When choosing a legal call center to help with client intake for your law firm, you’ll want to evaluate the quality of the service provided to both your firm and your potential clients. A highly-trained staff of intake specialists with expertise in the legal industry gives your firm peace of mind, and the knowledge that you are serving potential clients with empathy while utilizing technology to maximize leads. Because not every call center has the same standards, here are 10 questions we think you should ask when deciding on a call center for your firm.

What Does the Contract Say About Outsourcing?

Double-check the contract and read the fine print. Will the call center commit, in writing, to keeping your calls in house? Contracts don’t always clearly state whether they outsource calls, which means your calls could be answered by another call center, a vendor in another country, or by a call center that does not specialize in legal. If they are outside of the country, this can put your law firm in a legal bind and leave you vulnerable to a lawsuit due to HIPAA compliance.

What is the Abandon Rate of Their Calls?

Partnering with a legal call center with a high rate of abandoned calls can result in losing leads. Calls can be lost because they do not have enough staff to handle a high volume of calls, or because of long ring cycles which can frustrate callers causing them to move on to another firm for representation. Live answering on or before the third ring is critical to capturing more calls and leads, and hold times longer than twelve seconds can lead to frustration. As a precaution, look for a legal call center with a system that matches Caller ID to either the campaign or the law firm, with queuing for immediate call back. This provides a safety net in the event a caller is lost due to an error on the part of the call center.

Do They Offer Bilingual Services? 

Consider the language barriers of your target audience so you can provide intake services in both English and Spanish (and possibly other languages). The ability to speak in a potential client’s native language is essential for building trust and rapport. If the legal call center offers bilingual services, make sure they have enough bilingual intake specialists to handle the volume from your firm and any additional firms they serve.

Are the Intake Specialists Dedicated to Intake Only?

When a legal call center allows anyone in the office to manage the switchboard for incoming calls, they are forced to multitask. Intake specialists should not be distracted by other duties that will affect their response time, attitude, tone, or ability to build rapport. Dedicated intake specialists who focus only on intake services produce the highest lead conversion rates.

Do They Have the Technical Staffing to Integrate the Lead/Contact Data and Intake Data Into Your Systems Immediately?

Both customer relationship management (CRM) and case management systems (CMS) can integrate with lead or contact data for intakes. However, you should have a way to manage the technology, which is why it is important to partner with a legal call center that can integrate with your CRM or CMS system. A legal call center can push the intake information collected directly into the firm’s CRM/CMS. With immediate integration, you will not have to worry about lost information and you’ll have the data you need to respond quickly and build stronger relationships.

Do They Have Full Site Power Backup Systems or Telecom Carrier Back-Up Systems in Case There is a Disaster or Weather Situation?

The legal call center you choose should go above and beyond to provide a business continuity plan to manage calls–even in an emergency. Whether faced with a blizzard, flooding, or a power outage, the legal call center must be available, and the technology must be reliable. A legal call center with back up systems is available 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, even in the most dire circumstances.

Do Intake Specialists Work Out of Their Homes, or Do They Work in an Office?

The legal intake specialists taking calls for your firm would ideally work in an office where they have supervision. This ensures a professional environment without the noise of children or pets in the background and protects privacy, so HIPAA compliance is never in question. A legal call center environment also establishes a supportive space where intake specialists can receive support and performance feedback as necessary.

Do They Legally Record Calls? If They Don’t Record Calls, Why Not?

In order to properly evaluate legal intake specialists, call centers should have the ability to log in and listen to calls so they can offer feedback and praise. The recorded calls can also be used for identifying training requirements and maintaining quality control. It’s recommended that you choose a legal call center with the technological capability, and willingness, to record calls and regularly conduct performance and training reviews. This is also useful if a call needs to be rerouted to another legal specialist so they have access to information previously shared; the client sees that everyone communicates and feels heard because they haven’t been asked to repeat information.

Can They Schedule Appointments in Your Calendar for You?

The ability to schedule appointments while on a call with a new client is an essential feature for busy law firms, and you should expect this service from your legal call center. They should have software that integrates with key team members’ calendars, so appointments can be secured on the first call, and the leads are not lost.

What is their Training Program?

A call center must provide training for its intake specialists specific to the legal profession. Expect that the intake specialists have the skills necessary to understand and speak about legal issues. This mindset and knowledge database cannot be fabricated or researched on the spot when a client calls in with a question or concern. Having intake specialists who are trained in empathy, psychology, appropriate tone, call control and how to sell your firm through a robust training program ensures you are receiving the kind of quality that produces conversions and client retention.

Choose a Legal Intake Call Center That Works With and For You!

When deciding which call center is the best fit for your law firm, you want to be sure you are armed with the right questions and information to make the decision. Choosing to work with a call center that offers a highly-trained staff of intake specialists who focus on the legal industry only, providing English and Spanish services around the clock, will make a massive difference. Check out our helpful infographic for insight on What Makes Alert Different.