The question “how to grow a larm firm” is a popular one, and it’s no wonder why – running a successful law firm is more challenging than ever. The challenges that hinder growth – like competing with other firms and acquiring new clients – can render even the most talented of firms stagnant. Whether you’re eager to drive revenue growth, meet growing demand, or simply afford more support staff to manage new opportunities, allow us to guide you through a few strategies for law firm branding. Getting proactive and learning to delegate is half the battle!
Make a Better First Impression
If you’re a smaller law firm, chances are you don’t have the extra bandwidth for answering phone calls. Most paralegals (and interns) will typically be consumed with tasks including research, submitting documentation, and any of the other million tasks that must get done in a law firm. Beyond that, certain times of the week (or year, depending on the specific type of law your firm practices) will be even busier, making it even more difficult to handle calls in a prompt and timely manner. Of course on the weekends and after-hours, there is no one there to answer calls at all, which can leave clients hanging when they need you most.
Now think about how this differs from a large law firm in Los Angeles or Manhattan. They probably have a team of receptionists ready to field calls from potential clients. The ability to quickly speak to a live person, and better yet, one who can schedule an appointment with a lawyer for them, leaves a much better first impression than a voicemail box does.
With a law firm answering service, you can replicate the experience new clients would get at a large law firm, without taking on excessive costs or overburdening your paralegal team. Every time the phone rings, callers will be greeted promptly and professionally by receptionists who feel like an extension of your existing team. They work from customized call scripts that mimic your policies, procedures, and preferred verbiage. In many cases, callers will have no idea they’re speaking with an outsourced partner. Instead, they’re left impressed by your firm’s availability and professionalism.
Target Previously Untapped Markets
Law firm branding is primarily concerned with public perception. While professional reputations are indeed important, this strategy often fails to meet potential clients where they are. Instead of focusing solely on how stellar your services are, consider the ways in which you could better serve your community at large. Accessibility is at the heart of the matter. 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 regular business hours. In many cases, when they do pick up the phone to dial an attorney, they reach a voicemail greeting. 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, a law firm answering service like 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. Indeed, our nation is growing more diverse by the day. Meet the growing demand for Spanish-speaking representation by partnering with a bilingual answering service.
Craft a Better Customer Experience for Existing Clients
Beyond the benefits for potential clients, a law firm call center can directly benefit your existing clients as well. Even if they’ve worked with you for years, it is still very beneficial to give the impression that you have a team working all the time just for them. With a law office answering service, you can ensure that their calls are always answered, and that any urgent matters are directed to the appropriate individual.
A 24/7 law firm answering service also helps ensure that calls from clients are properly addressed. In a busy law firm, it’s easy for a client call to get misplaced or forgotten due to something serious coming up. This sends the wrong message to clients who expect to be treated like they are a priority. Letting existing clients roll to voicemail could be a perilous strategy; when competition is fierce, firms must prioritize client calls or risk being replaced altogether. An answering service ensures that clients are given the attention they deserve and that their concerns are addressed in a timely manner.
Offer 24/7 Support
Legal professionals work long hours, tirelessly representing clients in conference rooms and courtrooms alike. After a busy day of work, firm employees are often eager to rest, relax, and recuperate. As work/life balance becomes more and more important to employees, round-the-clock support for clients may appear to be a greater challenge. Thanks to law firm answering services, though, your team will never have to choose between much-needed time off and the best interests of your clients.
With an after hours 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 they have been heard and that their message 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 a law office answering service 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.
Prioritize the Most Important Conversations
In situations where a call simply cannot wait until regular business hours, an after-hours answering service for law firms 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. 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.
Choose the Right Answering Service
Outsourced partners can do wonders to lighten the administrative load of law firms. All the law firm branding in the world can’t make up for poor customer service, which is why MAP Communications works to bolster the communication efforts of legal teams across the country.
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 skills necessary to remain calm and professional no matter what situation the caller is in.
Try MAP for Free
MAP Communications has been providing 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.
To learn more about how MAP Communications can benefit your law firm or to start your completely free trial, please contact us today.
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