Attorneys are incredibly busy throughout the week with meeting new clients, securing and reviewing cases, following-up with existing clients, writing briefs, and litigation. This leaves a tiny slice of time for answering the phones, but an internal receptionist can be expensive. Thankfully, there are answering services available that specialize in legal practices, and, best of all, they can be utilized at a fraction of the price of a receptionist. For many legal firms, hiring a lawyer answering service is the solution to improving the client experience and effectively managing the phone lines.
Do You Need an Answering Service?
Outsourcing customer service is a considerable decision that you need to weigh all factors, not just cost. To determine whether you need a lawyer answering service, ask the following questions:
- Are clients not showing up to appointments or canceling? Part of the legal world is managing no-shows and cancellations. While management software is available to send appointment reminders, an answering service presents another option that helps encourage clients to come at the scheduled time. These services can easily be integrated into legal management software.
- Does your team receive many after-hours calls? It is uncommon for a legal practice to be open around the clock, but clients may need questions answered or set appointments. An attorney answering service can manage after-hours requests to improve customer service.
- Does my call volume spike? When your firm experiences spikes in call volumes, that typically means clients are struggling to connect with your front office. Answering services can manage these overflow calls to ensure all questions are answered.
What to Look for in an Answering Service?
Attorneys are subjected to endless amounts of sensitive client information so there could be major consequences if there is a data breach. When searching for a legal answering service, you must ensure they are utilizing at least 128-bit encryption to protect that data. Also, you want to ensure the service provides multiple additional contact numbers for the same firm or attorney. This helps when managing class action lawsuits or when running a specific campaign to ensure these focused calls differ from the day-to-day inquiries. Furthermore, you want a service that can prioritize calls by specific cases, consultations, and existing clients.
Countless firms hire an in-house receptionist to field calls, make appointments, take messages, and respond to client’s questions. However, this can become extremely expensive due to paid time off, salary, benefits, bonuses, and sick days. Also, hiring a receptionist may trigger specific regulatory obligations, due to access to sensitive client information, that may not be required to meet with an outsource lawyer answering service. Therefore, if you need assistance with managing the phones and clients, a legal answering service could be the right fit for your firm.