Who Is The Best Call Answering Service For Attorneys And Legal Professionals?
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It’s understood that the phone at a law firm’s front desk probably goes off incessantly. You or your partner can answer the phone personally but this is not always possible, given that you are busy working cases. You could hire a receptionist or front desk staff but the work can be overwhelming for just one person. Besides, there may be a host of other responsibilities at a law firm other than simply answering the telephone. Surely, your staff will be engaged in that too.
The simple answer is to install a live phone answering service at your office. The virtual receptionists at the service will take care of all the minor jobs like taking down messages, booking appointments or even giving clients directions to your office. PATLive offers a host of such customized services. But what are the things you should take into account when getting a live phone answering service for a law firm? The following are some points:
If you’re running a law firm, it’s of the utmost importance that your client should have faith in you. But that faith is bound to dwindle if they can’t reach you after 7 pm on a weekday or not at all on a weekend. The nature of the job is such that you have to be accessible for a large portion of the day and even the night. That makes it all the more important for a live phone answering service at a law firm to be active 24×7. Even if a frantic client calls at midnight, they should be able to get through.
This will increase the client’s confidence in you and give them the faith that there is someone to lean on when crisis strikes, no matter what the hour. The 24×7 service should also grant you some time off. If you’re back home after a long day and want to unwind for a bit, you should be able to leave your phone aside and let the live phone answering service take care of all your calls and take down messages. You shouldn’t even have to worry about whether you left your answering machine on or if you have cleared out your inbox so more messages can be recorded. All of this should be the virtual receptionist’s headache.
Working as a virtual receptionist for a law firm would mean that the executive should have some legal knowledge too. If a client calls about a case, it doesn’t leave the best impression if the employee at the other end has no clue about what the client is talking about. The virtual receptionist handling calls for the live answering service should also be well-versed with some legal jargon and terminology in such a case. This will only make their job easier and provide a more satisfactory call experience to the client.
This doesn’t mean that the virtual receptionist should be a legal expert. They don’t have to be a law school graduate or be able to quote judgements verbatim. All you need is for them to have a general idea about the field. This will only enable them to do their job better and guide your clients more effectively.
This point is intrinsically linked with the previous one. Only if a virtual receptionist understands legal terminology and is well-versed with what is required at a law firm will they be able to tell the urgent calls apart from the ones that can wait till morning. If you go back home you should only have to look at your phone if something important comes up and it is the job of the live phone answering service to ensure the important matters reach you without any delay.
For example, if an important document for a case has to be submitted or if a client wants to discuss some important evidence for a case that is coming up for hearing soon, it’s not enough to simply take a message and pass it on when you go to work the next day. These are instances where you have to move fast and rapidly and the virtual receptionist needs to understand the importance of that swiftness.
The flipside of this is that you should not be bothered with unimportant calls after hours. So if the virtual receptionist is patching calls through that can wait till the next day, that is not ideal either. The virtual receptionist should have enough legal knowledge and background of the case to be able to discern.
If your firm practices in the United States of America, it might be helpful if the live phone answering service has bilingual virtual receptionists. After English, the second-most common language spoken in America is Spanish. So if the operator can speak both tongues, it’s an added bonus. This might be helpful especially in cases of immigration, real estate, personal injury, bankruptcy, etc.
You may need this bilingual service in some parts of the country more than others. Depending on where you practice, the bilingual service may come in handy. In states like Florida, Texas, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and even California, it might be wise to look for a service that is bilingual.
If the service is able to offer the option of more than two languages, that is great too. But assess the demographics of your clientele and decide the specific services you might require accordingly.
Efficiency ties in with all the points above. If the live phone answering service is not efficient, there’s no need for it. You want the service to simplify your work, not to add to it. If you or your staff have to go back and rectify the errors the virtual receptionists are making, there’s no point in enlisting their services.
Efficiency would mean that the virtual receptionists stay on top of everything. They should answer calls when the front desk is too swamped, take down messages and ensure you get them, ensure those messages are responded to, speak to clients in an informed, professional manner, etc. You should be able to customize the live answering script according to your requirements.
Find a service that is affordable and well within your budget but also one that doesn’t compromise on quality. Hiring a third-party live phone answering service means you will be getting tax benefits since you can write it off as a business expense instead of paying payroll taxes. But if you’re having to pay way more than what you would save on taxes and on hiring someone on your own payroll, that option is not very cost effective.
So before you strike an arrangement with any service, ensure that you have read the fine print clearly and that the services you are getting are their money’s worth. If getting the service is as expensive as hiring two people to do the same job, you can do the math.
So those were factors you may want to look into before installing a live phone answering service at your law firm. What you probably know from your experience at a law firm is that it’s very easy to lose clients to a competitor but not as easy to win them back. If you have a reputation of being inaccessible, it’s bound to take a lot of time to fix that damage. So find a live phone answering service that is corresponding in size to your organization. If there aren’t enough virtual receptionists onboard to attend calls, you might be stuck in the same boat again. At any given point, you should be accessible to clients and it is the job of the live phone answering service to ensure that happens in an efficient, systematic manner. You should be able to pass on the headache to a reliable virtual receptionist.
There are several live phone answering services available in the market but pick one that suits your sensibilities, respects your work and commitments and gives you your money’s worth. Even a week with such a service at your office and you can tell the difference, provided it’s an efficient service. Visit PATLive and try the 14-day trial today – you will not be disappointed.