Wouldn’t it be great if all legal matters occurred between the hours of 9am and 5pm at a perfectly even pace throughout the day? Clients could speak with someone in your office during those hours that it is fully staffed, and there wouldn’t be any need for an answering service to handle periods of high call volume or cover the phones after hours.
Of course, we live in the real world, which means that legal matters are as likely to occur at 3pm as they are at 3am. Offering an after-hours answering service to your clients isn’t just good customer service, it’s absolutely essential to the long-term happiness of your clients and the long-term reputation of your law firm.
Ideally, each one of your clients would be able to speak to a lawyer or paralegal at any hour of the day or night. Since legal issues can come up at any time, and since your legal team can’t be available 24/7, an after-hours answering service can dramatically improve the satisfaction of your firm’s clients, and also streamline the office itself.
Benefits of an after-hours answering service
There are a number of valuable benefits associated with an after-hours answering service. These are some of the most significant benefits for busy law firms.
Clients Can Speak To Someone Even When Your Office is Closed
With an answering service for law firms, your office is never truly “closed.” While clients might not be able to speak with the specific lawyer or paralegal associated with their account, they will get the peace of mind that their message has been received, and will be delivered to the appropriate individual right away. This also gives the client someone to hold accountable, since the specific person they speak to will be responsible for relaying their message.
This can be especially helpful for prospective clients just dipping their toe into the legal waters. In many cases, potential clients will be surfing the net at all hours of the day and night, poking around for a lawyer with whom they resonate. Many want to seize the moment and talk with someone about their legal options right away. A call handled by an answering service for law offices won’t be nearly as comprehensive as an initial consultation might be, but such a chat can answer general questions for prospective clients. Even better, our team can set up a time for a more detailed conversation to occur either over the phone or in your office by scheduling an appointment.
An Answering Service Can Filter and Prioritize Calls For Your Attorneys Once They Are Back in the Office
Another significant benefit of an answering service is the ability to filter high priority calls out from the rest of the calls received. Instead of your team spending time and resources going through calls in the order they were received the night before, an answering service ensures that any urgent calls are dealt with first. When it comes to legal matters, this can sometimes be a matter of winning or losing a major case.
Not all calls are created equal, and what feels like an emergency to one client may, in fact, be no big deal for your office. Because we work with law firms to create customized scripts for handling such calls, we’ll quickly become experts on the kinds of clients that need immediate attention versus the ones who can wait until later based on your preferences. Our experienced, highly-trained virtual receptionists make it easy to hand over the administrative reins.
We Can Direct High-Priority Calls To Appropriate Individuals, Even After Hours
In situations where a call simply cannot wait until regular business hours, an after-hours answering service can ensure that those calls reach the appropriate party any hour of the day or night. By setting parameters for what constitutes an “emergency call” upfront, an answering service will ensure that critical calls don’t fall between the cracks.
Our team recognizes the difference between a high-priority call from the regional jail versus a lower-priority one from a prospective client with questions that can wait. It comes second nature to our resourceful and quick-witted receptionists. This ability to make important decisions about call-forwarding is part of what makes MAP such a valuable administrative partner.
If you’ve ever set your phone to “do not disturb” before heading home for the evening, you’ll benefit from a service like MAP’s. While your work/life balance may have previously been all or nothing, call screening can help ensure you answer only the most vital of callers. Should your phone ring, you’ll know, without a doubt, that it’s worth picking up.
Open To New Markets
There are a whole host of professions that make it difficult to chat with an attorney during traditional business hours. Doctors, nurses, EMTs and anyone scheduled during the graveyard shift can struggle to get someone on the phone after the close of business. In many cases, when they do pick up the phone to dial an attorney, they receive a voicemail machine. Many callers will hang up upon hearing such an option, opting to dial your competitors instead.
Whether you’re hoping to target those working the night shift or even Spanish-speaking clients, MAP can help. Not only is our staff available 24 hours a day, but we also employ bilingual receptionists. Imagine how many more cases you might be able to take on with a bilingual virtual receptionist working to understand the needs of a prospective client.
Choosing the right answering service
It isn’t enough to simply find the first (or least expensive) answering service and call it a day. In a field as specialized as law, it’s important that the team answering calls on behalf of your firm understand how to prioritize calls. It is also important for them to have the knowledge necessary to provide preliminary answers to clients while they wait for a return call from someone within your law firm.
MAP Communications has been providing after-hours answering services for attorneys for nearly 30 years. We work closely with our clients to customize an ideal plan that fits your budget and ensures that incoming calls receive the proper service the first time.
In addition, every individual that works for a MAP Communications answering service keeps all phone calls in confidence, so you can rest assured knowing that your client’s personal and sensitive information is secured.
To learn more about how MAP Communications can benefit your law firm or to start your completely free trial, please contact us today.