For many growing firms, the pandemic has created some extremely challenging financial circumstances. Lawyers currently dealing with tighter than usual budgets would be wise to consider all possible options when it comes to staffing for their office. For example, if your practice doesn’t have room in its budget to employ a full-time receptionist, or doesn’t have a high enough call volume to justify hiring one at this time, there are other options to explore for getting your calls answered. Below, we’ll break down three of the most common ways attorneys try to overcome a lack of a law firm receptionist, and let you know which option is your best bet.
1- Relying On Voicemail Only
If you’re looking to spend absolutely nothing on receptionist services, voicemail will be your primary choice. But be warned, you get what you pay for here. With this strategy in place, it will be up to the lawyer (and perhaps a few trusted staff members) to answer all incoming calls for the firm. At first glance, leaning heavily on your voicemail may seem like a reasonable way to go, but over time this strategy will end up costing you dearly.
The biggest problem with this option is that most modern day consumers have zero interest in leaving voicemails or patiently waiting for a business to call them back. When consumers have a problem, they expect immediate answers, and that expectation is only amplified when dealing with urgent legal issues. If you don’t give your callers a live answer right away, they will hang up and immediately start calling other firms in your area for more immediate help. Voicemail is simply not an effective lead capturing tool in the 2020s, and relying on it too heavily could mean thousands of wasted marketing dollars for your practice.
Some overambitious attorneys may try to commit to answering all of their firm’s calls themselves, and only using voicemail as a safety net. While lawyers may be able to get away doing this for a week or so, having to be on call 24/7 will ultimately prove to be extremely physically and emotionally draining, and too much for already overstressed attorneys to handle. Simply put, lawyers need time where they can comfortably ignore calls, in order to maintain some semblance of sanity. Voicemail won’t give you that.
2- Using A Basic Phone Answering Service
It’s not reasonable to expect attorneys to answer all of their firm’s calls themselves, so investing in an outside service to help manage your office’s call load certainly makes a lot of sense. You’ll find plenty of basic phone answering services out there that say they can help your law office with its phones, and many will offer highly affordable monthly minute plans (that will usually come with a wide array of additional fees). However, just because a receptionist service tells you they can answer legal calls, doesn’t mean they will do a good job at it.
One important thing to remember with basic phone answering services, is that they tend to serve several different types of businesses. This means that their virtual receptionist team members could end up answering calls for a doctor’s office, pet grooming shop, landscaping company, and law office, all within the span of 15 minutes. As you can imagine, most of these basic receptionist services don’t get the chance to provide any kind of specialized training, and their receptionists are instructed to keep calls as simple as possible and treat all customers more or less the same. A lot of answering services also outsource calls, which can be problematic for its own reasons.
So can law firms get by using a basic receptionist service? In most cases it ends up being a struggle. Anyone who has spent time answering calls from legal consumers knows just how challenging the process can be. Often people are calling in with life altering matters, and are in far from the best state of mind. This is why you always need an experienced voice handling your phones, to ensure that your firm always makes the right impression on new prospects and existing clients. You need someone who has answered hundreds of legal calls before, and won’t become overwhelmed when presented with uncomfortable legal matters. Basic receptionist services likely won’t be able to provide that, which is why using them is a major roll of the dice for attorneys.
3- Signing Up With Answering Legal
For firms looking to provide their callers with specialized care, while still saving a significant amount of money, Answering Legal’s 24/7 live answering service will prove to be a great option. Since 2013, Answering Legal has provided virtual receptionist service exclusively to the legal industry. In fact, we’ve built our entire service around meeting attorney’s phone answering needs.
With Answering Legal, attorneys enjoy the following features:
- Full legal intake
- Bilingual phone answering
- Advanced message taking
- Live call transferring
- Overflow call handling
- Appointment scheduling
Perhaps the biggest thing that separates Answering Legal from basic answering services is our receptionist team. Since our receptionists are only handling legal phone calls, we’re able to focus their training programs exclusively towards best serving legal consumers. By the time our receptionists start answering calls on behalf of real law firms, they are ready for anything a legal caller might throw at them. We also allow attorneys to personalize the greetings and scripts our receptionists use with their callers, so our service is always able to come across as a seamless extension of their firm. It’s also worth noting that we never outsource calls.
As far as price goes, Answering Legal actually comes at a cheaper monthly cost then many of its basic answering service competitors, and provides by far the best value for attorneys. Not to mention, our service will more than pays for itself when considering the amount of new leads we’ll help you capture.
So Which Option Is Best?
The evidence seems to support that the majority of law offices will benefit most from using Answering Legal. And while we can’t 100% guarantee that Answering Legal will be the best law firm receptionist substitute for your firm, we can give you a 7-day free trial of our service to find out. To get started, fill out this form or call us at (631) 400-8888.
You can also learn more about the Answering Legal experience by checking out some of our recent customer case studies.