Avvo Ignite Interview
Intake Academy: Well, hello everyone. This is Intake Academy with the Intake Academy and I’m here with Puja Parakh from Avvo and we are so lucky to have her on the call with us today.
Welcome to the call.
Puja: Thank you.
Intake Academy: To give everybody a quick background in kind of what we’re going to be talking about today, Puja is the product manager at Avvo for a product called Avvo Ignite and a lot of our attorneys have been asking about this and I’ve had the opportunity to learn about Avvo and all the different products and services that they’ve offered over the years. I participated in a number of different lawyernomics or lawyer conferences that they put on every year, so if you aren’t currently participating in some of those events, I highly recommend it. But I learned about this at the last Avvo event so I contacted Avvo and said, hey, we’d like to talk to you about it and get some more information about Avvo Ignite.
So, Puja is the product manager at Avvo for the Avvo Ignite. She has a Master’s Degree in Engineering from the University of Washington. She specializes in user center design. She originally is from Detroit, Michigan and she currently lives in Seattle, she’s been there since 2006. And, I just want to welcome you to the call.
Puja: I appreciate that.
Intake Academy: Okay. Well, great. So, tell us a little bit before we jump into some of my line of questioning, bring our listeners up to speed on what Avvo Ignite is and what it really does?
Puja: Absolutely. So, Avvo Ignite is sort of a cloud-based web application. It helps very simply speaking it helps connect attorneys with prospects. Oftentimes folks will – attorneys will use Avvo.com to help connect themselves with those who are looking for legal advice and establish their brand. And once you’re using Ignite so you want to help your firm grow by providing an incredibly simple to use platform to help you convert more clients.
Intake Academy: Awesome. Okay. So, I’m going to back up and just break down a couple of things that you said. So you said it’s cloud-based which means to users that hey they can just be connected to the internet and all of the information and data is up in cyberspace, is that correct?
Puja: Yeah. It’s a – you hear about you sort of hear that word a lot, right? You hear cloud-based web-based and it really is just making yourself a lot easier to work with. And oftentimes they’re using something like Microsoft Excel, you have to go to your desk with the computer that has that file on it versus when it’s cloud-based you can access it from anywhere whether it’s your phone, whether it’s your tablet, the laptop at home, you know, any computer really if you need to stop in the library you can pull up that information.
Intake Academy: Awesome. Okay. So, with this tool attorneys are able to track and monitor all the different marketing activity that they have going on and all the different responses that they’re getting, so if a lead like raises their hand and opts in or says they fill out a lead form or they pick up the phone and call, all this information is tracked in Avvo Ignite, is that correct?
Puja: That is correct, yeah.
Intake Academy: Okay. So, tell us a little bit about what they do with that data and information?
Puja: Absolutely. So, kind of starting with the beginning of what that looks like. A prospect may call, e-mail, send you a message and from there Avvo Ignite automatically organizes that information based on your preferences. And it also helps you identify where that lead had come from whether it is from a Google AdWord or marketing campaign or even the billboard that you have on the side of the freeway. You can track all of those and understand exactly where the lead came from and from there you can also help organize how that person can then be assigned and work with throughout your firm.
Intake Academy: To sort of clarify for our listeners. So really this information is use to identify which forms of marketing are really producing the biggest response?
Puja: Yeah, absolutely.
Intake Academy: Okay. Okay. All right, tell us a little bit about how this product works in terms of at the actual. Let’s say we’ve got a prospect who picks up the phone and calls, how does it interact or work in terms of the intake process?
Puja: So you can set it up to be customized for however your firm needs handle intake. If you have an intake form, you can have that auto generated and sent to the person who’s trying to reach you. If you have documents that need electronic signatures, you can also use this back and forth. And if you need to bill somebody, you can also use Ignite.
What it does though is it does organize all of that very efficiently and oftentimes what we also hear is that the person who may be picking up the phone is not necessarily the person who would be working with that prospect. So, something that’s really cool is that you can assign it to other members within your firm and sort of track the progress of how that goes so things don’t fall through the cracks.
Intake Academy: Wow. Okay. This is exciting. Okay. So, let’s walk through this process. So, I’m the prospect and I have – I’ve seen an ad on television for an attorney. I may – I feel like I may have a potential case, I finally build up the courage to actually pick up the phone and call an attorney. I’ve done my research online. This attorney is using the Avvo Ignite tool. I pick up the phone after I do my research online from the website and I call so that being tracked by your tool and the call goes in and does your – does your tool like actually populate a screen for that intake specialist who’s taking that inbound call?
Puja: Yes. So, when you give me a call, I will see if I have Avvo Ignite open in front of me or I can have it send me text messages to my cellphone, I’ll see that a new calls coming in and based on the phone number that was used I can also see where you’re calling from and so, I can see that you noticed that ad and you called me from that. This is great for attorneys who practice in multiple areas, so they know automatically when they see that phone call that this is somebody who may have seen something about their family practice and that’s what they’re calling about.
Intake Academy: All right. This is phenomenal. I want to put a time out, you know, I want to make a point to all the listeners. So, if you listen to what Puja has just said, she’s saying that you will get a notification that intake specialist the reception team when they have Avvo Ignite on their – pulled up on their screen will know exactly where the call is coming from. And this is phenomenal with what we call message consistency and congruency.
So, meaning all of the marketing and advertising that you’re doing, the better jobs you can do of synching that up with your intake process the more successful your intake specialist will be on the phone. For example, if they know the caller is calling from a specific landing page for a particular practice area or practice type, it’s not just a matter of tracking your marketing and advertising although that’s phenomenal and you want to do that, what you also want to be able to do is to get congruency and consistency with your intake process in the actual telephone conversion or the phone conversation that they’re going to have.
So, I just want to – I just want to make a point of that, Puja.
Puja: Absolutely. And, in fact, I’m not sure if this is the best time to mention it, but I do want to also highlight the fact that what happens when you’re not actually in front of the phone? So, you know, the examples that we’re talking about right now is under the assumption that somebody is there ready to pick up the telephone.
The even cooler part of Ignite is what it can do when you’re not there to pick up the phone.
Intake Academy: So, tell us a little bit about that. What does it do?
Puja: Yeah. Well, it still tells you where that call is coming from, that’s for sure, but you can also have a do such thing such as auto responders and, you know, make sure that you’re still staying in touch with that prospect which is the number one thing that we hear from attorneys about how leads get, you know, kind of fall through the crack. Not only attorneys, but also, you know, prospects, clients as well, right?
They have options now, they’re holding the internet in their hands everyday and they are looking for good customer service and they’re looking for somebody to talk to they’re having a legal issue and, you know, this is something that they’re looking to get resolved and they need to talk to somebody and they chose you, so if you, you know, if you’re unable to you might be in court, you might have a – you might be in a consultation, you might just be away from your desk, but you want to let those folks know that you – that you hear them. And so, having option such as auto responders or auto e-mails, you know, that are specifically geared towards that type of – that type of phone call, that type of marketing is really, really useful and it’s really easy to set up using Avvo Ignite as well.
Intake Academy: Wow, that’s tremendous. Yeah, we see this many, many times with lots of our clients is, you know, one of what we called the rungs of success for building what’s called the intake bridge is connectivity and availability and this just simply means being available when someone’s interested in making a decision. So they’re making a buying decision at that point in time.
Now, you know as a purist, you know, here at the Intake Academy, I’m going to tell all of our listeners, be available all the time, live call you got to do it, you got to be there. However, the reality is sometimes you can’t and this is a great alternative to use to try and salvage in and keep those relationships from falling through the crack, so thank you so much for sharing that.
So, I’m going to shift gears on you a little bit, Puja and ask you a couple of broader questions. So, based on your experience in working with law firms, what are let’s say the three biggest challenges you see when it comes to converting and managing inquiries into ultimately into quality cases?
Puja: I mean we’ve touched a little bit on it already like I mentioned earlier, attorneys are really on the go. The lawyer lifestyle really means that they’re in meetings, court, etc. and you know they’re not necessarily sitting by the phone all the time and this becomes a challenge especially as, you know, they spend a lot more time on marketing and spending a lot of more energy on making sure that their business grows, but it’s hard to be in all places at once and that’s definitely the biggest challenge that we see with attorneys when it comes to converting and managing service inquiries.
You know we heard from one of our attorneys and I love how they phrased it, but they kind of said that, you know, while attorneys are becoming way more advanced with their marketing, they’re still using antiquated methods and technologies to actually help them optimize on that. So, you know, we meet attorneys everyday who are using post-it notes or Excel and that becomes a challenge that doesn’t scale very well. And so, and like I said before you have to be in front of that post-it note or that Excel file in order to pull that information up which isn’t always convenient when, you know, you are on the go or in court.
So, those are some of the challenges that we see and on the flip side, you know, like we’re saying consumers also expect that now. They experience, you know, what technology can bring to them, you know, in other areas and attorneys they, you know, can and should expect that also from their attorneys as well.
Intake Academy: So, how do those challenges impact the law firm or the business of law in general?
Puja: So with those challenges, you know, it’s hard because things fall through the cracks really easily, right? And so, if that, you know, that phone call comes in and you missed it or you forgot to call them back, that goes that referral, there goes that customer service that and that opportunity to actually just help someone which is so important in the legal community is really just to give back and, you know, if you let that fall through the crack, it’s a problem it’s not good.
Intake Academy: Do you feel like the attorneys that you all work with in some cases obviously before they – before they start this process that they could be leaking opportunities, so they are very focused on the marketing and advertising or generating referral sources. They’re generating those leads, but some of those leads are – they’re hemorrhaging or they’re just they’re wasted opportunities. Do you feel like there’s money being left on the table there?
Puja: Oh, my gosh. I can’t even – yes, absolutely. You know we…
Intake Academy: What type of – do you all have metrics to – I mean do you have any kind of metrics like that that speak to that?
Puja: I don’t on hand, but we do see that and what you can also see is using the product itself you can also see the reports that are generated based on your own actions within – within Ignite, so it also will let you know how many calls have fallen – fallen through versus how many calls you received and e-mails as well. And also, where they’re coming from and I know we mentioned that earlier, but that’s also really important, you know, thousands of dollars might be spent on a, you know, a Facebook ad campaign and just to find out that nobody’s actually contacting you from that. You know you see a lot of money that, you know, can potentially just go to waste right there versus, you know, some other ad campaign that is bringing in a lot of clients, but you’re not putting your efforts on that. So, it provides a lot of education for the attorney as well and that saves money.
We had an attorney in LA that we worked with who before using Ignite she was doing everything in Excel and she was managing her process in Excel actually pretty well. When we took a look and saw what she was doing, I was pretty impressed, I couldn’t believe that she was that organized within Excel, but she did mention how much time she spent on it and how she really had to essentially shut down everything for a day or two at the end of every month so she could just go through her spreadsheets and, you know, understand what her business is doing.
And, you know, by having that really central and automatic for you can really save a lot of time and actually reveal a lot of things that you might be missing.
Intake Academy: Yeah. This is all great information. So, let me recap a couple of points that you’ve mentioned here. So first of all one of the biggest challenge is is scalability and having business processes and systems in place for on the go busy law firms that maybe using antiquated technology to track, monitor, and measure marketing and advertising metrics as well as linking that back to the follow up activity and/or intake process that happens on site immediately when those people respond when leads come in.
Time and energy and effort that’s going into antiquated system that may or may not even be in place, money being left on the table, you know, the challenges with, you know, not – here’s what we like to say is a lot of times you don’t know what you don’t know, so meaning there’s no understanding of the actual problem or the leak that’s potentially there because you just you simply you never have to put a magnifying glass on it. And, it sounds like this is one of the things that Avvo Ignite allows – allows the firm to do.
Intake Academy: Okay. Cool. So, I’m going to ask you a couple of other questions. So now I am ‘cause I know you’re a user-experienced junky if it’s okay if I say that.
Puja: It’s very fair to say that. That is absolutely fine.
Intake Academy: Okay. So now, I am – I am the receptionist, I am the intake specialist on the phone and, you know, we’ve made a concerted effort here at our firm to, you know, we answer every single call on the first two rings and, you know, we’re using Avvo Ignite and I’m really into the product. Explain to me the user experience for me and how easy it is for the intake specialist to use this tool?
Puja: I mean simply put it’s really easy. We have really spent a lot of time making sure that any feature that we built within the product does pass, you know, a sort of usability and, you know, we want to make sure that the folks that we designed this product for can actually use it. And it has been designed by attorneys and their firms and built and, you know, appreciated by those the same audience.
For that intake specialist – what does the intake specialist or the attorney themselves, you know, they would expect a very simple to use interface. The number is very clear, if that phone number has been, you know, identified with a contact then you’re going to see that contact’s name appear. So, if we know that 555-1212 is John Doe’s phone number, John’s name is going to appear and, you know, you can see everything that comes with John you can say yes, you know, Nancy talked to John last week. You can see that John has completed an intake form, you can see that John has, you know, any notes that you placed with John. All of the information is in one place and the intake specialist or the attorney or anybody else in the office for that matter really can have visibility to exactly the information they need and also, that intake specialist can also assign that to somebody else within the firm.
So, that’s especially great for, you know, firms that have ten, fifteen, twenty people that becomes chaotic really quickly, but the ability to assign and then filter out to see exactly who you need to work with that day that time really just makes that a lot simpler.
Intake Academy: So this is simplifying on the back end and the internal operation of the firm as well not just all the front and marketing and intake stuff?
Puja: Yeah. One of the, you know, when you talk about is user experience, there’s always, you know, we build and design for what we hope and is really the most useful and easy way to interact? And, but one of the benefits that we get from user experience also is things that we would have never guessed, right? So we design and we do the best we can, but then what we learned from that is incredible. And one of the things that kind of have come in back to us over the past year is how much this has put a process in some firms that wasn’t there before and they didn’t realize that that was missing.
And just having that process that Ignite brings has also just boosted its popularity through, you know, throughout these firms as well.
Intake Academy: Wow. Okay. So, let me ask you this ‘cause I had mentioned earlier in our earlier conversation I want to share this. So the screening questions that an intake specialist has, those are actually those are showing up on their screen along with if you are able to gather the contact information of the caller, correct?
Intake Academy: Okay. And they can customize the screening questions inside of Avvo Ignite?
Puja: Yeah, absolutely.
Intake Academy: Okay. So, what I want to make a point of here is whether you’re doing it on paper right now, whether you’re doing it with an antiquated process, with a tool like this what it allows you to do is allows you to automate that and customize and build in this intake process so all of these stuff that we’ve been teaching you in terms of introduce, talk, acknowledge, confirm, and execute, all that stuff can be built in. The specific screening questions, all that stuff can – is built in right into this platform and then what you will get is you will get more consistency across the board and it will be easier for you to cross train people in your office.
So if Mary is not available and Mary takes, you know, seventy five percent or eighty percent of all your inbound inquiry calls, this is going to make that much easier for you to cross train your team and get that level of accountability that you want because it’s got a built in reporting and of course as we all know technology really allows us to scale and it allows us to leverage our time. So, I just want to make a really important point about that as it relates to this type of software application.
So that being said, Puja do you have any other words of wisdom, nuggets, information that you think will be very valuable for our listeners to have or advice for attorneys to be more successful?
Puja: You know I think we’ve kind of covered it, but I do want to reiterate that the, you know, these prospects are contacting, you know, and they do have options. And, you know, if they don’t know who they’re talking to, if they don’t know what exactly they are looking for, they do want – they do want to speak with somebody who understands their issues. And, you know, to be available and to make yourself known is really important and it’s just I mean it really – the intake process is so important to how a firm is run. It’s your first, you know, it’s the first impression that you make and to make sure that that is working in the best way possible is so critical to your business to your firm that, you know, something like Avvo Ignite or, you know, even if it is, you know, using post-it or Excel like whatever that is just – it is your first impression.
And, I think that’s what I hear you talking about, you know, I really do want your listeners to know that, so.
Intake Academy: Outstanding. Outstanding. Well, thank you so much. If somebody wants to get in touch with you and wants to learn more, what’s the best way for them to do that?
Puja: Sure. You can learn more about what Avvo Ignite offers through our website which is ignite.avvo.com. And if you also go to the website, there is a free trial that’s available as well.
Intake Academy: Okay. So, for those of you who are interested in doing a free trial, I recommend you take advantage of it.
Thank you so much, Puja for being on the call and we look forward to speaking with you at the next Avvo event.
Puja: Thank you.
Intake Academy: Okay.
[0:24:06] End of Audio