The legal call center you partner with should be an extension of your law firm’s staff, and the relationship should feel like everyone is part of the same team. The lawyer answering service call center must be aware of your firm’s marketing campaigns, be familiar with your brand’s tone and style, know which questions are essential to vetting leads for your specific firm, and have the ability to properly answer questions. Callers won’t know they’ve reached an outsourced legal call center, and your staff will be confident that the intake specialists address client concerns as they would.

Here are some keys to successfully integrating a legal call center into your firm’s business model:

1. Establish the Criteria and Measurements of Success

Whether you want your legal call center to increase productivity, increase the conversion of calls to clients, or improve your call answer rate, you need to clearly communicate what the goals are and how they will be measured. You also need to establish metrics, so both you and your team can track results.

2. Customize the Intake Process to Meld in with Your Firm’s Ongoing Practices

Before any calls are answered, communicate with the call center to nail down your firm’s philosophies, practices and protocol for the intake process. All questions the call center asks potential clients should be predetermined in order to qualify clients the same way professionals within your law firm would. This way, each incoming call is handled with the same professionalism, attention to detail and screening protocols as it if your direct staff handled the calls.

3. Share Marketing Plans with Call Center Management

When you share your marketing plans with your legal call center, they can anticipate busy periods and have additional intake specialists on hand to address a surge in calls. Advanced notice allows the call center to educate their intake specialists on the details of a new ad campaign, so they know exactly how to address incoming callers’ needs and questions.

4. Continue to Train Your Call Center

People are more motivated to perform high-quality work when they have an opportunity to learn and grow. The intake specialists at your call center are no different. Ongoing training ensures everyone is up to date on current protocols and standards. It also helps the specialists at the legal call center continue to develop their legal knowledge, as well as skills in empathy and intake practices.

5. Implement an Integrated CRM/CMS

An integrated Client Relationship Manager (CRM) or Case Management System (CMS) allows the legal call center specialists to instantly send lead information, records and other important data directly to your database. This is important for making your legal call center a true extension of your law office. It is also much more efficient and error-resistant than slower, paper-based methods.

6. Be Collaborative

When you strive for a collaborative partnership, the entire team at your legal call center will be compelled to help your firm grow. Rather than thinking of the call center team as helpers who take your call overflow, look to them for insight. Ideas should flow both ways, and team members who have the first contact with leads often have suggestions that will improve the client experience. Keep the channels of communication open to be sure you are catching all opportunities to improve your processes and protocols. Of course, your call center should listen to your ideas, too.

7. Hire the Right Legal Call Center

When searching for the right legal call center for your firm, discussions should include standards for returning and answering calls, lead management, appointment scheduling, bilingual services, and more. The partner you choose should be ready and eager to become part of your team–and their culture and values should be a good fit for your firm.

Your legal call center shouldn’t be a group of disconnected people taking phone calls. Instead, it should be an extension of your team. When you set concrete expectations, keep communication healthy, and make the call center team feel like true collaborators, you’ll be on your way to a partnership that flourishes.