Clients have a lot of choices when they need a lawyer. They’ve talked to friends and family, picked from listings or maybe they’ve even opened the Yellow Pages. (Remember those?) The law is a competitive field. How can firms stand out when people are looking for legal representation?
When people make the decision to hire a lawyer, they expect a minimum of professionalism. But as in a lot of other areas, doing the minimum is not good enough. You should give an impression that you know a lot about your area of the law. Since the law in the U.S. varies from state to state, there’s a lot of information to keep up with.
Beside the law, you’ll have to be upfront with your clients and have a fee schedule that makes sense. Having good support staff, including receptionists, will make it much easier to serve your clients. Again, this is why you might want to consider a live answering service or virtual receptionist.
First Impressions Count
Is your office neat and tidy? Is your appearance professional and businesslike? Do you answer your client’s questions completely? When hiring a law firm, first impressions matter, as they do in a lot of areas in life. If the client doesn’t sense that you’re a credible professional, well, there are a lot of other firms they can choose from. Outside of the office, answering calls in a professional matter could also put you over the top, which comes to…
Answer Your Phone
A person who needs a lawyer isn’t doing it for fun. A potential client might need help dealing with custody of his or her children, suing a business partner or defending against criminal charges. That’s why it’s important to be able to get in touch with you easily. The quickest way to get in touch with legal representation is still the phone. That’s why it’s important to actually answer your phone as quickly as possible, and to check your messages as soon as they come in. Failing to do so can cause anything from lost business to complaints to the state bar association. That’s why you it’s important to stay on top of your phone calls. This is where having a live answering service really counts.
Stay On Top of Deadlines
The law waits for no person. There are always deadlines that lawyers will have to keep track of: hearings, court dates, depositions, paperwork filings. You’ll need to pay careful attention to when deadlines are coming up. As a lawyer, your schedule is always busy. There’s no way you’ll be able to remember everything. Even with tools like Google Calendar, you’ll still need a human element. Again, this is where having a virtual receptionist can be useful. You can be reminded of upcoming meetings and court cases so you don’t miss them. Again, not meeting your obligations will not only cost you business, but could also open you up to disciplinary action by the state bar association.
Have A Live Answering Service
After finding your office through listings or on recommendations from friends, the first point of contact is likely to be over the phone. Whether a client is going to go with you or with a competitor depends on how the other person on the line reacts. Do they answer promptly? Do they know what they’re talking about? Do they connect you to the right person. If you specialize in the law rather than running a live answering service, it might be hard to figure out who’s really up to the task and who isn’t. You might want to consider using a virtual receptionist. If you haven’t noticed, we have a bit of experience with that.
Meeting these criteria above really comes down to having good support staff, especially receptionists who are the first point of contact between you and a client. If you have trouble finding talent locally, there are ways you can get courteous, professional receptionists. You might want to consider Abby Connect.