You hear two kinds of common wisdom about the business of law. The first is “Law firms are a business like any other!” And the other “Law firms are a unique business venture!” The truth, as is often the case, lies somewhere in the middle. Law firms are a business like any other, but they’re a very specialized kind of business, with specific needs.
Which is why it’s difficult to see how something as general as a call center would be a good fit for the legal world. While call centers in general might have a bad reputation, a law firm call center like Answering Legal is different.
A lot of what gives call centers a bad reputation stems from the fact that they answer for anybody. As the saying goes: “jack of all trades, master of none”. A law firm call center shares very few of those generalized traits. In this blog, we’ll go in-depth on how our law firm call center works, to give you an idea of how we’re different from other call centers.
Training Legal Virtual Receptionists To Be Experts
The first step to making a law firm call center work is training our virtual receptionists to answer for lawyers. We start, like anything else, with the basics. We focus at first on general call etiquette, the kind of skills one might pick up at any job in which they had to answer the phone. Phone handling, how to perform a transfer, and how to deal with difficult or irate callers are all just part of our basic training.
Next, however, is what makes our virtual receptionists into experts: legal intake training. We want our receptionists to understand and recognize the common questions that different practice areas might ask their potential clients. That way, even though they’re answering for practice areas as different from each other as, say, family law and criminal defense, they’ll be prepared.
In addition, we train our receptionists to improvise. While a call protocol is helpful, there are some phone conversations no amount of guidelines can help you conduct. As well, since our system is totally customizable (more on that later), our receptionists need to be prepared for everything.
We accomplish all of this through lessons, tutorials, practice phone calls, roleplay, and shadowing. All in all, our training program takes ninety days to complete, and until our receptionists are fully trained, they don’t answer for a single law firm.
We train our receptionists for so long because we’re trying to take capable new employees and turn them into experts before they ever start answering for our customers. That way, our customers are always getting quality phone answering. If you’d like to read more about our training process, click here for a series of blogs that go more in-depth on how we train our receptionists.
Every Caller Gets The Same Stellar Experience
Next, let’s walk through what happens on every call that gets routed to our law firm call center. We’ll start with the routing process itself. What determines whether a call is routed to our service is entirely up to the customer, a theme you’ll see throughout all of Answering Legal. Our customers can choose to route calls to our service manually, only when certain criteria are met, at all times, or only during certain times of day.
Once a call gets sent to our service, one of our virtual receptionists picks up immediately and greets the caller using that firm’s custom greeting. It’s simple, but that doesn’t make it unimportant; this is how our virtual receptionists establish themselves as extensions of the firms they’re answering for.
After greeting the caller exactly how someone at the firm itself would greet them, our receptionists take them through the first steps of speaking to a law firm. We gather their contact information and determine whether they’re an existing client or a new client. Attorneys using our law firm call center can dictate how our receptionists handle calls based on the kind of caller.
For new clients, our receptionists will perform a legal intake. Each firm’s process is different, of course, but at the end of the day, our receptionists will gather the information requested by the law firm they’re answering for. With the training they’ve received, our receptionists walk new clients through the process, gathering information and soothing them as they go to better help firms secure new leads. If you’d like to learn more about our legal intake process, click here.
Existing client needs, on the other hand, are usually much less urgent. They might want to leave a message, or get in contact with the attorney directly. We’ll cover both of those processes more in depth next.
What Happens At The End Of The Call Is Just As Important
In the case of a transfer, our receptionists will attempt to send the caller to the attorney’s personal phone number directly. We only attempt transfers when the attorney has indicated that it’s appropriate, either via call protocol or by asking us to try to transfer calls during certain hours.
During this process, all personal information is kept private. Our receptionist will put the caller on a brief hold while they reach out to make sure the attorney using our service is available. It’s a great way to secure new business. Every client wants to feel like they’re your top priority; speaking to them immediately will convince them of their importance to your firm.
Our law firm call center can also schedule appointments directly into the calendars of our attorney customers. Our customers simply predetermine dates and times during which they’re free to take appointments, and our virtual receptionists schedule directly into their online calendars.
In addition, after every call, our virtual receptionists will send a message with all the relevant information gathered during the call. Both the content (the information we gather) and the delivery (whether it’s sent via text, email, or CRM) of this message are customizable. Messages allow our customers to keep track of everything happening at your firm, even when they’re delegating calls 24/7. If you’d like to learn more about our message taking service, click here for a deep dive.
Finally, our receptionists get ready for their next call, and pick up the phone ready to provide a stellar experience all over again. Our law firm call center handles thousands of calls a day, and after each one, our receptionists are ready to do it all over again.
The Key To The Entire Process Is Customization
A key part of what makes our law firm call center work for the firms who use it is that every part of our process is customizable. From call protocols, to transfer preferences, and even to legal intake, every moment of each call is specifically tailored to meet the needs of the attorneys who use our service.
We conduct weekly and monthly retrainings to make sure that our virtual receptionists are up to date with both new firms and firms that have changed their custom settings. In addition, every firm’s customization options are on screen as our receptionists handle their calls. That way, the moment after we receive a customization call, it is immediately implemented on that firm’s account.
This is where the improvisational training we discussed earlier comes in. Every call is different, every firm has a different legal intake process, and every attorney has different preferences for things like transfers and messages. In fact, in their 2022 Legal Trends Report, Clio noted that demand for legal services was up. Since March 2021, lawyers have been opening over ten percent more new cases than 2019. That means we’ve been answering more calls than ever before.
Obviously, there’s only so much we can prepare our receptionists for. Instead of memorizing everything about each of our firms, they learn the basics and learn what callers expect. Our receptionists become familiar with those firms, of course, but expecting them to know everything about every firm would just lead to mistakes.
Instead, we emphasize improvisational conversation skills so they are always ready to answer for any of the firms using our law firm call center, and provide them with the tools they need to succeed.
Our 24/7 Support Team Makes It All Possible
Of course, none of this would be possible without considerable support, both for our receptionists and for our customers. Our hundreds of receptionists handle thousands of calls a day; an organization like that needs support in order to succeed.
Customer support teams allow our customers to customize their service at any time. Simply by calling our support phone number, our customers can change anything about their service. And, of course, if they ever have a question about their service, our support team is always only a phone call or email away.
Our customer support team also handles integration with other law firm software, allowing the automation of important but time-consuming tasks like CRM data entry. The sky’s the limit with customization and automation; whatever would help our customers’ firms work more efficiently, we can help set up. If you’d like to learn more about integrating our service with other legal software, click here.
On the other side of the equation, our quality control team is always on staff to support our receptionists and ensure our customers get the quality service they expect. They help to handle tough calls and keep everything running smoothly and professionally, as well as keeping an eye on the infrastructure to make sure we never experience any outages.
All of this happens 24/7, every day, for each of the calls that come in to one of the law firms using our call center. It takes a team to make our law firm call center work, and we’re proud of what they do to help make sure attorneys are always able to secure new business.
Get An Inside Look At Answering Legal With Our Free Trial
We’ve given you a close look at what our law firm call center does and how it operates. We hope you can see the ways in which we’re different from a general call center. Our dedication to the success of our law firm customers is what sets us apart from those horror stories you might have heard.
To reiterate, our receptionists answer only for law firms. They don’t answer for pest control companies, doctors, or any of the other industries you might find on other call center websites. You won’t find many other answering services capable of saying that.
If you like what you’ve seen, we invite you to check out our free trial. You’ll get 400 minutes of free answering, and we don’t even need to see your credit card information before the trial. Click the link below to get started!
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