When choosing a call center to assist with legal intake for your law firm, you have two options: virtual receptionists or legal intake specialists. We’ve put together some information regarding these related, but different, services to help you decide which is best for your firm based on your needs.

What is a Virtual Receptionist?

Virtual receptionists typically handle tasks such as answering phones, taking messages, and transferring calls to the appropriate team member within your office. This service may be beneficial because it frees you up to handle other tasks; however, virtual receptionists don’t have the high-level skills and legal knowledge of trained intake specialists. While a virtual receptionist may be good for overflow, they could end up causing additional work and stress because someone at your firm will still need to return phone calls and follow up on requests that the virtual receptionist did not have the ability to answer. A virtual receptionist can be useful in some situations, but for a legal firm, the level of service often isn’t sufficient or specialized enough.

What is an Intake Specialist?

An intake specialist at a legal call center is an expert in handling incoming calls and web leads. They are trained to answer legal questions with confidence and empathy, so potential clients get the answers they need from the first point of contact with your firm.

Having a team of legal intake specialists is a critical part of a firm’s lead marketing strategy because they are trained to turn calls into new contracts. Whoever is answering a call, be it a receptionist, virtual receptionist or intake specialist, they need to answer calls in a timely manner, return calls within a short window of time and collect important data. According to an ABA benchmark study on the legal intake process, 42% of the time, law firms take three or more days to reply to a voicemail or web-generated form from a prospective client. In the same study, the receptionist asked for the caller’s number in less than half of the cases, and recorded their email address just 14% of the time. This shows the importance of having trained intake specialists helping you to turn calls into clients and making sure that all of the necessary information is noted during the call.

Most legal intake specialists can enter the prospective client’s information directly into your CRM/CMS, so your legal team has immediate access to the contact information and knows exactly what information the caller has already shared. When your firm uses highly-trained legal intake specialists, your attorneys are able to work on other tasks, knowing calls are handled professionally.

Legal Intake Specialists at Alert Communications

At Alert, our legal intake specialists act as an extension of your firm. This enhances the overall client experience as callers feel they are speaking with a knowledgeable professional who works at your law firm, not someone who is simply answering calls and taking messages. There are no awkward pauses; the intake specialist speaks intelligently about legal issues, current cases you might be marketing, and your law firm.

It’s challenging to keep your firm running smoothly while trying to grow your business. Potential clients deserve the time and attention of a trained specialist. When you work with a team of legal intake specialists, rather than simply hiring a virtual receptionist, you can rest assured that your potential clients will be taken care of every time.