Virtual Answering Service: A Closer Look at Why Non-Specialized Services Are Failing to Help Firms Grow
Joe Galotti May 3, 2018
Not all virtual answering services are alike. From the outside they may all look pretty similar, but upon closer examination, you’ll quickly realize that the majority of answering services out there aren’t equipped to handle the calls of a law office.
Let’s backtrack for a moment here. It is important to remember that law offices have rather unique phone answering needs, and in order to really understand why many answering services fail firms, you need to really think about why you turn to them in the first place.
So why do law offices choose to invest in a virtual answering service
- Because too many of their first time callers are slipping away
- Because they need someone to collect the case information of their incoming callers
- Because they need help answering phones after hours
Seems pretty straight forward, right? Yet, with the majority of today’s non-specialized answering services, you’ll be lucky if they solve even one of the above listed problems. There is a better virtual answering service solution for attorneys, which we’ll discuss a bit later. But, first, here is a more in-depth look at why non-specialized answering services will let down your law office.
Non-Specialized Virtual Receptionists Don’t Know Your Business
In a 2017 survey performed by Clutch, only 44 percent of customers who thought they spoke to call centers had a completely satisfying call.
The main takeaway here is that people are usually pretty good at telling when they’re being handed off to an outside call answering service, and typically don’t have a ton of patience for them. That doesn’t mean all answering services will lose your business, but the wrong one can send your first time callers running for the hills in a hurry.
What many attorneys fail to take into account when hiring a virtual answering service is that the majority of them are answering the phone on behalf of many different types of businesses. One minute their receptionist will be answering on behalf of a plumber, the next a cleaning company, and then a few minutes later your law office. The top priority for these receptionists is to answer as many calls as possible, which means that being personable, empathetic, and actually knowledgeable about your firm, usually gets pushed to the side.
This cold and robotic answering approach might work for some businesses, but definitely will not cut it for your law practice. People calling for legal assistance are more often than not going through a time of crisis, and are looking to be comforted by a knowledgeable firm that they think can actually solve their problems. If the first person they interact with upon calling your office is some virtual receptionist that doesn’t know the first thing about your law practice, you might as well just direct them over to your competitors now.
Non-Specialized Virtual Receptionists Can’t Perform Legal Intake
Legal Intake is a pre-established list of questions that a receptionist asks your callers. It is designed help them callers feel more comfortable in the process of hiring an attorney, and receptionists collect the information you need in order to call the person back and make a compelling argument for helping them with the problem they are experiencing.
The legal intake process means everything for attorneys. Your first question to any virtual answering service you might be thinking about using should be, “are your receptionists trained in legal intake?”. If the answer is no, move on to a different service. Don’t follow up with more questions, just move on. Legal intake is that important!
When you trust a service that doesn’t regularly perform legal intake to handle your first time callers, you’re just asking for important client information to fall through the cracks. Performing a proper legal intake taxes real training. Your receptionist needs to know what questions to ask, how to extract the right information, and how to inspire confidence in the person calling.
You never want to be in a position where you have to call back a customer with incomplete or inaccurate case information, because your receptionist did a bad job with the intake process. It will make you come across as unprofessional, and likely leave your potential client questioning whether your the right person to handle their case.
Non-Specialized Virtual Receptionists Fail To Properly Handle Late Night Callers
According to recent data, 47% of customers say how quickly a business responds when they’ve made a complaint or inquiry is a vital element in the overall customer experience.
In today’s modern world, people expect immediate solutions to their problems, and when it comes to legal problems, the desire for a swift solution is even higher. If a customer calls your office after hours, and is greeting by an automated machine, there’s a good chance they’ll move on to calling another firm right away. So hiring a virtual answering service with 24/7 service would seem to be the easiest solution, right?
Well first off, finding a 24/7 answering service for your firm is a lot easier said than done. And even if you do find a non-specialized service to answer your phones during overnights, weekends, and holidays, are you confident that the quality of their service will remain high during those times?
In order to really feel confident leaving the office at 5 p.m. every day, you need assurance that all the potential clients who call in while you’re away are being properly taken care of. This means handled in a courteous and polite manner, and taken through a proper legal intake process. As we’ve already gone over, expecting a non-specialized answering service to do all this for you would be a foolish gamble.
And what if a really important case that requires immediate attention comes to your phone line in the middle of the night. We’re talking a case that could make or break your firm’s year! Do you trust a non-specialized service receptionist to handle that caller, and contact you before they slip away? Well you shouldn’t, because...
There’s A Better Phone Answering Solution For Growing Firms
We hope the above information hasn’t turned any of you off to the idea of using a virtual answering service, because as we stated at the beginning of this piece, not all answering services are alike. Non-specialized services may be failing firms, but specialized legal answering services, like the ones we provide at Answering Legal, are helping attorneys grow their firms to new exciting heights each day
What makes a company like Answering Legal different from those other guys, is that our receptionists only answer the phone for law offices. Before answering any actual customer calls, Answering Legal’s receptionists receive extensive training in answering calls for law offices and performing legal intake. And as a 24/7/365 legal answering service, you can actually trust our receptionist team to effectively handle your callers during times in which your away from the office. We begin each relationship with a new attorney, by setting up extensive protocols for every phone call situation, so you’ll never have to worry about a potential or existing client being mishandled.