Improving Client Communications: How Call Answering Services Benefit Law Firms
Client relationships are everything for law firms.
Everyday solicitors deal with commercially sensitive, personally delicate or highly urgent matters.
And while there are many ways clients can get in touch with their solicitors when they need to, one in three still prefers to pick up the phone.
But this focus on phone calls isn’t matched by every law firm with some research suggesting as many as 15% of calls to law firms are missed.
Not even considering the impact that will have on customer satisfaction, it’s potentially thousands of pounds of fees being missed.
One answer to this problem could be to bring in a full-time receptionist to answer and transfer calls or take messages.
This, however, comes with its own challenges and expenses, namely a salary and benefits to pay for.
Not to mention a single receptionist can only deal with one call at a time (which doesn’t work in busy offices)
A better solution could be to invest in a telephone answering service for law firms.
- Professional Call Handling
A telephone answering service makes sure every inbound call is answered quickly and professionally.
You can set the guidelines for how you want calls to be answered so customers always think they’re speaking to someone in your company.
Your PAs can be available to answer general questions directly, provide basic information about your services, escalate urgent calls to the right people, or they can just take messages or forward calls to the relevant person.
A phone call can be the first chance to leave an impression on a potential client, your PAs make sure it’s a good one.
- Increased Productivity and Focus
Dealing with client calls and potential client calls is important, but when the responsibility falls on your team, it can cause problems.
Constant interruptions from phone calls disrupt productivity.
It’s not just the time spent dealing with the call (which could have no relevance to the person answering) but the productivity lost after the call while trying to refocus.
According to a study by The University of California Irvine, it can take around 24 minutes to refocus on a task after a distraction.
So even answering a few calls a day can lead to hours of lost productivity.
A telephone answering service gives employees more time to be productive by removing the need for them to deal with calls.
PAs can also filter calls and prioritise urgent matters, making sure non-urgent matters can be dealt with when you have more time.
A call management service can also remove firms from third-party sales lists and be a barrier to nuisance calls, making sure they don’t waste anyone’s time.
- Extended opening hours with no extra work
Law firm clients can’t always call during the usual 9-5 office hours.
But trying to extend your opening hours with employees isn’t possible every day, and the only other option would be for you to work every hour.
Unless you use a telephone answering service.
With a telephone answering service you can extend your opening hours without the need to be available yourself.
Basic client calls can be handled immediately by your PAs, while more complex calls can be logged and passed on for you to deal with when you’re back in the office.
Even if a client can’t be helped immediately, at least they know their call has been logged by a real person.
You can also work with your PAs to arrange to have urgent calls forwarded to you to deal with.
- Save on employee costs
Employing a full-time receptionist solely for call handling can be expensive, especially for smaller law firms.
Along with salary and benefits, there are tax, insurance, recruitment and training costs involved.
With a call handling service, you only pay a subscription cost based on the number of minutes or calls you expect to deal with in a given month.
These costs are usually flexible based on whether you just want call monitoring, or messaging and call forwarding to be included, and you can more easily scale your services for busier periods.
If you have an employee and are going through a slower period, you’re still paying the same fixed costs, even though you don’t need the same level of service.
- Streamlined Appointment Management
Scheduling and managing appointments can be a time-consuming task for law firms, especially when you’re trying to juggle multiple diaries.
Call answering services provide appointment scheduling and reminder services, making this process a lot easier and less time-consuming for teams.
Improve the client experience with telephone answering
Client communication is vital for the success of law firms.
Leaving clients waiting too long for someone to answer the phone, or missing their call entirely can lead to them simply going somewhere else.
There’s also future business to be lost here too, because the client whose call you missed isn’t likely to recommend you to anyone else - if anything they’ll actively encourage people not to use you because of your poor customer service.
A call answering service ensures inbound calls are always answered and dealt with professionally to create the right impression on clients.
Basic enquiries can be dealt with by PAs, freeing your team up for other work, while urgent calls or messages will always get to the right person first time, every time.
Plus, without the costs of full-time receptionists, that’s more money that can be invested in other customer service areas, which will help to build more trust and confidence among clients.
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