From Baylor Basketball to Legal Live Chat

by Mark Shepherd, President of Ngage Live Chat  

Out of high school, I was a tall, skinny white kid who couldn’t shoot.  

Not exactly a top basketball recruit.  

I walked on at Baylor, which had just had one of the worst scandals in NCAA history. The program was at an all-time low, which meant I had an immediate opportunity to play in the Big XII conference. I worked my tail off, earned a scholarship the next year, and developed into the team’s scrappy defender who would guard players like Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin, and LaMarcus Aldridge. I still wasn’t a great shooter, but loved to compete. I led the team in plus/minus, a stat that tracks how your team is doing when a certain player is in the game.  

I was named team captain my senior year, and our team made the NCAA tournament for the first time in 20 years. 

I just read Michael Mogill’s book, The Game Changing Attorney, and that is my story he encourages us to tell.  

I rarely tell that story, but Michael suggests we all need to get a little uncomfortable. It absolutely plays a role in terms of the mindset that sets Ngage Live Chat apart from the competition today.  

After school, I was the first ever sales rep for Ngage and started off painfully cold-calling attorneys and learning how we might be able to help them. I am now President of Ngage, where we work alongside thousands of law firms, and have converted over 5 million live chats on their behalf.  

I encourage our team at Ngage to compete in their own way every day. 

In the book, Michael says, “The worst experience you can give to any of your clients is the same experience they can get anywhere else.” I love that.  

Like video, there are thousands of live chat companies out there and it is not a new technology. Nearly all are cheaper. We take pride in being the experts in legal live chat, especially from a conversion standpoint. There is a lot at stake. As soon a client adds Ngage to their website, we can help make an immediate impact in terms of leads generated, number of new clients, and revenue. Ultimately, our chat operators are on the front lines in terms of representing a law firm professionally, and in many cases they are the first step in helping a visitor who may be facing a critical legal situation.

If your firm has a fantastic website, video strategy, and marketing campaign, but your intake services are sub-par, you have a have a big hole in your net. The Game Changing Attorney states, “There’s a lot of content out there, and you’re fighting for people’s attention…One study even found that the average person has a shorter attention span than a goldfish.”

Once you have that small window of attention, effective live chat can help snag the visitor before they go to your competitor. It can warm them up to the point where they are ready to take the next step, which is talking with the firm or intake team directly on the phone.

Michael also advises readers to A/B test everything. At Ngage, we welcome what is called “The Ngage Challenge” versus a current or suggested chat provider. Basically, the firm pays no additional fees during the test, and at the end we compare numbers to see which service delivered superior results. This is as competitive as it gets, and Ngage consistently doubles — many times triples — the conversion rate of other providers. 

The Game Changing Attorney makes it clear how effective video is in terms of getting consumers to take action.  

Effective live chat has proven to complement that. 

Many firms have gotten creative with live chat calls to action within their video strategy. For example, we have all seen the clickable links at the end of a YouTube video. For some firms, we have set up that link to immediately launch a live chat window on behalf of the firm. Other firms have made the call to action a textable number, and have their Ngage operators standing by to reply via text 24/7. These firms will always start by placing live chat on their existing websites and landing pages to capitalize on the marketing investment they are already marking.  

Whatever your firm’s specific strategy may be, effective live chat can help reduce the touches required to get a consumer to make a buying decision. This can result in more opportunities and more clients in a market full of competition.

And as my story demonstrates, those who love to compete usually find a way to come out on top.


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