field? The answer to that question is no. They aren’t necessarily experts in the legal industry although we have people that take chats that specialize in personal injury and criminal and bankruptcy. They are still not legal people. They are not lawyers and they don’t answer legal questions. Let me give you an example of a typical chat for a personal injury attorney. Hi my name is Jim. How may I help you? We get something back. Can you tell me a little bit about what happened? We get something back. When and where did it happen? We get something back. Have you seen a doctor? We get something back. May I have your name and your phone number and your email address? I’m going to send your information over to the firm and someone will get back to you to set up a free consultation. Typical conversation that takes place with a visitor to a personal injury site. We have similar what we call scripts that our agents use to communicate for bankruptcy or criminal or immigration and in other industries as well, we have these scripts which we alter to fit the specifics of the firm.

Tracy: So you mentioned the timeframes that these chats are answered in. Right there I see that as a huge benefit to our attorney clients and listeners who don’t have that staff on hand to be answering calls after business hours let alone 24/7 so what have you heard in success stories in clients being able to capture that market that sometimes gets away from them?

Jim Bert: Let me try to answer that in a couple of ways. We talked a little bit about who answers the chats. So there are really 3 ways to approach that. If a firm decides that they want to have live chat and can see that and talk to other people. They are going to learn that if they have live chat on their website, then they are going to get more leads, period. 40% is the number we use because that’s typically what happens. Some firms prefer to take their own chats. They have legal specialists available. They can obviously answer legal questions. It’s their business. So they would prefer to take their own chats. So one way of doing it is to have your own software or whatever product is available and take your own chats. The question then becomes what do you do off hours for taking chats with your own people. So option one for a firm is to take my own chats and not do anything off hours. Option 2 is to use a service like Apex Chat a 100% of the time so that the firm doesn’t have to worry about whether they have operators available or people available to answer chats, Apex Chat takes care of that and we are better at it typically than the firm even though we can’t answer specific legal questions, we know how to deal with them in getting the information and getting it back to the firm. But we don’t forget a thing, we don’t forget the phone number, we don’t forget the chat where it took place. We get a lot of business from firms that have tried to take their own chats and they end up missing the chats altogether or they find out afterwards that they didn’t get the name of the person. So that’s our job, that’s what we do. Then we have some clients that use our product to take their own chats during the day and then use us off hours with the added benefit that if they are logged into the system and they miss a chat. This also happens to a lot of people who don’t do this full time, they walk away from the computer. So perhaps, you’ve seen this. I’ve seen it. You go in, you start a chat and no one responds. A wheel starts turning and nothing happens. So, with our product, if someone wants to take their own chats, use us off hours, we have a little thing we call a rollover feature or if the client doesn’t pick up that chat in a certain number of seconds and together, we all determine that number, then it rolls over to us. So in effect, they know they’ll never miss a chat.

Tracy: I love that.

Jim Bert: We have mostly large firms that do that.

Kenneth Lee: Now, I’ll add to what Jim just said in terms of taking chats during office hours and then having some kind of service after the office closes. The reason why that’s so critical is that we found after all the clients we serviced, we generate leads after office hours. That’s where 42% of the leads happen after the office closed. So if a firm isn’t thinking about what is happening after office doors close, they are actually missing out on a sizeable amount of leads that have to be generated via live chat.

Tracy: Absolutely. So where do you see Apex Chat and Live Chat in general to be in the future 5, 10 or 15 years from now?

Jim Bert: So, before I answer that, let me tell you a couple of other things that we’ve done fairly recently to enhance our current service. One of them is we have the ability to connect a visitor by phone to the business while we are chatting with them. Obviously that’s better than telling your visitor that someone will get back to them because then you are in email tag and phone tag and that is fine but we have this capability where we can say to this visitor, would you like to speak to somebody right now? If they say yes, we ask for their phone number and the system automatically connects them to the business. So we do that for almost 100% of our legal clients. All we need is the phone numbers and the hours of the office and we set that up. The other thing that we’ve noticed is that there is a large population that prefers to text rather than chat with somebody even on a mobile device. So we just added the capability for a visitor who is coming to the site on their mobile device to actually text us. So, on their mobile phone it goes into text mode versus a chat mode if you will. So we’ve just added that. The 3rd thing that we’ve just added or are about to add just next week is, let’s say someone is on a website and they don’t start a chat and they are about to leave. We can now detect where their mouse is, if they are on a desktop, near the X in the browser or near the toolbar in the browser, we can introduce what we call an exit popup. It says, Hey we see that you are about to leave our site. Are you sure that there isn’t anything that we can help you with? So that’s about to come out. So where we are is we as a company are expanding in a couple of different ways. We are expanding by adding sales people but we also sell our products through digital marketing companies whose business it is to create websites, push traffic to a website through SEO campaigns, PPC campaigns etc. So it’s a natural partnership for us because we have nothing to do with that. We can only come into play once they get to the website and we can convert more traffic. So that digital web marketing company looks better to their client. So we have a lot of partnerships. We have over 150 partners that we sell our products and many of them in the legal industry. So we are expanding in that area. In the next 5 years chat is really in it’s infancy. If you go do a search somewhere, not in just the legal industry but anywhere, what percentage of websites are going to have chat? Very small because it’s just now starting to take hold. So we expect that growth to come from adding more products and adding more digital marketing companies to our portfolio and continuing to grow and also to add more integration with 3rd party systems. So I think I mentioned earlier, we integrate with a lot of these CRM systems. I had a conversation recently with a company that offers platforms that do all kinds of analyses in the marketplace. So integrating our chat function into all of those is going to continue to be something that we do on a regular basis.

Kenneth Lee: I also want to add to what Jim said in terms of where we fit and how the landscape is changing. I think Live Chat is being adopted on a mass scale and certainly in 5 years, I see consumers almost expecting websites to offer Live Chat and because they expect that to be available and we are trying to take advantage of that offering for many small businesses and many law firms that are unable to handle their own chats. I also think that in terms of our direction as a company. I’m the Director of Marketing and I see really what our proposition is and that is Live Chat. What we are really doing is helping our clients increase leads and conversion on our websites and so some of the things that Jim had mentioned like the exit popup and SMS texting abilities that we handle are all pointing at one major goal, to help our end clients get more leads whether that’s with Live Chat or not. In 10 or 15 years it may morph into something else that helps our clients get more leads.

Tracy: That’s just some fascinating information today guys. We here at Speakeasy are a big fan of what you all do. If someone would like more information or if someone would maybe like to look into the services of Apex Chat, what is the best way to reach out to you guys?

Jim Bert: So what we are going to do is we are going to give an offer for your listeners only. We are going to create a special URL which is try.apexchat.com/speakeasy and what they’ll see there is an exclusive offer for your listeners, a waived set of fee which typically is $300 to start our service. We are going to waive that to make it extremely easy for your listeners to give us a try.

Tracy: That is awesome. That is an incredible offer. I want to give a special thanks to my guests today, both Kenneth Lee of Apex Chat as well as Jim. Thank you for joining us. Jim is the co-founder of Apex Chat and an industry leader in Live Chat services. Thank you gentlemen and please continue to keep us posted on all that is Live Chat and what we can expect in the future here.

Jim Bert: Thank You. Thanks for having us.

Kenneth Lee: Thanks for having us.

Tracy: Alright. Have a good one.


Richard Jacobs

About Richard Jacobs

My name is Richard Jacobs, and I've discovered quite a bit about the plight of solo practitioners and small, 2-5 attorney firms like yours these past 12 years.

I've come to understand the unique challenges in marketing ethically and effectively that attorneys face because I have:

  • Helped over 180 attorneys author their own practice area book and become the 'implied expert' in their practice area
  • Helped hundreds of attorneys successfully navigate Google's search algorithm changes, growing their websites from 2 potential clients calling a month to 4+ calls per DAY for some clients.
  • Interviewed and promoted over 507 attorneys nationwide, in practice areas such as:
  • DUI / DWI
  • Family Law
  • Criminal Defense
  • Bankruptcy
  • Auto Accidents
  • Social Security Disability
  • Slip & Falls (Premises Liability)
  • Real Estate
  • Estate Planning / Probate
  • Wage and Hour Claims
  • Expungements / Post Conviction Relief

Before you decide to invest in your marketing, it makes sense to first request your complimentary, custom, no obligation video website review.

Richard is the author of 6 books published on Amazon, Kindle and Audible.com

Richard is available for speaking engagements on direct marketing for attorneys and has recently spoken at the following legal conferences:

  • PILMMA (Personal Injury Lawyers Marketing & Management Association)
  • Las Vegas DUI Summit – Private event for DUI attorneys
  • New York Boutique Lawyers Association
  • Perry Marshall & Associates Marketing Academy (Marina Del Rey, CA)
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL)