Welcome to the first edition of the Answering Legal Briefing, a monthly blog post in which we update you on the latest news surrounding our company, and give you insider tips on how to make the most out of a legal answering service.
As we begin the new year, there is still plenty of uncertainty surrounding the legal world. Because of this, lawyers may find that their clients have a lot more questions and concerns than usual about their case process. While attorneys should certainly make an effort to be as available to clients as possible during these times, having to deal with client requests 24/7 can end up being quite overwhelming after a while.
While lawyers can decide to do things like only answer the phone during set office hours, their clients may not be so understanding. Modern day consumers have grown to expect 24/7 care from the businesses they work with, and if you can’t provide it to them, they may end up switching over to another firm that can. Attorneys also risk their firm acquiring poor online reviews or the loss of future referrals when leaving clients in the dark with their questions for hours or days at a time.
In this Answering Legal Briefing, we’ll share some solutions for dealing with this problem, and discuss how our virtual receptionist team can help you maintain some space from clients, while still actively meeting their needs.
How Our 24/7 Receptionist Team Makes Life Easier For Attorneys
For those already using Answering Legal, you know just how impactful a service like ours can be on an attorney’s daily life. Our highly trained team of virtual receptionists is available to answer calls on a law office’s behalf at any time. This means lawyers never have to feel pressured to pick up a call themselves when they have other pressing matters in their professional and personal lives to attend to. Our receptionist team will always be there to speak with your callers, make them feel heard and cared for, find out what it is they need help with and get the information from their call over to you in message form as quickly as possible.
Without a service like ours in place, attorneys often end up sending clients to voicemail or are forced to be on call for their firm 24/7. The first option has become completely unacceptable in the modern world, as consumers have grown to really resent voicemail. Sending clients to voicemail over and over again has the potential to seriously damage your relationship with them.
Being on call 24/7 isn’t really sustainable over a long period of time either. Lawyers won’t be able to get anything of significance done if they’re constantly interrupted by calling clients. Even when attorneys think they can briefly pause what they’re doing to answer a quick client question, they often find that two-minute conversations end up turning into 25-minute chat sessions. These calls will not only kill your work day, but drain you mentally as well. Not to mention, you didn’t spend all that time at law school to be a receptionist, so why on earth would you subject yourself to the job if you don’t have to?
Answering Legal allows attorneys to only pick up the phone when they want to, and still stay in the loop on monitoring important client issues. At the end of every call we handle with a client on your behalf, our service will send over a text and email message detailing exactly what the client wants to talk to you about. You can access this information right from your smartphone, and know right away how urgent a client’s issue is. Your client will know that their issue is on the way to being addressed, and you won’t have to rush to call a client back unless you know for sure it’s regarding a really important matter. You can also take a moment to create a game plan for follow-up phone calls with clients, in which you script out what exactly it is you want to say, and maybe come up with an exit strategy so you don’t get stuck on the phone for longer than needed.
Establishing A Plan For Handling After Hours Calls
How your firm handles overnight and weekend calls will largely depend on the type of law you practice. For example, a tax attorney may be able to take their time in calling back after hours callers, but a criminal defense lawyer in most cases can’t. Fortunately, Answering Legal’s team is able to accommodate all attorneys, and can work with you in building an appropriate plan for handling calls outside of normal office hours.
For lawyers that do want to give certain types of overnight and weekend callers a person to talk to right away, our service can make the process simple. Let our receptionist team answer your calls first, and determine who the caller is and what they need. Our receptionist will collect a message and send it over to you right away, and you can determine if the caller needs an immediate call back. We can also send messages to another person at your firm if you prefer a different individual to handle client matters outside of typical office hours.
Answering Legal also provides live call transferring services for law offices. You can let us know under which circumstances you’d like our receptionists to reach out to you or a colleague with a live transfer request. This ensures that the most pressing matters that your firm deals with still receive immediate attention when they occur outside of your normal working hours.
All of the above mentioned features will guarantee that your firm continues performing at maximum efficiency during hours in which you’d prefer not to be bothered. We know how valuable personal time can be for attorneys, and Answering Legal will help make sure you can enjoy as much of it as possible.
Should Lawyers Give Out A Personal Number Or Email?
Many lawyers these days may consider giving clients the opportunity to message them directly via text or email. This may be an appealing option for those looking to cut down on phone calls with existing clients. While this isn’t necessarily a wrong way to operate, it’s one attorneys should carefully consider before actually doing. Clients may end up messaging you more than you expect, and if you aren’t the best when it comes to responding to texts and emails in a timely fashion, your clients are going to get frustrated with you fast. It may be best to only give out a direct line of communication to high priority clients or clients you know well and trust not to misuse it.
Generally, it makes more sense to work through the messaging services of Answering Legal. Our team will still be giving your clients immediate support, and you’ll still get their messages right on your smartphone.
That’s it for this month’s briefing. For any lawyers who are currently not using Answering Legal, but are interested in giving the service a try for free for 7 days, fill out this form or give our team a call at 631-686-9700 to further discuss options.