At a law office, every moment you can devote to cases is good for your clients and good for the firm. Each distraction – like a phone call or voicemail message – diverts your attention and prevents you from focusing on essential legal work.
Research shows that just hearing your phone ring, even if you don’t answer it, causes a drop in productivity and 7% more work errors. Let’s look at 3 secrets the country’s top lawyers are using to spend less time on day-to-day phone calls and more time being productive.
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Secret 1: Virtual Reception Services
Law firms, particularly small law firms, are high on the list of businesses that benefit from virtual reception services. Law firms operate in an extremely competitive field, where missed calls are missed opportunities to take on urgent cases. Potential clients will likely move on to another firm quickly if you don’t take their call.
A virtual legal receptionist answers the phone in your clients’ time of need, even when you’re busy. Virtual reception goes beyond a traditional answering service, with highly-trained customer service professionals who get to know your clients individually. They’re not just message-takers; they’re lead generators.
The calls that come in through your virtual reception service can be addressed immediately, prioritized, tracked, delivered to your email inbox, and handled with as much – or as little – interaction with the legal team as needed.
Low-priority calls, like general questions, are addressed easily by the receptionist. High-priority calls, like urgent issues with major cases, can be diverted directly to a lawyer. The firm sets the rules and the virtual receptionist keeps everything flowing smoothly.
Secret 2: No Robotic Responses
Another secret of top lawyers? They don’t send any calls to voicemail – ever. Instead of using an automated menu with a robotic voice, they make sure every interaction with clients is handled by a human being. Automated menus are off-putting to new legal clients, who often don’t know exactly what they need and are looking for advice.
The same goes for email: Top lawyers never allow a client’s email to go unanswered. One-third of new legal clients now start their search online and either uses a web form or email to contact a law firm. If you just reply with an auto-response and never follow up, they’ll simply send a message to another firm.
In terms of missed messages, here’s a statistic that’s a bit unsettling: 42% of the time, lawyers take 3 or more days to respond to a new client’s message. That’s a huge amount of wasted opportunity. But if you’re a law firm that always responds immediately with a warm, human voice, you’ll be ahead of the competition.
Secret 3: Go Totally Mobile
Another way to spend less time on calls and more time on cases: Cut the cord on your law firm. With all the modern options for mobile work, a legal team no longer needs to operate in a physical office space.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t maintain a legal storefront at all – law offices still boost morale for stressed-out legal workers and build trust with clients. But it means your top lawyers don’t need to be physically located at the office in order to serve their clients well.
Working offsite, lawyers can maintain the focus it takes to delve into complex legal matters and personally interact with high-value clients. By using technology, these on-the-go lawyers can ensure communication continues to flow seamlessly, regardless of location.
Here are a few ways a law firm can support mobile work:
- Keep just a core team of legal assistants together at the home base
- Equip everyone on the team with mobile devices
- Use a cloud-based platform that allows collaboration across the world
- Maintain client contact through virtual reception
- Set strict standards for fast response times to clients
- Establish a hierarchy of contact rules to prevent unnecessary interruptions
Ready to rethink your law firm’s client management strategy? Connect with Reliable Receptionist, an off-site Receptionist that functions as an extension of your staff and the front-end of your practice.