Has your firm recently decided to reach out for some additional phone answering help? Seems like a smart call to us. Modern day legal consumers expect the law firms they use to be ready to answer calls 24/7, something just about any legal practice will struggle to accomplish on its own. That’s why using a phone answering service makes all the sense in the world.
Our next question, and perhaps a more important one, is which phone answering service are you using? As lawyers who have looked for phone answering help before already know, many answering services out there aren’t really equipped to serve law offices. Handling legal phone calls is much more challenging than answering calls for other types of businesses. A high level of professionalism is required in order to impress new leads and keep existing clients and associates satisfied over the phone.
If you’re not using a professional answering service, that has been built to specifically serve attorneys, it may be time to make the switch to Answering Legal. We’ll tell you more about Answering Legal at the end of this piece, but first, here are five signs your current answering service isn’t qualified to serve a law office.
1. New Leads Aren’t Turning Into Actual Clients
When your firm is failing to meet monetary expectations, it’s easy to point fingers at your marketing as the problem. And while not generating enough leads could be the reason your practice is struggling to grow it’s list of clients, the way your handling new leads over the phone could also be the culprit.
It doesn’t take much wrongdoing to send a prospect calling into a firm for the first time running for the hills. Consumers going through life-changing legal issues want to be impressed by the law office they’re inquiring to right away, and if the phone answering service you’re using to field their calls comes across as sloppy and uncaring, do you really expect prospects to want to move forward with your services?
One thing lawyers must have from their phone answering service is a team of receptionists capable of executing the legal intake process. If the phone answering service you’re using doesn’t have a system in place for gathering information from first-time callers to the firm, and doesn’t train their receptionists on performing the legal intake process, switching to another phone answering service is a must! Legal intake is that important, as it gets lawyers the information they need to properly access and move forward with potential cases, and lets callers know that your firm is competent and ready to immediately get to work on handling their case.
2. Simple Message Taking Mistakes Are Being Made
Trained receptionists shouldn’t have a problem recording messages from your existing and prospective clients. For receptionists with actual experience in message taking on behalf of law offices, the task isn’t really that hard. And yet, so many answering services out there make proper message taking look really difficult.
If your current phone answering service is guilty of frequently sending you messages with spelling errors or inaccurate information, or forgetting to send you messages entirely, don’t just shrug it off as not that big a deal. As a lawyer you can’t afford to have wrong information. Sloppy message taking can lead to your firm making embarrassing mistakes in future phone calls and meetings, and will leave a bad impression on your clients.
If your answering service can’t meet your specific message taking standards, and can’t be trusted to record your customer’s messages right the first time, then you aren’t getting your money’s worth. A professional answering service will not only be able to guarantee 100 percent accuracy with its message taking, but will be able to go above and beyond in getting you those messages right away.
3. It’s Painfully Obvious To Callers You’re Using A Phone Answering Service
The most professional of phone answering services don’t sound like phone answering services at all. Not sure what we mean by that? Well think of it this way. The goal of a receptionist from a phone answering service should be to come off as a seamless extension of the business they are serving. In order to come off in such a fashion, they need to be carefully trained in proper phone etiquette, have knowledge about the business they are representing, and preferably have experience in answering calls in a particular field.
If a distressed legal client calls into your firm, and the first person they speak with is a receptionist that is clearly not knowledgeable about your practice or what your law office does, you’re going to have a difficult time winning their business. A certain level of trust needs to be established quickly on your firm’s first phone call with a legal consumer. By making it obvious that you’re outsourcing calls to an unqualified answering service, you’re sending out a signal to potential customers that their needs are not a priority to your practice.
In order to avoid scaring off new prospects, you’ll need to hire an answering service that trains its receptionists specifically on answering legal phone calls and offers a highly personalized experience. Doing so is the only way to ensure that you’re providing customers with a high quality customer service experience.
4. You Aren’t Getting To Address Time Sensitive Matters In Real Time
Having an answering service can take a lot of phone answering pressure off lawyers, but even with 24/7 receptionist coverage in place, there will be some phone calls lawyers won’t want to miss out on. When new prospects or existing clients with urgent issues call in, you’ll want to get on the phone right away.
While most answering services out there can be counted to answer your important calls, they won’t be able to do much more than offer to take the caller’s message. As you can imagine, legal consumers with time sensitive issues will not be thrilled with this kind of service. In fact, leaving your callers in the dark for too long will often result in you losing out on clients.
Receptionists from a professional answering service will not only be able to recognize when a call is time sensitive, they’ll have the ability to contact you right away and give you the option to have the call transferred your way. Having this kind of service in place can mean truly everything when trying to convert new leads into paying customers, or making sure your current clients have a positive experience with your firm.
5. You’re Receiving Unexpected Charges
Receiving the monthly bill from your phone answering service each month shouldn’t be a stressful activity. You should know each month how much you’re being charged for, and not have to worry about overage fees or other penalties you might have racked up in recent weeks.
A professional phone answering service always makes it clear from the start what their customers can expect from their pricing plans. They won’t engage in behavior that is seedy at best, like charging you to use additional services without telling you and changing your monthly rate without warning.
The phone answering needs of growing firms are always changing, because their law office and client base is always evolving. You need a phone answering service that can grow with you, and won’t penalize you for using more minutes than expected in a certain month.
The Best Phone Answering Solution
For lawyers, there is only one company that meets the standards of a professional answering service, and that’s Answering Legal. All of the five above mentioned issues never come into play with our company. Here’s why.
- All of our receptionists are carefully trained on capturing new leads and performing the legal intake process. They spend months performing practice intakes and shadowing other receptionists as they go about interacting with new legal prospects. By the time they answer calls on behalf of your law office, they will be fully prepared to help convert your new leads into actual clients.
- At Answering Legal, proper message taking is always a high priority. Not only will we ensure that all of your legal messages always get recorded correctly by our highly experienced receptionist team members, we’ll send new customer messages to you immediately after a customer’s call concludes. Our receptionists will send all the information they record directly to your mobile device via text and/or email message.
- One of the things that separates Answering Legal from most answering services out there, is that we only serve the legal industry. This allows us to provide our receptionists with legal specific call handling and lead capturing training, and ensure that our receptionists always come off as a seamless extension of your legal team during each call.
- Answering Legal provides live call transferring, which gives lawyers the option to be contacted by our phone answering staff whenever a time sensitive or critical situation arises. When using our service, you’ll have the opportunity to speak with important callers in real time, and show them that you care enough about their business to get on the phone right away.
- We take pride in our flat rate pricing plans. Answering Legal offers lawyers pricing plans that are transparent, and easy to keep track of. With us, the price tag you sign up for at the beginning of the month, is the price tag you’ll pay at the end of it. No unpleasant surprises.
Ready to experience the difference a professional answering service can make for your firm. Start a free trial of Answering Legal and give our service a try for free for 10 days! To begin, fill out this form or call 631-400-8000.