Abby Connect understands spending marketing dollars and resources are top priority when growing your law firm. You spend time and money marketing your practice to encourage people to visit your website or call your firm. But do you have an actual process for who answers? Because once you have your marketing in place, getting those phone calls and chats answered needs to be part of your strategy! Don’t simply generate leads, be sure those leads are captured and converted into new clients.
If you have a receptionist, great! However, is that person chained to the desk? Is your receptionist available 24/7 to answer your chat inquiries on your website? If the answer to either of these questions is no, then you must have a plan in place for when your receptionist does step away, takes a break, goes on vacation, gets sick, or goes home for the day. A virtual receptionist service like Abby Connect is a fraction of the price of an in-house receptionist and we offer pricing transparency and predictability.
Now, if no one answers your incoming calls or website inquiries, the first impression of you and your law firm is not a good one. Having your phones answered will improve conversion rates because you can lose business if you don’t answer! 85% of callers who do not reach you on the first call will not call back and will reach out to your competitor. To get even close to a return on your marketing investment and to keep your Cost Per Acquisition and Cost Per Lead low, you must answer those phone calls. Even missing some of the calls from your potential clients means losing clients – they won’t leave a voicemail, and they won’t call back – especially with almost half of all law firms taking 3 or more days to return voicemail messages (according to the ABA). Would you wait 3 days for a business to return your call, or would you call other providers?
You probably have someone answering calls and chats some of the time, but that won’t deliver on your marketing and client acquisition goals. Even worse, if you or your staff are answering you’re wasting billable hours fielding potentially unqualified leads and spam calls. Not to mention how disruptive these interruptions can be to your day. According to researchers at UC Irvine it takes around 23 minutes to get back on task after an interruption. You want to work smarter not harder. You want to grow and not be spinning your wheels.
Did you know 61% of law firm inbound inquiries come from a phone call and 41% of consumers prefer live chat support over any other form of communication? These are huge numbers and a virtual receptionist service like Abby Connect can help support your marketing strategy when it comes to answering your phones and live chats, especially if your in-house receptionist or staff are running late, are helping another client, or have left for the evening or weekend.
While your in-house receptionist is the first point of contact when a new client calls, a virtual receptionist can step in, optimize your team, offer support, and make sure your intake process continues when your in-house receptionist is unavailable. A skilled virtual receptionist team will maintain your great reputation. Services like Abby Connect train your dedicated team of receptionists to represent your firm as a true extension of your practice.
Beyond simply answering new calls and chats, how do you get them engaged and weed out unqualified prospects? How do you know your marketing dollars are working effectively? How do you better prepare for your initial consultation? Here’s where the right client intake process can set you up for success.
Did you know your client intake questions can better inform how your marketing strategy is working? Well, it does! In working with a virtual receptionist service or empowering your staff to handle your intake needs, you must know the right questions to ask, know what information you want to gather, and how this information can shed light on your marketing efforts.
For example, if your virtual receptionist asks your new lead how they heard about your firm you can identify what part of your budget or what campaign generated the lead. When your service asks callers for information about the type of case they’re calling about or their demographics, you can understand whether or not your marketing efforts are generating qualified leads.
So, how do you improve your intake process to gain more clients, weed out unqualified leads, and be better prepared for your initial consultation?
Here are 5 tips to improve your process:
Tip #1: To have a great phone voice, SMILE.
Your receptionist’s tone of voice is a big deal. No one wants to speak to an unengaged, bored, or monotone-sounding person, or even worse, someone who sounds annoyed, aggressive, or too busy to be bothered. To have an amazing tone for that first impression (and even to help get in the right frame of mind) is to smile. Of course, you want to have an appropriate tone for the caller’s feelings and their situation but when the receptionist first answers the phone, the tone should start out positive and welcoming.
Tip #2: Actively listen to provide empathy.
It doesn’t matter if it’s the receptionist, a paralegal, an office manager, or a partner, if they’re engaging with a potential client how they listen can make or break a contract. Your receptionist especially should be listening to the caller’s tone, be able to understand their situation, and recognize what they’re feeling. The more information your receptionist has about the caller, their case, and their needs the better the opportunity to provide empathy. Active listening WILL build trust.
Tip #3: Personally connect.
After listening to the caller your receptionist can respond appropriately. Your receptionist should also ask engaging and thoughtful questions to make the caller feel heard and acknowledged, as it will help them feel invested in the process. This will decrease the likelihood that they will contact a competitor. Engaging and connecting with callers turn their day around. The more your receptionist does this, the more likely they’ll capture the caller’s heart and capture their business.
Tip #4: Answer basic questions.
Your receptionist should also be able to answer basic questions about the consultation process to ease the caller’s mind about the experience. Most people who call an attorney are in a high stress situation – people aren’t calling attorneys typically because things are going well – so, the more your receptionist can show empathy, confidence and demonstrate competency the safer the caller will feel and will trust your firm.
Tip #5: Have a backup for your receptionist.
If your firm is inundated with calls, the receptionist can only take on so many calls at once. Also, what happens if your receptionist is stuck in traffic, is late, sick, or it’s after hours? Allowing your calls to go to voicemail is a bad first impression and 75% of callers will not leave a voicemail. You don’t want to miss any calls going to your firm or any chats on your site (especially when you’re investing in getting them to reach out). When you respond to every single inquiry it will help you gain more clients.
The impact a receptionist can have on prescreening prospective clients is huge. Paralegals at times are taking on receptionist responsibilities and aren’t focusing on their own role, plus they are being taken away from billable time. Prescreening should really be done at the receptionist level to ensure qualified leads are taken care of first, and it allows efficiency for the rest of the staff.
A virtual receptionist ensures a live person ALWAYS answers your calls instead of the caller going to voicemail. A service like Abby Connect helps attorneys save money, optimize time, conduct intake, and convert more callers to clients.
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