There are countless moving parts that make your law firm run each day. You need to balance client needs, file critical information, organize data, and answer a phone that never seems to stop ringing. 

We get it. There’s always new demands arising and last-minute changes to account for. 

So, what’s the best way to balance all of those demands while maximizing your time and saving your clients money? One of the most effective ways to boost your efficiency is to implement a legal receptionist service. 

In this guide, we’ll cover a few tips for finding the right legal answering service for your law firm, the benefits of outsourcing your legal virtual receptionist needs, and some of the main tasks they can help take off your plate. Before you know it you’ll be lowering overhead costs and having more time to deliver on all your client needs.

#1 Look for Expert Knowledge

Simply put, outsourcing receptionist services allows businesses like law firms to improve operations efficiency and customer satisfaction. 

Balancing multiple clients, stabilizing scheduling conflicts, juggling phone calls, and handling never-ending paperwork requires a high level of organization. This can all be achieved by an on-demand agent or receptionist, who can:

  • Take phone calls
  • Answer questions
  • Manage client intake

In contrast to a traditional, in-office receptionist, a receptionist service works with your firm to create reusable scripts and procedures that allow numerous qualified legal receptionists to step into the role on an as-needed basis. While a traditional receptionist needs time off the clock, a receptionist or attorney answering service enables 24/7 support at a consistently high level.

However, not just any receptionist service will do. You’ll need a professional partner with employees who are well-versed in client confidentiality and able to direct callers to the appropriate resources. The right lawyer receptionist service can handle the nuances and challenges of the legal profession. 

Depending on the area of law your firm practices in, make sure to hire a receptionist service that’s experienced and is capable of performing at a high level.

Live Callers vs. AI Receptionists

Some businesses are outsourcing their needs to virtual receptionists who can answer basic questions via live chat, lead callers through phone trees, and otherwise provide customer service.

When choosing between live law firm receptionists and AI-powered solutions, consider your clients’ needs. Leads and customers alike are calling you with legal problems and may be in a fraught emotional state. While AI might be able to answer some of their questions, human empathy is a crucial component of customer service in legal settings.

In addition, consider the full scope of the tasks you hope your virtual receptionist service will provide.

#2 Set Goals for Your New Service

So, you’re currently doing everything yourself. Your days are long and you’re struggling to find the right amount of time needed to deliver on every client’s need. 

What can you actually delegate to a lawyer receptionist service? 

Here’s the good news: a lot

The tasks and responsibilities of a receptionist service are often the most time-consuming. Now, you can spend more time on the areas that require your undivided attention by removing tasks like:

  • Answering and transferring calls
  • Scheduling appointments and meetings
  • Collecting caller information 
  • Taking and responding to messages
  • Answering general questions
  • Making certain outbound calls
  • Organizing data
  • Researching

Prepare to Measure your Results

Create clear benchmarks for assessing the effective of your new service. That way, you can  compare providers with your long-term business goals in mind.

Which of the following benefits are you hoping to find? 

  • Better lead capturing capabilities 
  • An increase in the overall response rate
  • Improved first impressions with clients
  • Streamlined client experiences
  • Increased flexibility 

Conduct your search with these benefits at the front of your mind.

#3 Take an Inventory of Your Technical Needs

Beyond the above goals, law firms have varying needs, and some will require additional services from a lawyer receptionist service. 

Do you have regular conference calls? Is live chat important? What about keeping and logging those chat transcripts?

Making sure your law office answering service caters to all your needs is critical. Here are a few important features to keep in mind:

  • Can they provide call forwarding?
  • Do they offer live chat and phone service?
  • Does their service offer the ability for conference calls?
  • Can their platform improve client intake? 
  • Are there prioritizing and call filtering options?
  • Do real-life humans answer the phones?
  • Can the receptionist also make outbound calls?

Embracing technology trends will allow your law firm to access additional information in a less expensive way, ultimately allowing you to compete at a much higher level. Hiring a tech-savvy service can help you achieve this goal.

Create a thorough inventory of your needs to narrow down the services that will benefit your firm the most. 

#4 Consider Their Availability

When are you typically getting the most calls? Is it only during business hours, or would you benefit from a 24/7 service? 

As we’ve noted, receptionist or virtual paralegal services can provide 24/7/365 service, enabling you to capture leads and provide a high level of customer service.

  • Clients regularly deal with situations that are critically time-sensitive, so having a receptionist that’s consistently available helps reduce stress and ensure you deliver on their needs.
  • Likewise, missing phone calls and unanswered emails means leads can get lost, so making sure you can collect valuable information and catch as many prospects as possible goes a long way.

Beyond availability, consider longevity. There’s no sense in having to regularly hire someone new, so finding a lawyer receptionist service where you can develop a lasting relationship puts your investment to good use.

#5 Explore Bilingual Options 

Having a receptionist or paralegal who can speak more than one language can come in handy when it comes to the prospective client, which can let you reach a new demographic. 

For example, many legal practices will find it advantageous to streamline communication with Spanish-speaking clients. The U.S. Census Bureau has predicted that, within 40 years, Spanish speakers will make up more than a quarter of the U.S. population. A Spanish-speaking legal call center representative can help:

  • Intake hispanophone clients
  • Provide a high level of customer service
  • Ensure customer loyalty

Depending on your geographic location and the specifics of your legal practice, consider how other bilingual receptionists could help you serve your local population and diversify your client base.

#6 Set a Budget

With the right solution, you can reduce the overhead at your law firm.

  • Do you have a specific budget in mind? It’s worth exploring the number of billable hours a receptionist service can free up for you. This way, you can ensure you’re seeing a return on the investment.
  • Hiring a full-time, in-house employee can be expensive. With a lawyer receptionist service, you end up paying a fraction of the cost. As an added bonus, you don’t have to worry about things like payroll taxes, health benefits, and vacation time.

Keep in mind that a qualified legal receptionist or live answering service provides financial benefits beyond an approachable up-front cost. First impressions go a long way, and customer service is integral to attracting and retaining clients. A lawyer receptionist service can always be there to answer questions, provide solutions when needed, and make sure appointments and meetings are scheduled. 

How Do You Know When It’s Time for a Lawyer Receptionist Service?

If you’re reading through this guide, you’re probably already exploring ways to free up your time.

Are you having difficulty staying on top of all the calls that come through daily? Are your messages piling up, leaving you unsure of where to begin to return them? 

These are clear indicators that you could benefit from a lawyer receptionist service. 

There are additional big-picture questions to ask:

  • Do you want more business so you can increase profits?
  • Do you want to reduce overhead costs?
  • Are you prepared to delegate certain tasks and hand over control?

If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, then now might be a great time for you to reap the benefits that a virtual receptionist can offer. You’ll become more efficient, more productive, and more client-centered.

Plus, it’s not just you who will see benefits. They’ll translate to your clients, too.

Take Your Law Firm to the Next Level with Alert

You might have witnesses to interview, proceedings to prepare for and attend, and clients to meet with. These critical components of your business require your full and undivided attention. And with so many other things top-of-mind, it can be a challenge to find the time and manage all the activities needed to operate a law firm. 

Starting the search to find a lawyer receptionist service or outsource legal assistant can seem time-consuming and tiresome, but outsourcing these areas allows you to become more productive, more efficient, and more client-focused. 

If you’re looking to take your law firm to the next level and partner with experienced professionals, Alert can help you implement that strategy by providing access to highly skilled live virtual receptionists. With a law firm live answering service, you can cut down your overhead, continue to streamline your operations, and focus more on what matters most: your clients. 

Sources

One Legal. Considering a Virtual Paralegal? What You Need to Know. https://www.onelegal.com/blog/considering-a-virtual-paralegal-heres-what-you-need-to-know/ 

ResearchGate. The Effect of Customer Experience and Service Quality on Satisfaction in Increasing Loyalty. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/350320506_The_Effect_of_Customer_Experience_and_Service_Quality_on_Satisfaction_in_Increasing_Loyalty  

Incorporated.Zone. Benefits of Hiring a Virtual Receptionists for Lawyers and Small Law Firms (Overview). https://incorporated.zone/benefits-of-hiring-a-virtual-receptionists-for-lawyers/

Back Office Betties. How to Choose the Best Virtual Receptionist for Your Law Firm. https://backofficebetties.com/how-to-choose-the-best-virtual-receptionist-for-your-law-firm/?sfw=pass1643024017U.S. Census Bureau. Projections of the Size and

Composition of the U.S. Population: 2014 to 2060. https://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2015/demo/p25-1143.pdf