The Power of Human Interaction with Ted DeBettencourt


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Are you an attorney who is looking to generate more leads for your firm? In this engaging episode of the Maximum Lawyer Podcast, hosts Jim and Tyson sit down with Ted DeBettencourt from Juvo Leads. They delve into the nuances of chat services for law firms.

Law firms can benefit from having effective chat services. Many people will use chat services when they want to get quick answers. A successful chat service will turn general inquiries into physical clients walking through the door. A lot of chats are lost if bots are used to answer all questions, which is why it is good for general, repetitive answers. When a potential client wants more information, the chat needs to be handled by a live person.

There are a lot of challenges that law firms face when using chat services. One challenge is that many small firm owners do not use it themselves, so they believe it is not needed for their small business. But, Ted pushes back on firms to emphasize that using chat services will generate more leads for a firm, leading to more business.

Take a listen to learn more about chat services!

Jim's Hack: Read the book, Just Called People. The book goes into detail about the creation of iOS and the traction approach.

Ted Tip: Be more cognizant of the times between going to work and coming home. It is important to get mentally prepared to focus on family time and not think about work until the next day.

Tyson's Tip: An AI tool built into Adobe, which allows you to ask questions inside of the pdf document.

Episode Highlights:

  • 6:49 The concept of sales funnels 
  • 9:52 The significance of the top and bottom of the funnel
  • 15:51 Exploring the potential use of funnels for injury attorneys 
  • 22:15 Insights into the marketing techniques used by non-lawyers

Connect with Ted:


Transcripts: The Power of Human Interaction with Ted DeBettencourt

Jim (00:01.272)
Welcome back to the Maximum Lawyer Podcast. My name is Jim Hacking.

Tyson (00:06.382)
And I'm Tyson Mutrix. What's up, Jimmy?

Jim (00:09.08)
Tyson said my microphone wasn't loud enough, so now I'm making sure to speak with emotion and volume.

Tyson (00:21.774)
man you're yeah you're lagging again yeah it's you know it wasn't that it I guess it was quiet but it was kind of like I don't know it sounded like you were almost like in a bathroom in a way it was just kind of a weird but you moved out you moved it closer to yourself so you're you're good to go but how you doing man how you feeling?

Jim (00:38.712)
I'm feeling great, you wanna go ahead and introduce our guest?

Tyson (00:41.518)
I certainly do. Our guest today is Ted Bettencourt. Ted Bettencourt helps law firms get more leads in cases through his human powered message answering service, Juvo Leads. Real people answer law firms website chat, SMS messages, GBP messages, and LSA messages, turning those conversations into qualified leads in cases. Before co -founding Juvo Leads with his partner Nick Taylor, Ted ran a small legal marketing agency in Boston.

Ted was chat agent number one at Juvo Leads, first answering chats on his own clients' websites, to now have his chat team answer chats on over 1 ,100 websites around the country, and we'll ask some more about that. Ted, welcome to the show.

Ted DeBettencourt (01:26.777)
Yeah, thanks for having me guys. Long time fan, been in the Facebook group, kind of sneaking in there, watching the comments for a long time now. And what's the, is it meme Friday or is it meme Thursday? I always forget, but I'm always watching all those and trying to add when I can.

Jim (01:42.712)
It's meme Monday and man, there are some people, like when I see in my Facebook alerts that somebody, I know who it is, there's some people that post every Monday, like they have a bag of memes. It's crazy, I hardly ever look at it, but that's great. So Ted, tell everybody maybe about your journey, how did you get into chat, what's your law background, all that good stuff.

Ted DeBettencourt (01:51.513)
yeah. Yeah.

Ted DeBettencourt (02:03.353)
Sure. I went to law school in Cleveland in 2006, 2009, midway after my first year of law school. My writing teacher was like, Ted, I don't know if this is for you. I didn't really like what I was doing, so I said, you know what? I'll get the MBA as well. And got out and started working in legal marketing pretty quickly. Was working for a content farm out in Boston. I said, hey, everything you're doing, I can basically do on my own.

plus do SEO. So I worked there for about three months, then I kinda spun out from there, created my own agency. And by agency I mean, you know, one man shop, I was doing a little bit SEO, website building and content for clients. Learned it, Google Ads, all the fun stuff for kind of a small shop. From there, my clients started using chat. It was 2014, 2015, chat was kinda on the rise. There were a few big players in the market. And one of the problems is I had a client in Boston that,

He did PI, but he also did legal mal and bankruptcy. And the problem with legal malpractice is that everyone that loses a case thinks they want to sue their lawyer and they have a case. So the problem is with legal mal, you have to really filter those out. So it has to be a very tight situation, kind of like Med Mal. Like, you know, you only want a Med Mal case if it's death, dismemberment, or injury to your child for a lot of firms. So legal mal is kind of similar that, you know, one to 2 % of the leads are any good.

So I kept asking my chat companies, hey, I need you to not send me these junk leads. They say, yeah, yeah, we'll do that. We'll make those changes. No problem. And I was using a few of them at the time. I won't say their names. Some of them are still in the market. They're like, yeah, yeah, we'll make those change. We won't send you these bad ones. We'll really filter these for you. So they'd say that. And then a week later, the same thing was happening. Two weeks later, the same thing was happening. And I just have to keep going back to them. So my firms were yelling at me. And I was talking to the chat companies. And they were

promised me everything was gonna change and it never changed. So eventually I got frustrated and I said, hey, if you don't make this change, I'm gonna fire you and answer their own chats. They kind of said, yeah, yeah, sure you will. So I did just that, I fired them and started answering my own chats and answering them the way my firms wanted me to answer them. First thing we did, we answered chats a lot faster. So we really measured our speed to lead and speed to chat response. I know for firms, how fast you call back a missed call is, or a form submission,

Ted DeBettencourt (04:23.833)
is completely relevant to your likelihood of turning into a case. If you wait over five minutes, you're losing 50 % of them right then and there. So the same rules apply to chat. If it takes more than 30 seconds to reply to chat, you've already lost about 60 % of the chatters. So what we started doing is answering, I started answering chats really fast and I was filtering them out according to what my firms wanted. So when I did that after a few months, I was realizing my chat leads were going up 40, 50%.

And not only were they getting better, were they getting more leads, they were getting better leads. So they were more qualified leads. And qualified, if you don't know, in Latin is juvo. So kind of based on that concept, we said, you know what, maybe we'll try to make Chad like a thing for this agency and use it to get more legal clients. We tried that and that kind of pretty much failed. Couldn't get any more clients. I wasn't the greatest agency owner, if I'm gonna be perfectly honest.

but I was really good at getting more chat leads. So instead of having it be an add -on to my agency feature, service, I decided to spin it off as his own company. And so it started as me answering chats on my five, six, seven, eight clients in Boston slowly turned into us answering chats on about 1 ,100 sites around the country. So it turns out if you answer chats fast, you answer them well, and you do things that a few of the competition can't, you can really make it.

make a name for yourself in the chat world and get a lot more leads for your firms.

Tyson (05:53.71)
So you, it's funny, because we sent out a questionnaire to all of our guests, and the question we had asked, one of the questions we asked you was, there's like one thing that listeners can learn from, let's see, I want to make sure I read this correctly. If listeners only learn one thing from your interview, what would you want it to be? And you said, butts not bots, and you give an explanation. So,

I want to talk about that a little bit, but I also want to get your opinion on using bots to filter, but then humans to communicate. So because we, that's something we do, we use bots to filter and then we have live, we have our cares team that live chats with them. So give us your thoughts on bots, not bots, and then bots to filter and then bots to communicate.

Ted DeBettencourt (06:48.153)
Sure, so bots not bots is kinda the approach we take and it's not, we don't believe that robots as of right now, if you go in a chat and there's a bot company that tries to convince you that it's human, you're gonna have a negative experience. As soon as someone realizes they're chatting with a robot, if it's a bad lead, if that's your whole approach, we're gonna use a chat GBT powered or click A then B then C then D.

That's not as an empathetic of a solution as talking to a real person. As soon as people realize they're wrong with the bot, they lose the chat. So you're gonna lose a lot more chats when you use bots. And I say that, and I wish it wasn't true because a large percentage of my company's pay is to our chat agent. So if it was a lot easier and we would have more effect using robots, we'd do that in a heartbeat. But as of right now, it's still a lot more effective to have real people being the backbone of the chat.

of the chat environment. From a filtering method, there are a few ways to do it. So, there's generative AI and there's more kind of like the select A than B than C. So, any type of chat GPT as faking a person, people are still picking up on it. You can't, as of right now, if someone realizes they're chatting with a robot, they're gonna get frustrated and they're probably gonna leave. There are ways to do it using filtering tools where you don't have it.

fake like a person, but you have buttons to select. And I think you're seeing this more now on different chat companies on the market. So, you know, there's three or four buttons to start a chat, depending on what avenue you take. So maybe it's a PI firm that they want all their leads, but, you know, they have a friendly firm down the road that does bankruptcy. So if a button says, are you here for a PI matter or bankruptcy? They click bankruptcy. Well, that's not really a good lead, but that might be a lead that they could send off to their…

partnered, or their friend down the street. So if you use a filtering button to filter out the PI from the bankruptcy, it's not as good as having a person right then and there, but it's an effective solution from a cost perspective. So then you click that bankruptcy button, then basically a form pops up, they fill out that form. You're still getting bankruptcy leads, but you're not theoretically paying for them the same price that you would if you had a real human answer. So it definitely can work, it's just…

Ted DeBettencourt (09:11.193)
It's all in the devil's end of the details with that. It's making sure the balance is right and that you're not showing a robot to your top leads.

Jim (09:20.92)
How far out do your chat agents take the, do they actually do the signups and send a contract out of chat or how far do they go?

Ted DeBettencourt (09:30.041)
Yeah, so it really depends. It's everything what the firm wants. So we'll find out from the firm exactly how far they want us to take it. Everyone's a little bit different. So we have seven ways we get leads to firms. We email them, we text them, we can call them if it's during business hours. I know everyone calls that something different. We call it Fast Isle. We can book consultations right on their calendar. We can add it to their CRM. It comes to our dashboard. They say we schedule it. Yeah, we can schedule it. And then lastly,

depending on the circumstance, we can sign retainers for them right then and there. So usually for retainers, we usually have a different set of standards for retainer signing versus a regular lead. So maybe we'd send them a lead for a car accident within their state within two years. But if it happened within 90 days and there were physical injuries and they weren't at fault and they got in an ambulance and they were the ones that was injured, the person chatting, then we could offer to sign a retainer right then and there for them.

Tyson (10:29.358)
I'm so curious. I wanted to ask this earlier and I should have asked it earlier, but like what drew you to this profession? I know that you had some experience doing it, but like what made you want to go all in? Because I mean, you have gone all in. I mean, you started the company and everything else. Like what was it that drew you to this? And I guess I'll add a follow up to that as well. Like does AI concern you at all when it comes to the butts versus bots?

Ted DeBettencourt (10:59.929)
Sure. Let me just the first one first. So honestly, it was I was ticked off. So one of the things that one of the big companies does and I'm not going to say their name, but they're owned by a billion dollar company. So I'm kind of punching up a little bit because they're billionaires and I'm not. Is one of the things they would do on the chat is when I look at my chat on mobile, they would take this big bar that said chat with us and block my phone bars.

So on all my mobile sites that I'd make for my clients, I'd put a mobile sticky bar. So when you scroll down on the website, the phone bar was there so it's easy to call, you know, set up with call tracking, call roll, all that stuff. But as soon as I put chat on, chat would block that phone number. So I'd have to like call them and say like, take the phone bar down, you're not getting me more leads, you're just stealing my phone calls. Because now someone that wants to call can't, and that really ticked me off. It was like, all right, so you're making me pay more for leads that would have called but can't because you're blocking my phone bar.

So that was kind of one of the impetus and I realized like, hey, if this is ticking me off, there's gonna be a heck of a lot of other SEOs that aren't aware of it or aware of it and shouldn't be happy with it. So that was kind of the impetus and realizing like, hey, the companies that are out there that are answering chats are doing some things that are kind of shady. And they're still doing other shady things to this day. Like there's one of the companies out there that they take your leads and if they don't think that you want them, they sell them to other firms. So.

They even put it on their website. There's a lot of articles about it. Mockingbird does a great article about it. It was Engage Selling Your Leads. They're selling them to up to 10 different firms at once. And I realized, hey, if these guys at the time are the market dominators and they're doing these shady things, there's an opportunity to serve this market better and faster. And that's kind of what inspired me to do it and what's been driving us to this day.

Tyson (12:51.598)
So I want to say something and I don't know if the engages here punch it up at, but it doesn't matter. Something that engages done for years that has frustrated the hell out of me is they'll call and they'll say, Hey, so we've been working with Jim hacking and we want to talk to you about the engage project. And that's what they do. Or they would say that was like their line. It was always their line for years. Or they would say, they would like to say things are pretty misleading about like having a case. We want to talk to you about some cases that we have with Jim.

Ted DeBettencourt (13:15.129)
Mm -hmm.

Tyson (13:21.504)
hacking. Like they would say things like that and like that that really pissed me off and I would like for me I would never work with them. I just it's one of those things I just really aggravated the hell out of me.

Ted DeBettencourt (13:32.409)
Yeah. And I, they're a billion dollar company. I don't mind punching up and like, they're a lot smaller than they were on the chat side, but like there are a lot of other companies that are like our size or smaller. I'm not going to, everyone is out here trying their best, but them in particular, well, they able to do stuff like that. It would just tick me off. And I, I hear you and I've heard other agency owners say like very similar things that they, they'll tell the firm they're working with the agency and then they use that as just like way to get in the door to talk to someone. And then it's like, well,

Now you're talking to the firm and you gotta tell them that you were lying? Like that's not a good way to start a relationship.

Ted DeBettencourt (14:09.498)
You had another question. I forget the part two there, Tyson. Sorry.

Tyson (14:13.774)
it was a… I'll let Jim ask his question and then I'll follow up with the next one.

Jim (14:27.16)
Should I go? I couldn't hear what happened. Should I go? Okay. What do lawyers get wrong when they think about chat?

Tyson (14:30.286)
Yeah, go ahead, Jim.

Ted DeBettencourt (14:39.097)
Depends on the size of the firm. A lot of the smaller firms think, do I want chat or do I not? And they say, well, I don't like interacting with chat. So if you're a smaller firm and you're not really digging into the numbers as much and you're kind of going off your gut, for the smaller firms, the message I get back is, well, I don't use chat myself. It's like, all right, great, this doesn't really matter. So I always try to turn the conversation, well, you don't like chat, but you like what it gets you.

and you put chat on a website and you get 50 % more leads day one. So if you have no chat on a website, you put chat on, we do a lot of A -B tests and we have a bunch of case studies that we always show off on this. You have no chat on a website, then you put chat on, your total lead volume goes up 50%. So the question isn't do you like chat? The question is do you like what chat gets you? And that's 50 % more qualified leads. So that's a pushback I always get. And then the second thing for the bigger firms that are more number centric, it's where your chat's coming from. So a lot of…

you know, all the chat companies can do the same things for the most part. They answer chats on your website. Some can do retainers. Some can do GBP messages. Us and pretty much everyone else now is doing SMS messages. But our big differentiator now has been we answer LSA messages. So that's a huge impact for law firms leads. So by answering messages from LSA, you actually get a ton more phone calls.

So what we're doing now is saying, okay, well, you're getting the website leads from your current chat company, you're getting the SMS, maybe even the GBPs, and maybe they're inside retainers just like we do, but what percent of your leads right now are coming from LSA? And if they're saying, well, 10%, I say, well, you might wanna make that 20, wanna make that 30%, we can help make that accurate or make that happen by answering the LSA messages, and no one else in the market can do that.

Tyson (16:29.038)
That's pretty good. I should not have asked you the compound questions, but the follow -up question I had to the one before was AI. Are you concerned about AI at all at this point?

Ted DeBettencourt (16:46.969)
Am I concerned? We were when it came out and you know when everyone was talking about chat GPT and you couldn't have a conversation in a coffee shop and not bring it up. That's kind of died down a little bit. So the question is more to your first question. Am I afraid that it's going to take over maybe at some point but as of right now it's not. You can't fake a human. Will people be able to augment their existing chat with things like writing the summaries using AI. Things like summarizing and opening.

having different buttons to click to get to a real person and having robots use beyond the less effective traffic. Yes, that's probably a reality and probably is happening as we speak. But I don't think it's going to happen in the sense that, or at least in the next three to five years, in the sense that it will replace humans answering chats. There'll always be a place for humans, at least for the next three to five years as we see it. But there are ways to use AI to help supplement.

and speed things up or deal with some of the lesser valuable chats.

Jim (17:54.552)
I'm interested, I guess your chat responders are just sort of working out of their house. You don't have like a little factory where all the chatters are, do you?

Ted DeBettencourt (18:04.537)
No, we just wanted, we thought we were on that route, but like reality is like we, the greatest day of my life as a company was the day we hired our first chat agent. Like answering those chats around the clock 24 seven, like it was like, it got a lot. So we just kind of started with hiring people online. We got lucky with our first few hires and then we didn't really have all these processes in place. So, you know, hire one went well, but then we started creating rules and systems. And our big thing is that,

We grade every chat that comes in on a 10 point scale. So where agents are hired, fired, paid, promoted, demoted based on their bi -weekly chat score. So I know we lose a little bit of the culture by not having like a call center, a center location, but we kind of do that as a company. We're remote, my partner's remote, everyone works remote for us. And so is our chat team. But we can do that because we have really, really tight controls. Like if a chat goes bad for whatever reason, we know about it.

before the end of the shift, we're dealing with that agent. And if it's a training concern, we train, we address it from a training perspective. If it's another issue, we address it that way. But we do have a lot of controls in place. And it's, you know, you can't do that with all businesses, but thankfully, chat's pretty simple. Say the right thing, say it fast. Can we measure if they're saying it fast? Absolutely. Can we measure if we're saying the right thing? Yes, we just see if they're following the script. And base score is based on that.

Jim (19:30.456)
How many chats can someone have going on at a time? Like what's realistic and then how do you, talk to us about how you oversee the chat people. I'd love to know about that. Well, because we're getting ready to bring in chat in -house for our intake team. And so I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on that.

Ted DeBettencourt (19:49.017)
Sure. A few people have brought it in -house that we, you know, talked to, tried reaching out to Morgan and Morgan a few times, they brought it in -house. I love sending him videos and taking a, doing a chat on his website. I won't do this for other small companies, but you know, I think John got the cash to float a chat or two. So I'll take a video of his chat team responding and seeing how long they take. They have 30, 40, 50 second gaps in those chats. When you take that long, that means you're losing dollars.

Every time it takes you 30 seconds to respond to a message, you've lost about 40 % of your visitors. So you can't take that long. Dollars equals time. So when you have those gaps, it means you're losing money. So from an overall perspective, if you're doing in -house, measure the time it takes to respond for each agent, for each chat. If you're not doing that, or if you're having chat agents do other things, they're gonna prioritize doing other things, because chats are gonna come in 24 -7.

So if you'll bring it in -house, make sure you have 24 -7 coverage and make sure that's a primary thing they're doing because they'll do anything but answer those chats that come in around the clock when they're in the middle of an email. So if you're bringing it in -house, measure, measure, measure, time to response is the number one thing you should be looking at and need to look at. Part two on that, how many chats can answer? Typically one. We always have overflow rules, so we always have to staff above and beyond.

what we expect for that day. But if sometimes our expectations aren't met, we do have chat agents that are handling more than once at a time. That's usually just because of overflow. And then within an hour, we have our OT team jumping on and offering overtime to our chat agents who love to take it.

Tyson (21:29.646)
Good stuff, love it. I think that last little bit is worth the episode because there's a lot of great information there, so awesome stuff, Ted. We are gonna start to wrap things up. Before I do, Ted, if people wanna reach out to you about Juvo, how do they get in touch with you?

Ted DeBettencourt (21:44.697)
Come to our website, Juvo, J -U -V -O, Leeds, L -E -A -D -S, and start a chat on our website. You can find out more about our service and book time on my calendar if you're interested in trying us for yourself. And our big thing is we give a free 30 -day trial. So try us on the website, try us free for 30 days, and see how effective we can be for you before you make a buying decision.

Tyson (22:06.414)
stuff. Alright, for everyone else, if you want to join us in the big group, big Facebook group, we'd love to see you. Just search Maximum Lawyer on Facebook, you'll be able to find us there. If you're interested in coming to one of our quarterly masterminds in the Guild, go to maxlawguild .com. We did open up Charlotte for non -guild members, for anyone interested, but the tickets are gonna be very, by the time you hear this, it may be sold out, but hopefully…

You can join us if you want to come. And while you're listening to this, the rest of this episode, Jim and I would love it if you would give us a five star review. That way we can help spread the love to other attorneys and law firm owners across the country. All right, Jimmy, what's your hack of the week?

Jim (22:49.24)
So for me, I have been critical of EOS in the past of not having a good people component. And I think ultimately I didn't understand it. The people behind EOS and Gina Wickman, they have a new book out just called People. So if you go to Amazon and look for EOS People book, I finally understand what the traction approach is to working with team members. And I think it's solid. So if you are looking for help in trying to get everyone.

that does a really good straight line through of how to get buy -in and how to find the right people and how to test whether or not the people that you have are the right fit for your firm. So people, just go to EOS Peoplebook and it's pretty good.

Tyson (23:33.902)
very very good I know that that's something that's always kind of I don't know bothered you but something that you've wanted for a while so really cool all right Ted so we always ask our guests to give a tip or a hack for us it could be a book it could be a podcast could be a quote you you name it what do you got for us?

Ted DeBettencourt (23:50.201)
Sure. Well, I've been really putting a lot of effort into kind of work life balance and not so much working less, but really spending time and effort trying to master the time when I get home and the time when I put the kids to bed. So just putting a lot of time into there. I really feel like it's made my work life a lot better just cause I know I kick butt in the mornings, do everything I need to do with the kids, with the wife, get them happy and do the same thing at night when I get home. So I'm just kind of really being a lot more cognizant and focusing on, on that hour window, leaving the house or you know,

getting ready to work in that hour coming back and having everyone get settled in with that time of day. So just putting a lot of effort there has really made my life a lot better.

Tyson (24:29.998)
For my tip of the week, it's something that we were talking about AI, so I'll mention an AI tool that's built into Adobe. And I don't know if it's based on the plan, but for those of you that don't know about it, on the right side of the window when you're in a PDF in Adobe.

if it, let's say it's a bunch of medical records or a contract or something, you can ask the AI questions inside of the PDF. It's pretty cool. So for anyone that has not used that, and I know there's a lot of Mac users that may not use Adobe because you got built -in preview and everything else, but Adobe is pretty cool. They're trying to, you can tell that they're trying to…

when it comes to the video products, when it comes to their PDF products, trying to implement AI as much as possible. I think they're playing catch up, but they are trying pretty hard. And that tool is really, really helpful when you're trying to find certain information about a PDF. So really cool. So check it out. Ted, thanks so much for coming on. Appreciate it. Good luck with Juvo. And hopefully people will reach out to you if they're interested.

Ted DeBettencourt (25:34.265)
Thank you very much. Yeah, thanks guys. It was a pleasure.

Jim (25:35.576)
Thanks, Ted.

It was great, buddy.

Tyson (25:40.11)
You bet. Thanks guys.

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