While the term “call center” is used to refer to the facility where incoming calls are answered, it is important to distinguish between a “call center” and a “legal call center.” A call center provides basic answering, whereas a legal call center focuses solely on law firms and does far more. The best legal call centers offer legal specialized services such as legal intake, qualifying leads and even getting contracts signed on your firm’s behalf.

When hiring a legal call center, you’ll want to make sure they offer the following features that represent the company’s professional commitment to helping your firm grow.

Lead Tracking

According to an ABA benchmark study, law firms do not collect email addresses from leads as often as 86 percent of the time. A Martindale study also found that more than a quarter of law firms do not track leads at all.

This failure to track leads makes it hard for firms to nurture potential new clients, thus leading to enormous revenue loss each year.

A high-quality legal call center will keep leads on your radar by integrating your Customer Relation Management (CRM) software or Case Management System (CMS) with their services. Tracking leads through a CRM/CMS allows the call center multiple-attempt follow-up with potential leads, using automated email/text after the initial outbound phone call attempt.

Dedicated Legal Intake Specialists

When you outsource intake calls, you need to feel confident the intake specialists responding have proper training. They must understand legal terminology, know how to answer basic legal questions, be trained in empathy, and know your law firm’s processes and expectations. This way, the intake specialists act as a true extension of your firm.

Specialists who do not use the right tone or language, or do not have a good understanding of legal concepts, can open your firm to lost clients and legal liability. Working with a legal call center that provides the necessary legal training helps you avoid these pitfalls.

Inbound and Outbound Calls

While most people associate call centers with answering phone calls (inbound), best-in-class legal call centers also offer outbound call services.

This is especially important because many leads will not convert after a single interaction. Without follow-up, leads that could potentially become clients might go cold (or worse, go to your competitor). You need to follow up with leads who have called your firm in the past, track them down and retrieve unsigned contracts, as well as continue to nurture potential clients.

Other outbound call services provided by quality legal call centers include reaching out to lists of potential clients supplied by your law firm. This saves your firm from wasting time by having highly paid employees chasing cold leads.

Appointment Scheduling

Scheduling an appointment with a potential client is an essential next step after making contact with your legal call center.

Once an appointment is scheduled, the prospect no longer feels the urge to find another firm for legal representation. As long as the appointment itself goes well, there is an extremely high likeliness of conversion. At the same time, you don’t want to schedule a meeting with a lead at the same time as an existing client. That is why it is essential that the legal call center takes appointments in a way that integrates with your own calendar tracking programs.

Immediate Response 24/7/365!

A 2009 study by uReach Technologies found that nearly 30 percent of voicemails are not listened to within three days. It is no surprise that many potential clients don’t want to leave voicemails with law firms. In fact, between 72 and 80 percent of people will hang up without leaving a voicemail if there’s no one there to take their call. It’s imperative to have someone pick up the phone, regardless of when the call comes in.

An actual person answering the call reflects favorably on your firm when an existing client calls about their case, and they will most likely stick with your responsive firm. Otherwise, you could lose them to the competition before you have the chance to call them back.

Endpoint Data Protection

Few industries need data security as much as law firms. Your client’s most personal and private information will be passed to you by the legal call center. This means adding an encryption program into the mix is not enough to keep client information private. The only way to ensure privacy is through proper security.

A technological “endpoint” is where information technologies interact with a human. During a phone call, the endpoints are the two individuals on the phone. Thanks to the proliferation of the Internet of Things (IoT), Bluetooth-enabled devices, and email phishing schemes, hackers and other bad actors have many ways to inject malware or extract sensitive information that will not be covered by an antivirus program.

Antivirus software can only catch malware that has been recognized by experts. It cannot defend against a completely new form of malware. It is similar to how a vaccine can only cure the virus that it was developed to cure. Vaccines are useless against entirely new viruses.

Similarly, antivirus software cannot prevent sophisticated hackers. It can only prevent those who copy what has been done previously.

That’s why the best legal call centers use machine learning algorithms to detect the presence of never-before-seen viruses.

Bilingual Intake Specialists

It can be a challenge to find receptionists who have legal training and bilingual capabilities. However, bilingual speakers may feel more comfortable if they can speak in their native language, which in turn, increases the likelihood they’ll hire your firm.

Bilingual capabilities enable your law firm to target a growing market of non-English speakers that your competitors are ignoring. It is especially helpful when it comes to word-of-mouth marketing in communities where English is not the primary language spoken. Being able to communicate in another language gives you a competitive edge.

Working with a highly-trained and specialized legal call center can lessen your workload and increase your client conversion rates. Call center services that do not include the features above will be less capable of helping your firm reach its full potential. The right legal call center will serve as an extension of your firm and can help your organization reach new heights.