Regardless of what category of law you practice, you have many tasks on the plate, and they are hands-on. You should meet with clients, schedule appointments with expert witnesses, discuss legal defenses, investigate the case, and represent your client in court. Even when you have employees, sometimes you need to do these tasks yourself.
What if you are told that you do not have to answer a lot of calls daily?
As a lawyer, you might be reluctant with the idea of answering services, particularly with the urgency that most cases require and confidentiality issues. However, you might change your mind once you learn the benefits of the service. This article will help you understand why you should use a phone answering service for your criminal defense law firm.
What is a Phone Answering Service?
An answering service is a group of customer service experts who answer calls from clients and customers, receive messages, and deliver the messages directly to their client or their relevant employee. You can choose your means of message delivery that suits your business needs best. Typical message receipt options include:
- Recording messages and then listening to them
If you are uncertain about engaging a phone answering service, you need to ask yourself the following questions:
- Is your voicemail always full?
- Do you have challenges answering all your calls?
- Are you all the time checking the business voicemail because of missed calls?
- Do you have difficulties managing after-hour calls?
- Do you take a lot of time returning your business missed calls?
- Have you lost productivity because of being held up on your phone?
If you answered "yes" to one of these questions, it's advisable to engage a professional call center.
Benefits of Hiring a Call Center
A typical day for a criminal defense lawyer is busy and hectic. You have to represent clients in courtrooms, research and investigate the criminal case, study previous related crimes, meet your current clients, and write briefs and documents. While engaging in these tasks, the phone is lying on your desk unattended.
Missed consultations and calls mean missing out on your business. Approximately eighty-two percent of customers switch to a competitor after experiencing bad customer service. It could be unanswered calls or extended hold times. If you have challenges handling clients' phone calls, it is time to consider engaging a call answering service.
On top of picking your calls, there are numerous reasons why your law firm could benefit from a call center. Here is an overview of them.
It Saves Your Money
Often an entrepreneur invests in the business to serve customers better and grow, and most brands see call centers as an expense. A quality answering service could save you lots of money, yielding direct profits.
Most callers will not leave a voicemail message and will instead call the business' competitor, and it could be hard for a small law firm to be on the phone all the time. You will be more effective when you convert and retain clients by being available when they call.
Employing one receptionist is more costly than engaging a call center. The 2020 median salary for a receptionist who works from 9:00 am to 5:00 am is thirty-seven thousand one hundred and eighty-two dollars.
Hiring the entire customer care team and paying for holiday hours and overtime will be considerably more costly than using a call answering service.
Additionally, you do not have to worry about finding space in your office for our staff, training costs, and benefits. It helps you save more and close more business deals.
A Call Center Does More Than Answering Calls
Directing and answering calls is a big time-saver but a seasoned answering service offers more than this.
The call center has experienced customer service experts who can do everything from event registration to customer support. It is done securely, safely, and complying with your company's regulations and policies, including confidentiality. It gives your team of lawyers more time, permitting them to pay attention to the company-critical tasks instead.
Some of the comprehensive services offered include:
- Scheduling appointments
- Call screening and transfers
- Lead collection
- Help desk support
- Message taking
- Emergency response
Creates Better First Impression for Your Prospects
If you have a small law company, the odds are you do not have additional bandwidth for picking calls. Typically, your staff will be busy with submitting documentation, research, and investigating the criminal case. You are also busy, making it harder to pick and respond to calls timely and promptly. After-hours and on weekends, there is nobody to answer your calls. It could leave your clients stranded when they require you the most.
It differs from an established law company with a team of customer support ready to answer calls. The capability to talk to an individual who could answer all their questions gives a better initial impression than a voicemail. Fortunately, with virtual receptionists, you could replicate the treatment your potential clients could receive at an established company without overburdening your staff or incurring more costs.
You can also customize both your experience and that of your callers. Record the main greeting that could be updated frequently to reflect what is happening in the law firm. You could set up menu options and departments as you want. You can also have urgent options that permit your caller to call you directly. That way, you will not miss important or emergency calls.
Better Customer Experience for Your Existing Clients
An answering service could also directly benefit existing clients. Even if you have worked with them for years, it's crucial to show them that you care and you have a team working for them always. You will ensure their calls are answered, urgent matters addressed, and personal needs met with a call center. It is easy for calls to get forgotten or misplaced in a demanding law company, mainly when an emergency arises. The call service makes sure all calls are addressed timely and properly recorded.
Frees Up Paralegals, Allowing You to Delegate Tasks
By allowing your legal call center to handle your incoming calls, you, your interns, front office staff, and skilled paralegals are free to have other pressing issues in your office addressed. It increases your efficiency.
You can Choose a Package that Meets Your Needs
One of the advantages of hiring phone answering services is the flexibility of tailoring your package to meet your business needs.
You require a multilingual service that caters to clients speaking different languages. Having this option eliminates language barriers and allows an understanding of your client's needs. It is something they'll appreciate, especially when faced with a complicated legal matter.
You can prefer to have all year service that includes holidays and weekends.
You could use a call protocol to personalize your services for prospective and current clients. The protocol helps in making sure clients get the attention after business hours. As this is achieved, your firm saves the cost of employing full-time receptionists.
Can Schedule Appointments
Usually, life as an attorney is busy. Some defense lawyers find it challenging to accommodate many clients and to manage their time well.
Unlike many businesses, you receive calls anytime, even at night and during holidays. A client might call you while you aren't in the office and only to get a voice telling them they could only book their appointment during typical business hours. That is impersonal and frustrating for them.
With a phone answering service, you could improve your image with seamless and straightforward appointment booking via online software. The virtual receptionists work hard to maximize all available slots on your calendar and limit consultations to specific times and days when you're available.
All you need is to tell your call agent how to schedule your appointments. It includes the time, frequency, number of your appointments, and the details to ask your prospect. From there, you can view your appointment calendar and plan your schedule accordingly.
It can be costly and complicated to have an automated message and phone recording system installed. To have the law firm's service, you have to employ an installation company that might interrupt the business's ability. Additionally, after the installation, the staff should be trained to operate the system and monitor their performance to make them professional. You will be required to provide a performance review and handle all their concerns and questions.
Call answering services eradicate the need for costly training and installation. The call center has already taken care of that. All you need is requesting your service for the law firm and giving the operators crucial information.
Send Follow-Up Emails Following Operator Interactions
A call center allows your clients to communicate directly with a representative from the law firm. Unlike voicemail, it is a two-way communication system. To further engagement after the call, you can send the callers an email after requesting feedback. You can ask questions like:
- How can you rate the operator?
- Did the operator answer your questions?
Even though you are asking for feedback, your clients will appreciate that you reach out to them. Most people will sweep things under the carpet until they finally get fed up and quit. If you are actively contacting them, they will be comfortable requesting assistance and responding. The sooner you could provide answers, the happier they will be, the more loyal they will be to you and can refer your legal services to their loved ones.
The Answering Service will Notify You of Emergencies
When a client calls you in the middle of the night, they have an emergency and call out for help. With a virtual receptionist, you give your clients a live voice to speak with and assure them that a person can assist them as soon as possible.
On the contrary, some clients will call at night with non-emergencies.
The call center lets you get enough sleep and spend time with your loved ones. The service will handle your after-hour call, and if there is an emergency, they will wake you up. If not, they will deliver the message in the morning if they cannot resolve it themselves.
Make Calls More Efficient by Sending Every Call to the Right Department
It will save you a lot of time because you can quickly pay attention to the calls you want to prioritize then. With an automated menu and virtual receptionists, you can set up the business calls and organize them the way you like.
Additionally, it creates a cohesive image. Your staff will sound like they are all in one building even when you work with freelancers.
You Can Keep a List of Your Voicemail and Calls
Do you know the number of incoming calls that become leads? With an answering service, it is easy to know because the system keeps track of your calls. Do you want to know your clients' most-asked questions? An analysis of the voicemail transcription of the calls shows what is on your callers' minds. Imagine how instrumental this information could be when updating the frequently asked questions on the official business website or marketing materials.
Because a seasoned attorney answering service allows you to access transcriptions and voice recordings, it is easy to know who calls you, when, and the calls' content, giving you insight into the callers. You could use these details when creating your informational content or service offerings. It also helps you know how to set up your call center.
For instance, if many callers in the voicemail transcriptions are reaching out to ask for directions to the office, you could set up a voicemail that includes voice recordings with directions. Moreover, you could add the directions on your social media platforms or website. Your clients will love finding the information they require.
If you are a criminal defense attorney, you recognize how essential it is to be available all round the clock. A client might want to reach out about an emergency. It can be an arrest, injury, or a request for advice or legal intervention. Whatever the case, you should stand with your client throughout the criminal process. Using a call center might be what you require to make the law firm the industry leader. You have nothing to lose apart from missed calls.