According to a comprehensive legal report published by Clio in 2017, the legal services market is a paradox. On the one hand, law firms find it hard to land clients. On the other hand, it is a challenge for clients to get help with their legal issues. One key factor that stood out in helping to determine the success of law firms is their ability to concentrate on billable work. An attorney would spend less than two hours on billable work, while they got interrupted more than five times a day, resulting in lost time.
What clients want
Clients want to hire lawyers who are responsive to their very first call or email. Your responsiveness as an attorney is, therefore, crucial in ensuring that you get leads and grow their business. Clients will likely not wait for a law firm to follow up on their call or respond to a voice mail before they can jump on to the next available service. Not only that, but clients will also expect you to schedule online consultations and appointments for them, and be available via live web chat and text message. Many legal practitioners could greatly benefit from an attorney answering service.
An answering service can help you strike a balance between attending to potential and existing clients, and enable you to explore growth opportunities. It is time for legal businesses to kick paralegals to the curb when it comes to seeking help for administrative work.
How can attorneys benefit from an answering service?
First, a virtual receptionist will qualify clients based on the criteria you have set. Lead generation is crucial to help grow your business. Another method of lead generation is the use of outbound calls. While attorneys may not have the time to follow up on all potential calls, an answering service can do that and ensure you are not losing potential business.
Secondly, they can block wrong or unsolicited calls to ensure that they only respond to legit calls. Responding to the right calls helps your business grow by maximizing the number of qualified clients it serves.
Thirdly, an answering service can help you schedule appointments to your calendar. Other functions that a virtual receptionist can perform include collecting payments through LawPay and other billing software and integrating with your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system.
All these functions have a direct impact on your time management, client satisfaction, client acquisition, and business income. An answering service makes your business sustainable.
What to look for in an attorney answering service
Not all answering services will suit you. When you are choosing an answering service, there are several factors you should consider. Some of these include;
Ability to capture leads quickly
Wherever your leads are coming from, it is up to you to capture them. Fast response is one way to get potential clients on board before they look for the next available service. Virtual receptionists can answer many calls at once. Once your web visitors complete your contact form, you can forward the details automatically to your answering service, which will make outbound calls immediately and capture the leads in time.
Effectively qualifying leads
You should entrust your answering service with custom criteria with which they can qualify your leads. Your virtual assistants need to ask relevant questions such as the lead’s ability to pay the required fees, where they are located (if it is within your area of practice), and whether their timing aligns with yours.
Scheduling consultations, appointments, and callbacks
Answering services reduce your follow-up tasks by scheduling appointments for you. Software such as Calendy allows anyone with your calendar link to view your availability. A virtual receptionist will, therefore, schedule an appointment conveniently. Answering services can also confirm an appointment t 24 to 36 hours before the due date, to inform clients of preparation required beforehand.
Few businesses can capture all the revenue due to them, but using an answering service can help you maximize your payments. A virtual receptionist can also make payments on your behalf and answer questions that clients may have on invoicing.
When shopping for an attorney answering service, find one that offers most of the services outlined above.