Lifting the lid: A live chat handler’s insights


Jess Leighton, Moneypenny

By Legal Futures Associate Moneypenny

Jess Leighton leads Moneypenny’s team of legal live chat handlers. Here she lifts the lid on the sort of conversations she and her team manage for more than 100  legal live chat clients and explains how to make live chat a successful customer care and lead capture tool.

What’s the best thing about your role?

I think the best thing about my role is seeing live chat grow and providing a vital service to our clients every day. Live chat has developed so much over the last few years and the most rewarding part is when legal firms say that we’ve helped them to secure a new client. 

Tell us something about your role that most people won’t know

All our live handlers manage multiple chats at the same time so I could be talking to three different people at once. It takes real skill to ensure that you maintain the right tone for each chat, share the right information and your responses are timely for each person. While we’re doing this, we might also be using our system to check where we should signpost people for more information, or finding the answers to FAQs so we can answer their questions knowledgably on the spot. There’s a lot of plates spinning at the same time, but it’s part of what makes the job so interesting and rewarding.

Tell us about some of the most difficult live chat conversations you’ve managed

There’s no one specific conversation that sticks in my mind, but I would say the majority of live chats we handle for legal clients are very sensitive.

We have lots of live chats when people’s loved ones have passed away and they need advice on how to collect their will, as well as from people who have very distressing medical negligence enquiries. It’s also a popular channel for people with concerns about family law and child matters. There are some occasions when people are angry or impatient, but we always find a resolution by being empathetic, responsive and clear about what will happen next.

People are a lot more willing to go into detail about their personal circumstances via live chat than over the phone. It’s something about typing rather than talking and people can be very open. This is very helpful as we’re able to capture that information so that when an enquiry is passed to a legal firm, they have a full picture on what that person needs and importantly how they feel. 

What’s been the most rewarding live chat conversation you’ve had to handle and why?

A few years ago at Christmas, a lady started a live chat because she needed advice about getting a divorce. While the chat started with lots of quite standard questions, she also shared the difficulties she had in her marriage and told me she’d be married for more than 35 years. I was very empathetic and made sure that my responses were human and heartfelt, but still professional and reassured her that the legal firm would help. The most rewarding part was that this lady said she’d never have reached out if it hadn’t been for live chat. Her husband was always at home, so she didn’t feel able to pick up the phone. The privacy and speed of live chat helped her to take some important steps forward. The legal firm came back to us a few days later to thank us for being so kind on the chat.


Have you noticed any trends emerging in legal live chats over the last year?

The legal sector has really embraced the value of live chat and I think the pandemic has played a big part in that. It showcased just how vital it was for businesses to stay in touch with clients. In many cases we’re providing 247 live chat support and helping firms to be friendly and accessible whenever their clients need it.

Over the last 12 months, most of our legal live chats have been in relation to divorce/children access, employment matters due to furlough and wills and probate, due to Covid. We’ve also seen a lot of personal injury/clinical negligence enquiries in the evenings when people tend to catch up on their life admin.

What is the one thing clients find the most surprising about live chat?

The biggest surprise continues to be just how much detail people go into over the chat. Live chat is a fantastic way of giving people the anonymity they need to discuss their specific circumstances and queries in detail.

Do people check you’re not a bot?

Every one of our team is asked daily if we are a robot on the live chat service! I completely understand why people feel the need to ask – they want to check they’re not getting automated replies and that their specific query is understood.  Some live chat users even test us too by asking maths questions, although within a few seconds it’s always clear that we are real people ready to help.

How can legal firms get the best out of live chat?

My top tips would be to really think about where the live chat function sits on your website. It’s great to have it on your homepage as this shows you’re ready to help visitors straight away, but it’s also useful to put it on  key service pages and to use it as a proactive pop-up to help stimulate chats and capture enquiries.

Finally, make sure that your live chat team – whether in-house or outsourced – is armed with as much information as possible. The more detail they have about FAQs, the different services you offer and pricing (where applicable) – the better quality chats they’ll have and the more leads you’ll capture.


Associate News is provided by Legal Futures Associates.
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