Chat is an extremely popular method of communication for consumers on the web and for good reason. According to a report commissioned by Ubisend, 51% of consumers say a business needs to be available 24/7.
Consumers love chat because it enables them to remain anonymous, they don’t have to wait on hold, and it requires minimal investment of time among other benefits.
No matter what chat service attorneys use, having multiple lines in the water for consumer communication is a wise strategy. When you give people options for communicating with your firm, they are more likely to contact you.
As far as chat for lawyers, there are a number of players to choose from. Below is a break down we’ve prepared of the two leading chat providers for attorneys (Apex and Ngage).
It compares pricing, features, and other factors in an easy-to-read table.
|Apex Chat||Ngage Chat|
(add $100 to include Spanish setup)
|Cost per lead (Criminal Defense and Personal Injury)||$20||$35|
|Cost per lead (other practice areas)||$15||$35|
|A/B Chat Testing|
|Google Analytics integration|
|Exit popup||*$50 one-time setup fee|
At the time of this writing, Apex is also willing to waive the setup fee if a prospect is moving from a competitor.
This is instant-messaging functionality on a website that allows for virtually instantaneous communication with a company representative.
Many of us have used chat before and it’s typically denoted by popups, slide outs, or little bubbles that appear with automated greetings asking us if we need help.
Visitors typically enter their name, an email or some other basic information to begin the chat.
Chat allows website visitors to initiate a conversation with a company without having to call or send in a contact form, both of which have their own drawbacks.
Chat in the legal industry is relatively unique due to long-standing ethical concerns. For the most part chat was used by branches of customer service and sales in organizations that weren’t selling products and services as sensitive as legal representation.
Many organizations have found models for chat that work really well for attorneys. They do not cross the line by offering anecdotal legal advice to instant gratification-seeking consumers and the feature provides a helpful conduit through which visitors can ‘test the waters’ of dealing with a law firm.
Chat services for lawyers are unique because they often cannot staff it themselves. In fact such channels are less effective when they do.
Larger companies may have the staff and experience to handle their own chat programs but many law firms are typically composed of the attorneys that run them and perhaps a small staff.
In other words lawyers are focused on practicing law and do not have the time to answer chats making fully staffed chat services ideal.
Universal benefits of chat are often dependent on what a specific provider can offer. Here are some that are pretty common in the chat provider industry:
Consumers love it when things are easy. Chat enables them to anonymously and conveniently chat with law firms about their specific situation. They can do it at work without having to ‘check out’ of the office and they can do it from multiple different devices.
Unless you buy a stand-alone software program for chat, your provider is an extension of your firm.