There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to answering the phone. This is especially true in the legal field. While certain best practices apply to most industries, legal receptionists must go beyond mere manners if they’re hoping to win over prospective clients. Fail to tailor your phone etiquette to the situation at hand and you risk alienating callers before they’ve even had their chance to tell you about themselves. With so much on the line, professionals would do well to keep these customer service phone tips in mind.
Provide Prompt Support
When it comes to law office phone etiquette, timing is everything. Callers have no shortage of firms from which to choose, so if they find their call has been sent to voicemail, they’ll likely hang up and dial a competing law office. To avoid this, try answering inbound calls within three rings. People are impatient by nature and want to know that their call is important. Even if you can’t talk at the moment, it pays to have a real, live human being answer the call and take a message. If this seems too demanding for your office’s existing staff, try outsourcing the job to a legal virtual receptionist instead.
Lead with Empathy
People seeking legal services are often going through very stressful times. The last thing they need to deal with is a rude or short customer service experience. No matter what’s going on in your office at the time of the phone call, always answer the phone with a pleasant tone and kind greeting. While this might seem like common sense, many firms neglect the customer experience. If your team is too overwhelmed to provide empathetic support, an attorney receptionist service may be a better option for triaging inbound calls.
Skip the Run Around
Too often, prospective clients dial a law firm, only to be greeted by a lengthy automated menu. After listening to their options, callers may be directed to a legal receptionist or voicemail. From there, they may see their call transferred or ended. Calls may or may not be returned, leaving the person in limbo. Given the strict deadlines that many court cases involve, this run around can leave prospective clients with a serious headache. Instead of sending callers on a wild goose chase just to connect with a real person, make answering a priority. Given the stress they’re likely under, the caller just wants to be heard – so listen! Showing up for your clients is half the battle. If you can demonstrate your availability and reliability, you’ll win over clients for life.
Establish Relationships Early
A quality client/attorney relationship is built on mutual respect and trust. That dynamic begins as soon as someone dials your firm. First impressions count for a lot, and that initial phone call is your opportunity to really connect. Don’t risk it with poor customer service, missed calls, or generic greetings. Instead, attorney receptionists should start things out on the right foot/ Answer with a greeting that is friendly and includes the name of the firm. This ensures that your client knows they’ve reached the right office and starts the conversation off positively. It can also help to mention your own name so the person knows who they spoke to should they need to reference the conversation later.
While some small talk may be inevitable, it’s important to get right to the point. Be upbeat and friendly, but above all, be focused. That way, you’ll avoid wasting anyone’s time and get the potential client the help they need.
Collect Caller Information
Each inbound call represents a new opportunity. Fail to collect a caller’s information early in the conversation, and you risk losing that opportunity altogether. Each call that ends without collecting information is money lost. You’re at their will – you lose the opportunity to follow up and sell your services to them. If they do call back, you’ll have no record of what happened during the initial conversation. Maybe they explained their whole case, or had a question about pricing. By neglecting to record those details, your firm may come off as unprofessional and unorganized.
This can cause frustration in callers who now have to repeat themselves. In fact, they may grow frustrated enough to hang up and dial a competing firm instead. There’s a lot at stake in these conversations, which is why it’s so important that receptionist phone etiquette is followed to the letter. Don’t let a potential client hang up without at least collecting their contact information.
When to Partner with a Legal Virtual Receptionist
The aforementioned law firm telephone answering tips are really the tip of the iceberg. If your in-house administrative team is finding it hard to meet these basic standards, it may be time to call for reinforcements. Legal virtual receptionists can assist existing staff, or, if your firm is just getting off the ground, serve as the sole customer service voice for your team.
There are a lot of advantages that come with such a partnership. For starters, virtual receptionists can work around the clock to ensure there’s always a friendly voice ready to help. They can also work from customized call scripts to ensure their greetings match your preferred language and tone. No matter your goals, an attorney virtual receptionist can go a long way to up your customer experiences.
Try MAP Today for Free
A virtual receptionist for attorneys can really do wonders for your firm. Callers will appreciate prompt service, while employees will be grateful for a break from the telephone. If you’re eager to give MAP a try, sign up for a free trial of our live answering service. It’s the single best way to see how our receptionists can assist your firm. If after a week you’re not convinced, there’s no obligation to continue using our services. With so much to gain and so little at risk, why not give MAP a try?