Growing your firm is crucial regardless of the law services you offer. Most law firms' growth is hindered by weakening legal services demand and competition from other law firms. In most cases, firms increase the associates' salaries and leave little to no money to expand their business. Attracting new clients to your business is key to growth. But the ability to capture new clients depending on how you treat your potential and current clients. Having a professional answering service for your law firm helps you respond to client needs easily and fast, and it also creates solid customer service.
Overview of Legal Answering Services
Having a law firm can be demanding. The commitment, energy, and time spent to run a successful law firm area are strenuous. Just like any other successful business, a customer's first impression of your business and how you handle them when they approach you matters a lot. You may be losing 2-3 clients a day or even more when the office telephone goes unanswered.
Hiring an answering service is the best way to ensure that no call goes unanswered. A professional answering service offers agents who make and answer calls as well as the medium of communication. This gives you time to focus on the pending work without worrying about incoming calls and queries.
The Core Features of an Answering Service
The services offered by answering services often vary, but most answering services provide:
- Message taking — This includes capturing all the information that the clients send in. The customer service personnel then forward it to the appropriate party at the law firm.
- Offers professional Live answers — This service is usually available 24/7. A live person will respond to all incoming calls and provide relevant guidance. They answer common questions and connect the client to the available lawyer for further assistance.
- Overflow call answering — From time to time, you will experience a spike in the incoming calls. Having live customer personnel on overflow will give incoming calls attention even when the main lines are in use.
- After-hours answering — Your law firm will likely receive calls even late at night after office hours. An answering service ensures a live customer care representative even when the office is closed to receive incoming calls and offer guidance.
- Call recording — Legal receptionists record calls to avoid missing important details for later use.
- Appointment setting — Legal answering service set appointments and appointment reminders to avoid no-shows or cancellations.
Benefits of a Legal Answering Service
Legal answering services give you time to focus on other essential responsibilities like court hearings, dealing with present clients, and handling paperwork without worrying about incoming calls. Below are some of the significant benefits of hiring an answering service for your legal firm:
- Affordable and flexible services — An in house legal receptionist comes with various limitations. For instance, the receptionist can only work for several hours, which could be inconvenient since law firms receive calls any time of the day/night. There are also days when the receptionist will feel unwell and fail to report to work. It is also challenging to find a suitable and experienced person for the specific role. Hiring an answering service for your law firm guarantees flexible services at a friendly cost because answering services offer 24/7 services.
- Ensures Service Availability Around the clock — As a lawyer, you are likely to spend extra hours in the office trying to get your paperwork done, answer questions from prospective clients, and schedule appointments and court sessions.
There are days when you will have urgent and demanding tasks that you need to review and work on before the deadline. At the same time, some clients have emerging issues and need to communicate with you urgently. You may have an in-house receptionist, but most do not work past the working hours. Having an answering service ensures that no call goes unanswered and that all callers get the help and guidance they need. They will also respond to any incoming messages, which helps you build trust with your current and potential clients.
- Offers live Response to Callers — In most cases, when callers call law firms, they usually need urgent help, and most will hang up when they hear an automated message or a voicemail. No matter how busy you are, every caller deserves to get the best services. Remember, the first impression matters a lot, and having a live response is a great way to create rapport and win more clients.
- It helps you avoid missing opportunities — To ensure that your business grows, it is essential to be on the lookout for every chance to win a new client. Hiring an answering call service helps you avoid losing potential clients and avoid inconveniences since clients can always confirm their booking and court hearings.
- It helps you stay connected — when you have a professional legal answering service, you do not have to always go back to check at the missed calls and the unread messages. With an answering service, you will always be up to date with each client's cases and needs. This also helps during the court session since you cannot answer or respond to a client during a court hearing.
- Offer services on demand — During the bust days or holidays when your staff are either busy or not at work, answering service comes in handy.
- Confidentiality assurance — Most cases involving a lawyer are always sensitive. It is crucial to keep all client's information private, and having an answering service helps you avoid sharing the information with a third party and maintain confidentiality. Answering service staff are professionally trained on how to keep client's information private and confident.
- Creates reliable partnerships — You can easily create a close and reliable relationship with the answering service when you work closely. They will understand the type of cases and call you to prioritise and learn how to handle different situations according to the firm's policies. This will save you the time and energy of training new staff from time to time.
- Offers Answers to routine questions — You are likely to get bored of answering the same basic questions repeatedly. An answering service can answer some of these questions, like the location of your firm and the services you offer, before forwarding the call to the available lawyer.
- Helps you identify what your business is missing — Most callers call a law firm when they are in need and need an urgent solution to their problem. Not all calls fall in the business working hours, others call in the middle of the night, and you may not be aware of the number of clients you lose when the phone is voicemail or goes unanswered—having an answering service ensure that you offer guidance to every caller and this increases your chance of acquiring new clients.
- Offers Priority Access — When you hire an answering service, each legal staff can note down the type of calls they want to know with the immediate effect depending on the urgency. This ensures that urgent calls are handled with urgency and that no emergency is ignored. Remember, there is stiff competition in the legal field, and clients will likely seek another option immediately if their needs are not handled with the urgency they deserve. It is essential to handle priority cases promptly to reduce the chance of losing clients and prospects.
- Helps you Advertise your services — Most law firms spend a lot of money on advertising. You can cut this cost by hiring an answering service. Most answering service staff offer creative and affordable advertising packages.
- Reduces Interruptions — Being a lawyer is demanding, and you hardly have time for yourself because you are attending court sessions, handling paperwork, or speaking to clients. It is hard to offer sufficient guidance to callers. Having an outsourced answering service helps you focus on your schedule and still have clients on call satisfied. Thus you do not have to interrupt your schedule, and no call goes unanswered.
- Increases the chances of Getting referrals — The benefits of having an answering service for your law firm are all connected in one way or another. When you answer calls on time and offer prompt guidance, your clients are likely to refer their family and friends to you because of your exceptional services.
- Preempt completion — Most callers seeking legal guidance are always in a rush, and they lack time to look around and often go with the first firm that responds positively. As long as you offer a positive first impression, any caller will be willing to try your services. An answering service will ensure this and help you stay on top of the game.
- Gives you peace of mind — Lawyers also need a break from their work to avoid being fatigued and to be able to give their clients the best. Hiring an answering service helps improve your mental health as well as your legal practices. Knowing that all incoming calls are well taken care of, you will have less stressful days and will be able to enjoy time away from the office.
What to Look for When Hiring an Answering Service for Your Law Firm
After you have decided to hire an answering service, the next step should be to determine the answering service that suits your firm best. Different companies have different strengths, but these are some of the things you should consider when choosing an answering service that will benefit your company:
- Cost — Hiring an answering service is cost-effective compared to having an in-house receptionist. It is advisable to hire a company that charges a reasonable amount and saves you money compared to hiring a receptionist.
- Availability — Emergencies happen at different times, and it is essential to have a live person on set to receive any incoming calls and respond to messages. A caller will likely contact another law firm once their call goes unanswered. To avoid losing potential clients, hire an answering service that offers services 24/7, 7 days a week. Most professional answering services work on weekends and public holidays at no extra cost.
- Training — Different answering services are managed and run differently. Finding a company that has professionally trained employees is essential for your business. Find a company that has employees specifically trained to answer legal calls. Note that this will be the face of your firm once a person calls, so it is essential to have a well-trained staff answer your calls.
- Bilingual — While it is vital to have an answering service with English speaking staff, it is also essential to find a bilingual company. This will help you not lose clients due to language barriers. Spanish is the second most spoken language in the United States, and two out of ten of the callers may not fully understand English.
- Efficiency — It is essential to hire an answering service with a plan and system to use when handling urgent messages and calls. They should also have a system that keys in the caller's details and stores them in one place so you won't have to struggle to look for specific numbers.
- Size — It is essential to hire a company with many receptionists to ensure enough people handle all the incoming calls. This way, you won’t have to worry if your client’s calls are being answered.
- Customisation — It is crucial to hire a company that understands that every law firm is different and has various preference options for you to choose from. This way, you will decide how you want to receive your calls and messages and how you want to communicate with your clients. You should also let them know which calls require an urgent response and the ones that can wait.
Find a Attorney Answering Service Near Me
The current world is fast-paced, and it is vital to ensure that you hire an answering service that will help you grow your business. When choosing an answering service, you are not only ensuring that the calls are constantly monitored, you are also giving your business a chance to expand and gain more clients. Invest in an answering service that suits your business the best.