As a lawyer, you are often out of the office -- sometimes more than you are in it. If you worry about how potential-client calls are handled when you can't take them, consider hiring a lawyer reply service. For much less than what you would pay a full-time receptionist, a lawyer answering service provides call answering and receptionist services around the clock, every day of the year. Here are just a few of the benefits a lawyer answering service provides:
- There definitely is a difference between a general answering service and a lawyer reply service. In addition to call-handling training that allows agents to be professional, confident, and knowledgeable in any call situation, lawyer answering service agents receive special training to understand legal terminology, know the different types of law, and be able to classify cases correctly.
- Many lawyer answering services provide virtual receptionist services as well. When answering calls, receptionists go beyond simply identifying your firm by name, and they give the impression they are part of your regular office staff. This service usually is not part of general call answering.
- Another benefit of a lawyer reply service is the ability of the agents or receptionists to schedule appointments. It's important to find out if the appointment calendar is available to you online and if it will sync to your Outlook calendar or whatever software calendar system you use. Before making a final decision, ask the company for a tour of the appointment-scheduling service.
- In addition to appointment scheduling, a lawyer answering service may also use intake forms to better handle potential-client calls. Using a customized intake form, a receptionist can record the calls, complete the form, and send it to you to import to your case management software. Ask the lawyer response service if the receptionist can e-mail the intake form and/or immediately connect the caller to you if you request it. You can save time and money in retaining new clients when you take advantage of these kinds of services.
- Call protocols are another great way to personalize the service your current and potential clients receive. Depending upon the lawyer answering service you choose, you may be able to set up a variety of call protocols that give agents detailed instructions on how to handle possible call situations or to immediately know which calls to connect directly to you. Combined with virtual receptionist services, call protocols convey the personalized attention clients look for and provide coverage beyond normal business hours while saving you the additional expense of a full-time employee.
- Check with the lawyer response service you are considering to see if the plan includes call reports. These reports provide metrics you can use to tailor your marketing and/or sales messages. They also are essential to track business growth.
- Most lawyer reply services record calls and should provide them to you upon request. Talk with the companies you are considering in order to take full advantage of the call-recording benefits they offer. If you prefer not to have calls recorded, you should be able to opt out of this service option.
Whether your specialty is bankruptcy, personal injury, criminal law or another area, a lawyer answering service can benefit your practice. It is a cost-effective way to provide a high level of service to your current and potential clients while eliminating the worry about missed calls and messages. If you are out of the office even more than you are in it, explore the benefits of a lawyer response service.