Many law firms are struggling to answer their business demands. With phones constantly ringing, these practices use a lawyer answering service during office hours to free their full-time staff to focus on taking care of client needs. Other firms are facing leaner times and getting fewer calls. But missing calls from prospective clients in either case can be costly. When prospective clients call during regular office hours, after hours or on the weekends, it is important to be able to immediately schedule them for a consult to ensure they come to see you and they do not go to someone else.
Whether your practice can afford a full-time receptionist or not, your firm can benefit from a professional attorney answering service. There is a difference between a generic phone answering service and an attorney answering service, so it is important to understand the pros and cons of each before making a decision.
A true attorney answering service specializes in answering calls in the legal industry. While any phone answering service can say it provides attorney answering services, consider the following when determining whether or not that is true:
Training – A well-designed and delivered receptionist-training program prepares receptionists to answer calls correctly. An attorney answering service program should include training and testing on legal terminology, legal-practice types, professional phraseology common to the industry and role playing for multiple-call situations. If the receptionists at the attorney answering service are responsible for scheduling an appointment or completing a legal-intake form, then they also should receive training so they can guide the caller in that direction. Agents at phone answering services may not have the skills or training to fulfill this responsibility and may even damage a firm’s reputation.
Appointment Scheduling – Receptionists at an attorney answering service should be proficient at scheduling appointments. Certain legal practices have a higher prospect-to-client conversion rate when a receptionist can immediately schedule a prospect for a consultation. An agent at a phone answering service who lacks experience working with different legal-practice types may be unaware of this important information and simply take a message, losing a new client. After-hours prospects may decide to call another firm that will schedule a consultation immediately.
Legal Intake – An attorney answering service receptionist should be able to collect detailed intake information. Certain legal practices need complete details from prospective clients prior to taking the call. This enables the attorneys to prioritize calls and better manage their time. A phone answering service may not have the technology to create detailed scripts or the trained receptionists to use them to their full advantage.
24/7 Availability – An attorney answering service should be available around the clock, every day of the week. Certain legal practices get more calls after regular office hours, and missing those calls can be costly for a firm.
Multi-language – An attorney answering service should have specialty services to meet the language needs of a law firm’s target market. Spanish-language services are more wildly available in certain parts of the country, but if some of the firm’s client base is more comfortable conversing in a language other than English, it is important to make sure the receptionists at the attorney answering service have those specific language skills.
Be sure to ask questions and investigate phone answering services and attorney answering services to determine which offers the features that best meet your practice’s call-answering needs. The right decision can save time and money while ensuring you never miss an opportunity.
Our intake call center ensures your calls are answered day or night. We’ll take your calls, manage your leads, schedule appointments for you, process new clients, take messages, and help you provide excellent client support. To get started, fill out our contact form or give us a call at 844-694-6825.