7 Challenges of Getting a Class For a Class Action Lawsuit & Secrets to Overcome Them
By Howard Schulman
In order to prosecute a class action or mass tort lawsuit successfully, legal teams and their marketers need to enroll clients in the suit. While the internet has enabled attorneys to reach a broader audience, it has also made the process more challenging in some respects as competition for clients, limited attention and client skepticism have emerged as new barriers.
This article identifies 7 key barriers attorneys and law firms face that prevent clients from joining class actions. It also touches on some proven techniques, such as e-signatures and e-forms, to overcome those barriers.
1. Reaching the Correct Audience
The first challenge is reaching the potential members of the class without spending money on those who do not qualify.
While traditionally, legal teams have invested in traditional media like magazine ads and billboards, Internet ads are a growing portion of advertising. They are enabling legal teams to target the exact audience for their class. That said, there are still challenges in reaching specific audiences. For instance, in the recent MyFord Touch lawsuit, it is easy to find Ford owners, but not all people who purchase Ford vehicles received the MyFord Touch system.
Finding the people harmed by the defendants requires creativity and testing. To reach the victims on major ad networks, like Google, requires teams to focus on their pain points so your ads can target the phrases they are searching for. To reach people through social media and display ads, you need to figure out what sets your class apart from the larger demographic.
2. Convincing a Class Member to Visit Your Website
Finding your audience is only the first step. Your ads need to move customers to take action. The first point is often visiting your web site for more information about the action. To be effective, your ad must peak the potential client’s curiosity and provide them with enough information to click away from the page they are already on.
For example, when people are purposely searching for a solution on Google, they expect ads. So legal teams just need to convince them to visit your site over another one. But in other forums, internet ads are interruptions - taking customers away from their natural browsing or social media behavior. To be more effective in search ads, use urgency, social proof and curiosity. For other interruption ads, best practices point to multimedia format, educational content and personal stories. While there is no one ad formula, you can often get inspiration for effective ads from other advertisers, even from other categories.
3. Getting a Website Visitor to Engage Your Firm
Once you get a class member to your website, you need to provide a way for them to contact you for more information. Successful ads bring visitors to a webpage that will directly address the class member’s concerns and peaks their curiosity about how you can help them. Creating the pages that turn web visitors into prospects is a combination of art and science.
The pages visitors land on must provide a way for the prospect to take the next step. Common methods include providing them with a toll free number to call, enticing them to fill out a web form, or engaging them with a live chat or chatbot.
4. Fighting Class Action Stereotypes
Companies and defense attorneys have created doubt about the class action process. On the one hand, they push messages into the media about class members who ended up with only token settlements while their attorneys made millions. On the other hand, they have spread the idea that people who sue are greedy and do not take responsibility for their own choices.
So, convincing those who have a real injury to sign on to a class action suit poses a challenge in and of itself. That means you have to provide both emotional and logical reasons why joining the class makes sense for the potential client.
5. Re-engaging Visitors Who Click Away
Even the best landing page will not convince all visitors to leave their information. In fact, typical conversion rates range between one to three percent. But, because of the value in securing clients for your class, it makes economic sense to pursue these prospects repeatedly.
It’s important to understand that your outreach may be the first time the class member has considered suing. Most clients will need time to consider their options before making a decision. So, passing on your contact offer does not mean they are not interested.
That’s why you need to follow up and provide further information. In the past, this meant starting all over with your ad campaign. But developments in advertising technology allow you to show new ads to people who came to your web page but did not take the desired action.
6. Getting Class Members to Choose You
The next challenge is getting prospects to choose your firm over other attorneys targeting the class. Given there are typically multiple firms pursuing the class, this makes it important to provide timely, convincing and easy ways to join the class.
Of course, this is easier when the lawsuit is new. But as more attorneys get involved in gathering members of the class, information fatigue sets in. Every potential client becomes inundated with lawsuit appeals - for instance, who hasn’t been bombarded with Asbestos lawsuit ads for years?
7. Following Up with Potential Class Members
When a prospective client indicates they are interested in joining the class, you need to contact them quickly and ensure your qualification process is timely, thorough and effortless.
Not only must you provide them with the specific information they need in order to join the class, but you must qualify, register and gather information to support their joining the class. If your followup system are dependent on antiquated systems like phone calls, snail mail or cluttered email, its likely your firm will be losing client opportunities -even after your marketing team has convinced them to engage with you.
Therefore, you need to make sure there is no leakage in your followup system. If you or your office staff are following up, you need to make sure the phone calls happen quickly even though there is pressing legal work to do. If you have a call center doing the followup, you need to ensure they are following best practices so all leads are contacted.
If prospects do not sign up on the first call, you need to have a system in place to keep in touch. It’s a good idea to use multiple forms of contact such as phone calls, email, and even mail.
Critical Interventions To Boost Class Intake Rates
Once a member of the class has chosen you, make it easy for them and you to complete the retainer and intake information. Too many potential clients and class members back out when they find the process difficult or cumbersome. Below are two tips on how to increase the class intake rate.
1. Simplify Signing On to A Class
The best designed sign up systems ask for only the needed information for the member to retain you and two or three ways to contact the new client. Other information such as detailed descriptions of the harm and documents like medical records can be obtained after you have a signed retainer.
To simplify intake, you should use simple form filling and digital signature programs that enable customers to sign up easily, even from their mobile phone. Without a completed form and signature, members cannot join the class. Here it’s critical to that a simplified signature process is embedded to capture member interest. Don’t ask the new client to print out forms, fill them out, sign them, scan them, and then email or fax them back to you.
In an environment where customers are impatient and distracted, having them pinch, zoom and squint on their mobile phone doesn’t work. Forms must be designed for mobile phones with smart fields that leverage predictive typing and prepopulation. These capabilities remove the barrier to filling in forms and ensure they are completed easily the first time.
In addition to putting additional technology barriers in place thus reducing response, it is likely that your new client lacks the technology in his or her home to complete the task. If they must go outside their home to access the technology, they may decide to quit before they’ve begun.
To support this instantaneous onboarding, leading class action firms have introduced in-call documentation and signatures that allow customers to complete forms and intake while speaking with a rep in real time. Thanks to this technology, they have seen their completion rates double, while their turnaround time slashed.
2. Ensure Proper New Client Onboarding
It is not unusual for a client to have “buyer’s regret” after completing the retainer. They may have considered another attorney before settling on your office and now wonder whether they made the right choice. Perhaps they are concerned that the lawsuit is going to take too much time, require too much exposure, or re-open old wounds.
In order to keep members in your class once they have retained you, it is important to have an onboarding process in place. It should serve both to reinforce the idea that the client has made the right decision and to collect additional information needed for the lawsuit.
The onboarding process should let the client know about the next steps. This should include details about the work you are doing on their behalf, the best ways to contact your staff, and what additional information or documents you need from them. You should provide an estimated timeline for the work you are doing and deadlines for the things you need from them.
The onboarding process should also help you manage expectations. Let the client know that their lawsuit is important, but the process is slow and may take unexpected turns. Tell the client you care about them and will communicate important information to them, but you have a process for doing so that is efficient so as to minimize their costs and anxieties.
In order to keep members from dropping out, you need to onboard them properly.
Overcoming Challenges to Signing Up a Class
To prosecute a class action or mass tort lawsuit successfully, your team needs to complete a series of timely, but involved tasks. Those range from finding members, getting them to respond to your ads to having them complete the qualification and signing procedures.
Best-in-class firms streamline their lengthy and complex processes by using digital solutions to automate stages onboarding including leveraging simplified forms and digital signatures. These digital solutions are proven to improve the sign-on rate and enlarge the class, and ultimately, justice and reward.
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