Staying on top of phone calls can be a struggle in a busy law firm.
In fact research has shown that more than four in 10 calls to law firms go unanswered.
In an industry when business can be won and lost on reputation, failing to properly manage inbound calls can be a real problem for solicitors and law businesses.
The traditional answer has been to hire a full-time receptionist.
But with the costs involved, and the fact that law firms aren’t necessarily office based 100% of the time anymore, hiring a receptionist is less appealing.
Asking staff to handle calls is too inefficient because it drags them away from the jobs they’re meant to be doing and doesn’t resolve the problem of missed calls.
A better answer is to consider investing in a telephone answering service for law firms.
How can a telephone answering service help law firms?
1. Provide a professional, reliable service at all times
Calls to law firms are typically serious, sensitive or urgent in nature (sometimes all three).
So being professional and reliable at all times is a must. Any sign your firm isn’t reliable can alienate clients or result in lost customers.
A big part of this is answering and responding to call and enquiries as quickly as possible.
With no telephone answering resource, this can be problematic.
Staff could see an inbound call as more of an inconvenience than an opportunity to help a client or win new business.
The potential is they leave the call to ring in the hope someone else will deal with it.
Plus, if staff are stressed or busy when the answer the call it can be common to give the impression they’re annoyed at the caller – which doesn’t leave a great impression.
An office based receptionist can help here if you’re only dealing with one call at a time. But as any solicitor knows, calls rarely come through that way.
With a telephone answering service you have a dedicated resource to handle all your firm’s inbound calls, ensuring you always appear professional.
2. You won’t miss important calls outside normal hours
Not everyone who needs a solicitor’s services can call during the normal 9-5.
Having no out-of-hours call management can cost you business if clients need to call outside your regular business times, but how can you create a out-of-hours service without working additional hours yourself?
Some try an answering machine. But that doesn’t work for a variety of reasons.
First, a robotic voice answering the phone doesn’t give the personal service you’d expect from a solicitor’s office. Second, most callers don’t leave voice messages (or call back).
A telephone answering service gives you out-of-hours call management, without you needing to work extra hours.
Instead a team of virtual PAs can answer the phone and take messages, ensuring clients talk to real people and are given a personal, professional experience.
3. Scale your call management as your firm grows
When hiring a receptionist you’ll pay the same wage regardless of how many calls they answer.
During a slow period you’ll pay for more call management than you need (money that could be invested elsewhere).
If you go through a busy period your receptionist could struggle to keep up with the increased demand. And are you going to hire another receptionist or ask your team to answer the phone as well as complete their core jobs?
Plus, hiring a receptionist involves training them on how different calls are managed (which can take months for them to become confident).
Asking your team to handle any overflow distracts them from their work (and defies the point of hiring a receptionist).
A call handling service can just scale the amount of help you need.
Need more call handling? You can up the amount of call cover you use.
Demand falling? Just reduce the amount of service you need.
4. Avoid timewasters
Sales and nuisance calls are an inevitable part of office life.
Getting lots of these calls takes up too much time for your receptionist or team, and it starts to become a burden impacting your firm’s ability to work.
A telephone answering service can be a barrier between your business and these calls.
Your PAs can stop callers getting through, saving you and your team the hassle of dealing with them.
A call handling service for your law firm can also have you removed from sales lists, so you’ll get fewer spam calls over time.
5. Use your time more effectively
The average cost of a legal representative in the UK is around £200 per hour, so you don’t have time to spend all day answering the phone.
If you’re a small firm with no-one to answer the phone for you, you may need to split your time between answering the phone and serving your clients.
But if your attention is divided, you can’t possibly hope to provide the best service.
Plus, you’ll have less time to focus on existing clients because you’ll be too busy answering the phone.
So rather than allowing your work (and productivity) to suffer, why not let somebody else handle your calls?
A telephone answering service could answer every single call you receive if you like, so you can put all your energy into your work and delivering for your clients and building your firm.
No more distractions.
6. Manned live chat options allow clients to get answers to questions quickly
Digital live chat options allow clients to speak to a person or an automated system through their devices.
What makes the manned live chat alternatives so impressive is that they’re able to relay basic (and sometimes more intricate) information to clients without the need to speak to you directly.
Opening not just your firm, but your external call handlers up to answer more calls and continue providing exceptional service.
41% of customers expect live chat options on your website, according to data from Forrester, so it makes sense to have this technology readily available.
Telephone answering services will save your law firm time, energy and cash
If you’re a busy law firm, or you’re a law firm on the rise, a lot of the above scenarios probably sound familiar.
You might even be in the process of scouting for a new receptionist, or receptionists, to handle your calls.
In which case, we’d strongly recommend freezing your search for the time being, while you explore the advantages of telephone answering services for law firms…
- They work out cheaper than hiring a full-time member of staff
- There’s no need for training, they’re already well-prepared to help, and…
- They represent your business as you see fit.
And this is barely scratching the surface. So don’t carry on missing important calls and pouring cash down the drain when you don’t need to.
Get in touch with us to find out more about using telephone answering for your legal firm.
Or why not try us free for a 7-days and experience the benefits for yourself.
09th November, 2023
Posted by Face For Business