A law firm, in a lot of ways, is just like any other business. Law firm owners have to worry about their bottom line. They have to budget for things like operating expenses and marketing.
But because the legal business is a very specialized one, it can be difficult to know exactly how much to expect out of any given year. Still, setting and meeting expectations and goals is a great way to improve, quarter-over-quarter, year-over-year.
If you’re looking at this year’s performance and you aren’t exceeding your own expectations, there’s always time to make improvements. It doesn’t have to be the beginning of the year or the end of a quarter to make a change; sometimes all it takes is one change to jump-start the process.
Hiring a legal virtual receptionist is one of those changes you can make to your firm at any time that will help you outperform your expectations. Below, we’ll discuss how a legal virtual receptionist will help your firm improve the client experience, increase your lead capture rate, and help you find balance between work and life.
Make Your Client Experience Excellent
What do clients expect from their lawyers? Legal help, obviously. But there’s something more they expect, and it’s clear that they don’t often receive it.
Lawyers are ranked pretty low on client satisfaction; in 2018, Clio’s Legal Trends Report found that law firms have customer satisfaction scores analogous to airlines, banks, and credit card companies.
With a reputation like that, clients have come to expect difficulties, a lack of communication, and even glacial progress over the course of a legal matter, and lay a lot of that blame at the feet of their lawyers. While some of that might be unfair or out of your control, you can think of lower expectations and satisfaction as an opportunity to overperform for your clients.
More than anything else, your clients want to feel heard when they call your firm. They want to speak to someone who cares, not to get their concerns brushed off because you’re busy. A legal virtual receptionist will enable your firm to give your clients what they want.
The best legal virtual receptionists will allow you to satisfy and exceed your clients’ expectations. Your clients will be able to speak with someone immediately, and never feel like they’re being ignored. In fact, by making sure there’s always someone available to answer the phone when your clients call, you’ll be ensuring that your clients always feel like the most important part of your firm.
Boost Your Lead Capture Rate
Running a client-centered firm means making sacrifices to improve your client experience, yes. But it doesn’t mean you have to ignore your own needs. You might be defying your clients’ expectations, but what about your own? When you look at your firm’s performance at the end of the year, don’t you want to have outdone yourself?
The good news is that improving your client experience pays for itself. Your clients are happier, and they’ll pass that happiness on in the form of repeat business, positive reviews, and referrals. But there’s more a legal virtual receptionist can do for your firm to ensure you’re outperforming your own expectations year-over-year.
Legal virtual receptionists can perform legal intakes to make sure that no matter when a new client calls, someone will be there to secure their business. Legal intake captures leads because clients will feel like they’re already hiring your firm. It will be a process unmistakably unique to your firm, so that you never lose the personal touch clients crave.
To understand the power of legal intake, you have to put yourself in your clients’ shoes. For clients, undergoing a legal intake means telling their side of the story. In the process of a legal intake, a legal virtual receptionist will ask the kinds of questions clients expect lawyers to ask when first meeting a new client. Meeting that expectation goes a long way toward making sure they stick with your firm.
In 2019, Clio found that seventy-nine percent of clients expect a response from attorneys within twenty-four hours of their initial call.
It’s important, therefore, to get back to your new leads as soon as possible. It’s a waste of advertising dollars to let a lead slip through your fingers because it took too long for you to get back to them. But with a legal virtual receptionist handling legal intake, your clients will be much less likely to call another firm right away. Your lead capture rate will skyrocket, making the most of your marketing.
Get More Done In Less Time
Usually, to get these kinds of benefits, you have to sacrifice a lot. You would have to spend a lot more time on the phone, and you’d have to work extra hours to make up for the time spent on the phone.
Studies have shown that attorneys spend an average of 1.1 hours a day talking to clients on the phone.
An hour a day—on average— adds up to a lot of time over the course of a year. And, of course, these phone calls don’t happen in a vacuum. Unless you’ve scheduled your calls ahead of time (which is quite rare), you’ll be interrupted in whatever you’re trying to do with the phone ringing.
According to a study conducted by the University of California at Irvine, it takes 23 minutes to refocus on a task after interruption.
As much as we might think we are, human beings are not multitaskers. A five-minute phone call will cost you thirty minutes of productivity. If you’re billing hourly, as many attorneys reading this will be, that loss of productivity will literally cost you.
With a legal virtual receptionist, however, you’ll have more time to get your work done, not less. That hour a day spent on the phone? With a receptionist available around the clock, you can expect to see that time cut down drastically. The best virtual receptionists for lawyers will operate 24/7 without needing too much from you, the attorney. At most, important calls will get transferred to you as soon as they come in; otherwise, you’ll be free to fit follow ups into your schedule as you see fit.
That buys you a lot of extra time. Attorneys often complain that there aren’t enough hours in the day, and many attorneys already work much more than a normal nine-to-five schedule. With a legal virtual receptionist taking phone calls off your hands, however, you’ll be able to spend that extra time however you want. You can use it to get more work done, of course, but you may also find yourself earning a few extra hours a week to spend at home with the family.
Choose The Best Legal Virtual Receptionists Around
We’ve discussed in this blog how the best legal virtual receptionists will enable you to enhance your client experience, surpass your lead capturing expectations, and even earn you an extra hour a day to spend however you like. We have a confession: whenever we’ve discussed what the best virtual receptionists can do, we’ve been talking about ourselves.
We’ve worked hard to make sure our virtual receptionist service offers everything we’ve discussed in this blog and more. And our virtual receptionists work hard, too; each of them undergoes a months-long training regimen before ever picking up the phone. Click here if you want to see just what that training process looks like.
Law firms are a specialized kind of business, and require specialized solutions to their problems. That’s why our virtual receptionists only answer for lawyers. That means they’re specialists, and can handle sensitive operations like legal intake and scheduling appointments. If you want to learn more about how we handle legal intake for law firms, check out this blog.
Make every year one that defies expectations. Click here or call 631-686-9700 to sign up for our free trial. For a limited time, we’re offering firms that sign up for our service their first 400 minutes free.