In order for law offices with limited resources to be successful, they must work intelligently. Without a large financial budget to support them, small law firms must find unique solutions for tackling their biggest challenges. What do we mean by this? Well let’s first begin by identifying some of the most frequent problems smaller sized law firms face.
In 2016, the Thomas Reuters company conducted a study, in which they surveyed 300 small law firms (offices with fewer than 30 attorneys) on their most pressing issues.
Some of the most common small law firm struggles the survey uncovered:
- Difficulty in gaining new clients
- Not enough time to handle administrative tasks
- A lack of internal efficiency
One thing that stands out about the three above mentioned struggles, is that they can all be traced back to poor call handling. The way a firm’s calls are managed can have a heavy impact on a small office’s ability to capture new leads, manage time, and work productively.
It can be quite difficult for small firms to improve upon their call management internally, especially when monetary resources are limited. So how can attorneys overcome some of their biggest issues without going over budget? A legal answering service is the best and most affordable external resources for firms to turn to. The overflow call handling their team of receptionists provide can quickly become an invaluable tool for any law office. Here is an in-depth look at the powerful impact overflow call handling can have, and why a legal answering service is a smart and worthwhile investment for small firms.
Challenge: Small Law Firms Struggle To Gain New Clients
It’s no secret that law firms need a steady flow of new customers in order to survive, and when it comes to smaller sized firms, attracting new clients seems to be a common issue.
In the survey of small law firms conducted by Thomson Reuters, 78 percent said acquiring new client business was a challenge.
Budgetary restrictions will typically limit how much a small firm is able to advertise its business, limiting the number of potential customers they are able to reach. So in order for small firms to be successful, it is key that they capitalize on every opportunity they get to win new business
For many law offices, an inability to answer incoming calls ends up costing them a large number of opportunities to connect with new clients. With small law firm attorneys having so many tasks to get to each day, many of the calls to their office end up going unanswered. When a customer’s call into a law firm is not answered on the first try, the likelihood of them turning into a client decreases significantly, as most callers typically do not bother using voicemail in today’s age. Recent statistics from Forbes magazine show that 80 percent of callers sent to voicemail do not leave messages because they do not expect to ever be heard.
How Overflow Call Handling Can Help
An answering service guarantees that all of a law office’s incoming calls are answered, by offering a team of trained legal receptionists to pick up its calls at any time of day. Anytime an attorney is unable to get to the phone, an answering service receptionist will be there to guarantee the caller reaches a live voice. Giving a customer a live voice to speak with on their first call to a firm will give them reason to believe you can solve their issue, and prevent them from looking elsewhere. Having all of your calls answered right away will ensure that your firm’s opportunities to win over new clients are never wasted.
Challenge: Small Law Firms Dedicate Too Much Time To Administrative Tasks
There are never enough hours in the work day for attorneys to get things done, and for small firm attorneys time seems to move even faster. Those practicing at a smaller staffed law offices do not just have to dedicate their time to extensive case work, but hours of office work as well.
In the Thomson Reuters small law firm survey, 69 percent of firms cited spending too much time on administrative tasks.
Making the time for administrative tasks such as call handling, legal intake, and appointment scheduling can seem near impossible, when attorneys also have to dedicate hours to building proper cases for the clients they currently serve. According to the Thomas Reuters study, attorneys at small firms report being able to spend just 61% of their time on practicing law.
All law offices have their fair share of administrative duties to deal with. But, unlike large law firm attorneys, who have the resources to hire people to handle various office tasks, small law firm attorneys typically end up having to take on these time consuming tasks themselves. So how can these lawyers balance case work and office work in a way that keeps them from becoming overstressed?
How Overflow Call Handling Can Help
High caliber answering services will not just pick up all the calls you miss, but capably perform legal intake and appointment booking for you, as well as take messages and answer FAQs. Attorneys can still perform these tasks themselves when they have the time, but when they do not, they can allow their answering service receptionists to expertly handle over the phone administrative tasks for them. With overflow call handling at work, attorneys will have more time to dedicate to building the best cases possible, and perhaps even get a few rare moments during the day to take a breather.
Challenge: Small Law Firms Experience A Lack of Internal Efficiency
When a law office has more on its plate than it can handle, things will begin to fall through the cracks, and the pace in which legal tasks are accomplished will likely become much slower. The Reuters study confirms that maintaining a high level of productivity is a significant problem for small firms.
In the Thomson Reuters small law firm survey, 89 percent of firms responded by saying that a lack of internal efficiency is a challenge they have failed to address.
Disorganization is one of the biggest enemies of efficiency. A growing law office will have people constantly calling in with questions, messages, and requests. Without a proper call handling system in place, it can be easy for all of their information to be taken down incorrectly or lost completely by an overworked in-office employee.
When customer information fails to be taken down properly, your office quickly will turn into a land of mass confusion. Building a proper law case becomes a much more difficult task when attorneys are not on the same page as their customers.
How Overflow Call Handling Can Help
You can’t stop calls from coming into your law office (nor would you want to), but you can keep your firm from being overwhelmed by them by investing in an answering service.
Overflow call handling can be an office’s ultimate efficiency tool. Here’s how:
- Attorneys will always be notified of who is calling into their firm, and given the option of either being transferred in on the call.
- Answering service receptionists can perform full legal intakes, giving attorneys the ability to begin building cases for potential clients before they even speak to them.
- All customer messages will be taken down accurately by receptionists and sent immediately to an attorney’s desk once the call concludes
Working more efficiently will not just remove stress from an attorney’s daily work life, but give their firm the ability to provide clients with the best customer service possible.
Answering Services Provide Affordable Call Handling Help
We’re sure small law firm attorneys are probably thinking right about now, “how much will a service that helps me get more clients, saves me time, and makes my office more efficient cost?”. Well the good news is that there are answering services in existence that offer pricing plans perfect for smaller sized firms. Answering services also come at a significantly cheaper price than that of hiring a full-time office employee to perform administrative work. In the long run, the monthly cost firms end up paying will be well worth it, as the service’s team of legal receptionists helps them increase its overall revenue, and save their workers headaches.