How to Spoil Your Law Firm’s Clients By Offering the Best Customer Service

Spoil Your Law Firm Clients | Back Office Betties

Your law firm’s clients are your livelihood. They’re the reason your law firm exists, right? For that reason, you need to do everything in your power to offer the best customer service of any law firms around so that you can keep them!

Set The Bar For Higher Expectations

Once you get a taste of the good life, there’s no going back. Stay at the Ritz Carlton for a week and it’s going to be hard to swallow staying at a Motel 6 ever again. You’ve seen what you can have and now you don’t want anything less. This is true of your clients and their experience with your law firm. If you offer them the best of the best, why would they ever go back to the skeezy lawyer their cousin’s best friend’s sister knows?

Spoil your clients to set the expectation high and keep them coming back for more!

Ways to Spoil Your Clients

The word “spoil” shouldn’t scare you off; you don’t need to be spending thousands on every client. Instead, focus on giving your clients an experience that they can’t get at other law firms to show them that they are valued at your firm.

For those who have started seeing clients in the office again, spruce up your waiting area. Create a space that feels welcoming, calming, and genuinely nice to be in when your clients may be feeling anxious or upset. We all know that visiting with your lawyer isn’t necessarily a fun thing to do, so stand apart by making it a little more comfortable. You can start with comfy seating. Then add some extras like flowers, prepackaged snacks, water bottles, hand sanitizer, and nice music. These are just a few options, but do whatever feels right to your law firm and your client base.

Remember the little things. Is your client’s birthday coming up? The anniversary of winning their case? Send them a card or small gift to let them know you are thinking about them. Trust us, they won’t forget it! Small acts of kindness like this go a long way for referrals and repeat business because you show that you really care.

Keep them updated. Your clients are anxious. You’ve been through this a million times and know every step of your proceedings like the back of your hand. Your client is likely going through this for the first time and may be unsure what to expect. Help ease their nerves by keeping them up to date on what’s happening in their case and what they can expect in the future. Pro tip: You don’t have to personally call them to do this. Have your receptionist give them a quick ring to keep them in the loop. Psssttt… Back Office Betties can do this for you too.

Send a thoughtful gift at the close of their case. Did they get the settlement they hoped for? Were you able to finalize their estate plan? Did the custody battle come to a close? Whether you won or lost, send your client a gift and just change up your message to congratulate or console them. Gifting sets you apart from the rest and keeps you top of mind, as well as making you likable. We all know by now that people do business with those they know and like.

Have The Best Law Firm Customer Service Around

The first step to great customer service is hiring a face for your law firm that is friendly and helpful. That’s right, we are talking about your receptionist! Spoil your clients with great customer service, starting with their very first communication with your firm and every call thereafter. If you’re not ready to staff a full-time receptionist, Back Office Betties offers up relentlessly friendly service with teams of skilled legal virtual receptionists.

Many law firms are bad at communicating with their clients. In fact, the number one bar complaint is poor communication. Step up your law firm’s customer service by ensuring that your communication is top-notch. This is a big step to setting yourself apart and ensuring that your client feels so spoiled that they won’t want to do business with anyone else!

Now, a friendly receptionist and communication don’t mean much if your client meets with you and you’re distracted or less than friendly. Be sure that when you are meeting with your client they feel that they have your full attention and that you are on their side. Smile when you’re talking (when appropriate, of course), be knowledgable about their case, acknowledge their concerns, and apologize if/when you make a mistake. All of these things lead to your client knowing/liking/trusting you which leads to repeat business and referrals.

How to Automate Your Law Firm While You’re Working From Home

Automate your law firm while working from home

Now that you’re working from home for the foreseeable future, whether you are more or less busy than usual, it is the perfect time to automate your law firm. If you’re more busy than usual, this is important to help you save time and money and bill more of the hours that you are working. If you are less busy than usual, this is the perfect time to dedicate time to making your transition back to the office easier! Pro tip: You can also use this downtime to really hone in on your marketing and automate that, too!

Why You Should Automate Your Law Firm

To some, automation sounds scary and gives the impression that you are taking the personal touch out of everything in your firm. However, our favorite definition of automation is the creation of a system that takes repetitive work off of your plate and allows things to happen seamlessly without you thinking about them. This can absolutely mean that another human does the task for you! Whether you automate tasks that your assistant handles or you outsource tasks completely, you don’t have to take the personal touches out of your law firm. And frankly, you shouldn’t!

Automation provides time freedom and ensures that you don’t need to be working on things that aren’t billable. Once you set up a system, it should be able to run over and over again with only your initial hours invested. Can you imagine how much time and money this saves you?! No need, because we found the facts and figures for you:

According to the Clio Legal Trends Report, attorneys spend an average of only 2.5 hours on billable work per day and only actually collect payment for 86% of those hours. In addition, there is data to suggest that you could save up to 9 work weeks each year by automating the repetitive and non-billable tasks. Imagine the number of billable hours you could fit into 9 work weeks!

Can you picture how much simpler and enriching your workday would be if you could set up processes one time and focus solely on your billable work afterward? You signed up to be an attorney. You’re good at being an attorney. You shouldn’t be wasting time each day sending invoices or answering the phone for solicitors or sending marketing emails. Heck, you really shouldn’t even be spending time intaking new clients!

How Automation Will Help You to Work From Home

Whether you are super busy or pretty slow during this pandemic, you are likely juggling work with family. Not to mention, you’re trying to do it all in the same place with no breaks. You can’t really automate your family but you can absolutely automate your work to make the juggle a little easier.

Consider this. Your phone is ringing but you’re in the middle of typing up a client agreement and your child needs help figuring out a math problem and your spouse is asking what you’d like for dinner and your clients are blowing up your inbox with questions. Wouldn’t this scenario be so much less stressful if your phone was being answered by someone else and you know that your client agreement is already typed up and sends when triggered by the previous task and your email has messages drafted and ready to go that cover most of your client FAQs, you just have to hit send? Phew! That run-on sentence was exactly how chaotic this series of events feels when you’re not automating your firm.

Now you can focus on quality time and the client questions that are only applicable to their case. You can spend more working hours on billable work and research. You can focus on helping out with math problems and cooking dinner. Your phone isn’t ringing off the hook and your clients are taken care of in the background. What a dream!

What You Can Automate in Your Law Firm

This is not an all-inclusive list, but it is a great start! Keep in mind that you can automate just about anything you want to; automation can just be another human doing a task for you. Get creative! Is there anything you absolutely dread doing or that takes up a ton of your time? There is likely a way to automate it.

Client Management

Managing your leads and clients and all of their questions, matters, case notes, etc. can be really tough. There is so much to keep straight! When you use a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool, things get a whole lot easier. If there is a certain process that happens during client intake or after their first call, CRM makes it really easy to automate it. You can set up tasks that trigger based on certain criteria. Say that you have a new client call: You enter their information which triggers an automated email thanking them for their call and informing them of next steps. Then a task triggers to your assistant to reach out and ask follow up questions. Once those answers are input, another task triggers that informs you of what you need to do for their case. The limit of possibilities does not exist! Not to mention, every step is documented so you can easily see what has been done, what emails have been sent, and what still needs to be done.

Invoicing

Make payment processing easy and painless by triggering invoices to be sent after certain tasks are closed or deadlines are met. You can easily draft common and customized invoices for different items or billable hours and link them to your client management so that they send at the proper times. Some payment processing systems will even send reminders when due dates are approaching or pass by, helping to ensure you don’t miss out on getting paid for your hard work.

Scheduling

There are two great ways to automate your scheduling and client intake. We believe that it is best to implement both!

The first is to have a scheduling link on your website that allows clients to put themselves on your calendar. You can set up a thorough intake process that asks all of the pertinent questions and delivers them to your inbox without anyone having to speak to the client to get it. Ease of access is a big selling point for busy clients so the easier you make things on them, the easier things can be on you!

The second is to have someone else schedule appointments and intake new clients for you. There is nothing billable about grabbing information from a PNC and clients are not expecting to get through to the attorney the first time they call. The smart thing to do is to pay someone else to field those calls and ask all of the pertinent questions, then schedule the caller on your calendar under the appropriate appointment type. This one leads right into our next automation.

Phone Calls

Answering your own phone calls is for the birds. How many times does someone call you over and over again when you can’t (or just don’t want to) answer? What is the number of calls you miss when you’re in a meeting or having a Zoom appointment with a client? What happens when someone calls while you’re eating lunch and just took a huge bite of your sandwich? How often are your kids screaming or your dog barking in the background while you’re trying to be professional on the phone?

Even if you don’t automate anything else while working from home, this one is a must. Having someone to screen your calls and speak to your clients while relaying the important stuff to you is invaluable and saves more time than you could imagine. Whether this person is an answering service (psst, we’d love to help!) or a full-time receptionist, this automation is the number one thing you can do to make more money while also increasing your productivity. Remember – you’re not getting paid to answer the phone for a telemarketer. At the same time, not answering every time is the quickest way to lose a client.

Email

You may be wondering how you can automate your emails when your inbox is overflowing daily. The answer is easy: Set up templates that answer FAQs. You can use a template as an easy jumping off point if more information needs to be added. However, this is a speedy way to quickly answer those frequently asked questions with the click of a button.

Another option would be to hire a Virtual Assistant to monitor your inbox and reply to those FAQs or to screen your messages. This is really helpful when you get an array of emails and need help keeping them straight. We offer this to our clients who are on our Platinum plan and have heard nothing but raving reviews as to how helpful it is.

Social Media Posting

Social media can be frustrating and time-consuming. One thing that really helps to make social media less difficult is to plan ahead. Schedule your posts ahead of time for the month with different tools like Facebook’s Publishing Tools or Hootsuite. This not only saves you daily frustration, but it saves you the time of switching tasks. When you’re on the spot each day, it can take twice as long to actually make a post. Then you have to consider the time spent refocusing on your important tasks at hand.

Marketing

Automating your marketing is a huge time saver and one of the top things you need to automate first. Since marketing is what brings you clients in the first place, it just makes sense to spend the time setting it up to run automatically. Make money when you sleep, baby!

The first step is to ask yourself a few questions. What’s already working in your marketing? Do you have a fantastic lead magnet? Are there marketing emails that have gotten great response in the past? Take all of that and create systems so that everything runs seamlessly without your touch. This takes some time but it is hands down so worth it! And if you’re less busy than usual right now, what better to do than set up some money-making systems?

Set up workflows through your CRM to send email sequences to leads, target your traffic through pixels on your website, and never stop using ads that are working. You can also create a monthly campaign calendar that you recycle each year. This helps to keep your marketing fresh without spending too much time on it every month. Simply create your monthly offers and gimmicks for the year once, then reuse what works.

Relish in Your Newfound Time

We hope this helps offer some insight into how you can automate your law firm and make your day-to-day life so much easier! Use that freed up time to hang out with your family or use it to bill more hours, but whatever you do, quit doing the repetitive tasks yourself. Automation is truly the best thing you can do for your law firm in terms of growth (and keeping your sanity).

If you’d like to chat about how we can help with your phones, please give us a call at (800)958-8591.

Transitioning Your Law Firm to Work From Home

Back Office Betties Law Firms Working From HomeWorking from home sounds like a dream – and it is! But when you’re used to going to the office every day, transitioning your law firm to work from home is not as easy as just bringing home your computer. Who’s answering the phone? Will you be able to transfer calls to your colleagues? How will you communicate with the team you’re used to seeing every day? Will you be able to eliminate distractions? What part of your house will you work in? How will you keep the kids at bay?

You’ve probably already noticed the importance of these questions if you’ve recently shifted your office to working from home. In the case that you haven’t quite figured it all out yet, we’re here to help! Back Office Betties employees all work from home, and we’ve been doing so from the start – 6 years now! We’ve got the experience and the know-how and we’re going to fill you in on some of our tips and tricks on being successful while working from home.

The Basics of Working From Home

Before we get into the meat of actually transitioning your law firm to work from home, there are some basics you should know. Implementing the following will not only set you up for success, but it will also make your workdays feel a whole lot more normal during this period of everything being not normal.

  • Have a Dedicated Workspace

    Set yourself up for success by setting up an area of your home that is only for working. This helps to eliminate the distractions of the rest of your house and also helps to let you stop working when your workday is done.

  • Decorate Your Workspace

    We feel better and work better when we enjoy the space we’re in. Working on a dirty card table in the garage is going to be a whole lot less motivating than a home office with pictures on the walls. If you don’t have a home office, do your best to set up a makeshift office with a desk in another room. Add some flowers or your favorite notebooks to really make it feel like a place you want to spend your days.

  • Get Ready Every Morning

    You may be tempted to roll out of bed late and get straight to work in your pajamas. It’s very very tempting – but trust us! Your productivity and your mood will thank you for making the effort to feel good. Take a shower, make your bed, and brush your teeth. You’ll thank us later.

  • Set Boundaries With Your Family

    Make it clear that your work time is important and interruptions should be very few and far between. Some of our receptionists have makeshift signs on their home office doors that outline reasons you may interrupt and reasons you may not. This especially helps with kiddos who are seeking attention or want to tattle on their sibling and promotes resourcefulness. Obviously this doesn’t work for toddlers but is a great option for setting boundaries with older kids and spouses.

  • Schedule Breaks

    Nothing will burn you out more than staring at your screen for 10 hours. Schedule breaks for snacks and lunch. If you have kids, schedule quick playtime breaks as well. This helps you to fight the parental guilt of saying no to them and also helps you stay connected to your family throughout the day.

  • Dabble in Time Blocking

    If you haven’t tried this method already, it’s a great way to boost your productivity and keep yourself on a schedule. Time blocking is basically a way of scheduling yourself to focus on one task (batching your tasks) for a certain period of time. The thought behind this is that you waste less time by switching tasks and eliminate distractions because you are only focusing on that one thing. This productivity hack also works perfectly with scheduling small breaks as mentioned above!

  • Create a Work Playlist

    Listen to music that helps you focus on a low volume. Make this a part of your routine – sit at your workspace and turn your music on a low volume right away. This will help you get in the zone and subconsciously send triggers to your body that it is time to work.

  • Turn Your Cell Phone Upside Down

    This one may sound really silly but eliminating distractions is truly key to staying focused while working at home. Turning your phone screen face down eliminates those catchy notifications that grab your eye. Checking one message can send you down a Facebook or LinkedIn rabbit hole and nobody needs that! Turn your notification alerts off and only keep the ringer on for phone calls so that you can stay focused without being out of the loop.

Transitioning Your Law Firm to Work From Home

Now that you’ve got some of the basics down and have found some ways that help you stay on task and productive, it’s time to determine the logistics of it all! How will you actually move your law firm into your home office?

First Steps

  • Update your office phone’s main voicemail. You do not want your voicemail to say that you are closed – clients will hang up and find someone else! Instead, let people know that you and working from home and how to get ahold of you. Set each staff member’s voicemail to provide their current contact information.
  • Forward your office phone line to your cell phone. This is usually a pretty simple process and your phone provider can give you guidance on the exact steps to take.
  • Update your website to include new working hours and appointment types. Consider adding an online calendar that allows them to schedule video appointments to your website. This will save everyone time and energy!
  • Alert your clients that office appointments will take place through video conference calls. Set up an account with your favorite video conferencing site and be sure to let clients know how to access your meetings when they have scheduled appointments.
  • Get automated!! Make things easier on yourself by setting up processes that don’t need you to touch them. Automate client emails and follow-ups, automate legal agreements and payment requests… everything that you can. This will save you so much time and headaches while working from home.
  • Set up a chat platform to stay in contact with your team. Slack is perfect for this and has a reasonable price tag.
  • Set up a backdrop for your video meetings. Professionalism doesn’t have to go out the window because you are working from home! Whether it be hanging a plain sheet behind you, setting up in front of your best-decorated wall, or simply adjusting your backdrop with settings on Zoom. Whatever you do, do not take video calls with a huge mess behind you.

Get to Work

  • Create a daily and weekly to-do list. Look at your calendar each week and create a list of vital tasks to complete and/or meeting you have, then segment that list into a daily list. This helps you to stay on track with your goals and not accidentally forget vital tasks. Update and review this every morning!
  • Ensure that your computer is password protected and that you lock it every time you step away. Your client data is private and you want to be sure nobody can mess with your work.
  • Avoid writing anything down on paper. If you must take notes, do so by typing them out on a virtual sticky note or in a Word document. With kids at home, your notes can be strewn about or colored on and that is not a mistake we want to see you make. Trust us on this one ;)
  • Consider hiring an answering service, even if temporarily. If your family is home with you and you don’t feel confident in the ability to answer every phone call without interruptions, consider outsourcing your phones to an answering service. They can screen your calls and schedule your appointments so that all you have to do is show up for appointments.

We hope this article was helpful and makes the transition to working from home easier on you! If you have any questions or are interested in trying out a legal-specialized answering service while you get through this time, give us a call at (800) 958-8591. Stay home and stay healthy!

Managing Your Law Firm in a Pandemic

Managing Your Law Firm Through PandemicManaging your law firm in a pandemic is not going to be anything like managing your law firm when the world isn’t in crisis mode. You have to stand firm in some areas and be much more lenient in others. You have to keep a much closer eye on your financials and be a little more flexible with your employees. This isn’t the same rodeo that you’re used to.

But the one thing that stays true is that you cannot give up! Your clients and our economy need you. Even if courts being closed has put a damper on your incoming cases, you will be highly desired as soon as they open again. It’s important to immediately shift your firm’s management practices so that you can still be afloat when that time arises.

4 Areas Where Your Law Firm’s Management Should Shift in a Pandemic

The key to keeping your firm running through the current worldly events that have shut down so much of the country is to keep your clients, staff, and bank accounts happy.

Support Your Clients Through This Difficult Period

Your clients are your livelihood – without them you are nothing. Now is not the time to be hard on them or force contracts down their throats. Everyone is in a similar boat; we are all struggling in some way through this current period of trauma. It may not look the same for you as it does for your clients, but it is important to understand where they are coming from when they make requests or cop an attitude.

  • Consider being lenient when upholding contract terms. If continuing to pay you will be detrimental to your client, you cannot expect that their experience will be good. You cannot expect that your working relationship will continue without a hitch. It may be in your law firm’s best long-term interest to let the clients go who are pushing back on their contracts. And honestly, do you want to be partially responsible for someone going hungry because you continued to charge them after they shared their situation with you? Save your sanity and your morals, and possibly elicit some rave reviews over your customer service, by letting them go.
  • Offer payment deferments or discounts. If you need to keep cash flowing in, one of the best ways to do so is to offer discounts that keep you working and retain your clients through their financial hardships.
  • Communicate with your clients. If things are changing in your law firm because of the pandemic, let your clients know! Whether that be a change of business hours, revision of policies, change in appointment types – keep your clients in the loop.
  • Encourage your clients to communicate with you. Let them know you are here for them and that they are free to discuss any current concerns with you.

Support Your Employees – Don’t Leave Them in the Dark

If you are realizing that you need to let some or all of your employees go to financially survive the pandemic, let them know as soon as you know. Dragging your feet and waiting until the last minute is just delaying them from getting the government support they can qualify for. Communication is key and relaying the complete truth to your staff is going to earn far more respect than leading them on and providing a false sense of hope.

If you do need to make some lay-offs, provide support to your staff through information. Inform them of the programs available to them in your state and assist them in filling out the forms they need. They are likely feeling a lot of the same stress that you are, so making this transition as easy as possible is going to help tremendously and prove your worth as an employer. You will need to staff up again when this is all said and done – don’t burn your bridges with the people who already know how you like to run your law firm.

However, if you are able to keep your employees on at their typical pay rate, please do so! Set your staff members up to work from home; show them that you prioritize their safety and stability. Not only will you be helping the people that you work closely with every day, but you will also be encouraging their loyalty to you.

Get Ahold of Your Financials

Right now is the perfect time to really take a look at your firm’s banking.

  • What do you spend vs bring in?
  • Is your income being affected by the Coronavirus pandemic?
  • What services are completely unnecessary for your law firm right now?
  • What services could you hire that would actually cut other costs?
  • Do you need to apply for some loans to float you through the pandemic?

Support Your Vendors and Services

If you have planned ahead and have cash reserves, now is the time to use them to help you while also helping the vendors and services that your company uses! Many companies are offering discounts and major deals when you pay in advance for the services you’ll receive in the future. This is a win-win; not only are you getting a great deal but you are helping to support the vendors that your law firm depends on and ensuring they still stand when the current crisis is over.

As an example, Back Office Betties is currently offering our clients a huge savings if they pre-pay for future months on their current plan. This helps us to continue helping them!

If you don’t have the cash reserves, just do your best to keep on as normal. The vendors that serve you rely on their clients’ payments to keep their wheels spinning and many are hurting right now as their clients cut costs.

 

We hope this post proves useful to you and provides you with some much-needed optimism. Have questions or want to chat about how we can help? Give us a call at (800) 958-8591 or reach out on Facebook.

Things To Do Other Than Panic About The Coronavirus

There is no doubt that many business owners are struggling right now in the face of a pandemic that is shutting everyone and everything down. Luckily, the Betties business model is set up to weather these types of storms. Our employees work from home every day so only minor schedule changes are needing to be made for team members with sudden loss of childcare. While we are able to keep on business as usual, we understand that many attorneys and business owners may not know what to do at this time.

Kids are home from school, your offices may be shut down, trials are being postponed, and clients still need your help.

Rather than panic, this is the time to take a look at your processes and start creating a new plan.

We’ve outlined some helpful ways to spend your time working on your business and ensuring that your law firm survives through this pandemic.

Go Virtual

  • Alert your client base that you will be taking virtual meetings over the phone or through a video meeting platform like Zoom. This keeps you and your clients safe while also allowing you to continue to prepare for their current legal matters.
  • Take advantage of our friends over at CLE Companion who are offering a discount with code “Betties” for your required online training.
  • If you typically operate with an in-house receptionist, set them up virtually to take your calls. Froward their phones and consider restricting your office hours.
  • If you typically take your own calls, set up virtual receptionist services so that you can focus on other aspects of the business while your kids are home and you’re juggling your family life. We are offering a 40% discount for one month to help attorneys get back on their feet during this time.

Work On Your Business, Not In Your Business

If business is slowing and active cases are falling off, it can be easy to feel defeat. But this is the prime time to really work on being efficient and productive. Don’t lose momentum because you can get through this.

  • As mentioned above, use this downtime to work on your required CLE trainings.
  • Draft up templates of common letters and documents you send out to clients and set up a workflow that automates them.
  • Create a campaign calendar for your marketing. Be sure to include options that you can run right now as well as when the pandemic madness is behind us.
  • Take a look at everything you do in the office that can be done virtually and start documenting processes for them. Our friends at Trainual are the perfect hosts for your documented processes and make it easy to share them with your team.
  • Create an emergency plan. Late is better than never! Use your downtime to create the plan for a business emergency that you wish you would have already had in place. Ideally, this plan will cover every possible scenario that could affect your business and outline how to proceed in each event.
  • Take business courses from the Small Business Association. They offer free online classes for every stage in your business, from startup to growth.

Ask For Help

  • Apply for a loan through the SBA. Rates are incredible and funds will be available in every state once they sign a declaration. Not every state has signed yet but every state will be added after their governor shows that their counties are being affected. Anyone who can show that sales and revenue are being affected and is a private business or private non-profit is eligible. Loans up to $25k will be available without providing collateral.
  • Facebook for business is offering $100 million in grants to 30,000 small businesses. More information will become available but grants mean you do not pay it back.

Other Resources

Above all else, stay positive, focused, and continue to work hard. The waters are rough right now and we are all in uncharted territory, but the best way to make it out alive is to keep on going.

If the Betties can help you with anything at this time, please feel free to give us a call at (800) 958-8591.

How to Choose the Best Virtual Receptionist for Your Law Firm

How to choose the best virtual receptionist service for law firmsSo you’re ready to hire a virtual receptionist for your law firm? Or, you’re ready to at least think about hiring a virtual receptionist. Congratulations! This is a huge step in the right direction for growth in your law firm. We’ve designated 2020 to be a year of growth here at Back Office Betties and we hope to help all of our attorney friends do the same.

There’s a lot to know before you choose the best virtual receptionist service for your law firm. There are countless services that all claim to be the best (we are shamelessly one of them!), so research is key. What are your priorities when it comes to hiring a virtual receptionist? Is it 24/7 call answering? Or can you make do with normal business hours? Do you prioritize high-quality calls or is quantity over quality your motto? Regardless, we’ve compiled all you need to know right here in this handy dandy article!

Why should law firms hire an answering service?

It’s no secret that a phone that never stops ringing is a giant pain in the rear. What is a little surprising, though, is just how much those phone calls interrupt your daily work! Did you know that attorneys spend an average of only 2.5 hours on billable work each day? That makes up only approximately 30% of a typical workday. In addition, according to the 2019 Clio Legal Trends report, only 86% of those billed hours actually get paid.

Do you want to work for free? Certainly not!

The right virtual receptionist or answering service not only frees up your time and reduces your interruptions, but they also help to follow up and collect those missing payments.

Now, you may ask, why shouldn’t I just hire an in-house receptionist to handle all of that?

One of the most obvious answers to that question is: Cost. To hire a full-time legal receptionist, you’re looking at a cost of approximately $4,123.60 per month after factoring in employer taxes and benefits. Add to that the lost income from time spent recruiting, hiring, and training someone, plus the time lost for managing 1 employee (6 hours/week, by the way).

Now spin around and look at pricing for an answering service. With services offering a range of approximately $70 per month up to $1599 per month, even the top plans are going to give you major bang for your buck! The fact that you don’t lose any time managing or recruiting staff is just a bonus. Check out the following graphic we created for more stats on this:

Cost of hiring in-house receptionist for law firms

Is your law firm ready to hire a virtual receptionist?

The first step to hiring a virtual receptionist is deciding whether or not you are ready. If you spend your days frustrated and chronically ignoring calls that come through, the answer is that you probably are! But there are some other key points to consider:

  • Are you ready to hand over the reins when it comes to being the first client contact?
  • Do you want to land more business than ever before?
  • Will you be organized enough to follow up with messages you didn’t take yourself?

If you said no to any of the above, you might not be ready yet! That’s totally okay, but keep in mind that doing the same thing gives you the same results. Bookmark this article and keep researching, but come back here when you feel like you might be ready.

What does your law firm need in an answering service?

Now that you have determined that you are in fact ready to hire, it’s time to figure out your priorities. No two answering services or virtual receptionist services are the same! Some offer extended hours, some offer higher quality calls, some are cheaper, and some are legal experts. Let’s narrow down your priorities to determine what you need to ask your prospects!

  • What are your business hours? When do people typically call you? If you get calls at all hours, you might consider a 24/7 service. If you only get the occasional after-hours call, a business hours only service will be perfectly fine!
  • Do you want help with client intake? Will you entrust your virtual receptionists to intake new clients? Or do you prefer they simply take a message so that you can do the intake at a later date?
  • What is your budget? If you are strapped for cash, you may not have much choice in the matter. You don’t want to overstretch the budget if you aren’t sure you’ll get a return. However, it’s important to keep in mind how many billable hours your answering service will free up (if they take intakes and follow-up off your plate!). Oftentimes the pricier service that offers higher quality call-handling is worth the return!
  • What is the size of your firm? Different services offer different plans and some may be more conducive to smaller or larger firms than your own. Do your research and determine how many people will be receiving messages and/or transfers, then choose your service and plan accordingly.
  • Is your client intake complicated? If you have a lengthy and complicated legal client intake, it is in your best interest to research plans specifically for lawyers. Legal-trained receptionists will help your potential and current clients to feel more comfortable through the intake process. Not to mention, they will be more efficient and understanding of your law firm’s terminology and processes.

Choose the company that best meets your needs.

After considering all variables and deciding what your firm really needs from a virtual receptionist or answering service, and the things you can live without, you can choose the best company for your needs. No single company is the right fit for every law firm, and you might even find that it takes you a few trial runs before you find the company that works best for you! However, once you find that perfect fit, you won’t be sorry. The stress-reduction of trusting someone else with the calls you can no longer handle is worth every penny!

Have any further questions? Feel free to give us a call at (800) 958-8591.

Ready to give our legal-specialized virtual receptionists a try for free? Sign up for a one-week trial here.

How to Understand (and Market to) Your Law Firm’s Ideal Clients

Marketing to your law firm's ideal clients

Marketing is one of those tricky parts of business that nobody really understands unless you’ve previously worked in the field. There are so many tips out there and everyone thinks that their way is the only way. The thing is, there are a few key principles that every marketing tactic or campaign needs to be successful. Determining who your law firm’s ideal clients are is one of those keys.

Today, we want to show you how to nail down your ideal client. Working under the impression that everyone is your ideal client and needs your services quickly leads to serving no one. Quit throwing everything at the wall and hoping it sticks! Once you know who you’re talking to, it’s a whole lot easier to know what to say.

At Betties, we started out offering our services to any small business that wanted us! We quickly realized that many people and businesses didn’t value what we offered. We also realized that it was impossible to offer the level of service we wanted to while juggling calls for multiple business types. Our team took a step back and asked: Who do we like working with the most? The answer was unanimous: Attorneys. At that point, we were able to nail down the specific problems our attorney clients needed help with. This has helped guide our messaging as well as the services we provide.

If you’re currently marketing to everyone, or not marketing to anyone at all, you need to keep reading! Let’s get your ideal client nailed down so you can start truly helping them.

Steps to identifying your law firm’s ideal clients

1) Brainstorm the problems your law firm solves

Remember those handy dandy bubble maps we made in school before starting a paper or project? Take us back because that’s the perfect start to finding your firm’s clients. You need to know what problems you solve before you can know who needs help with said problems! Start with the types of law you practice and branch out with various case types underneath those branches. Get as detailed as possible so that you can really understand the problems your clients are facing.

2) Make a list of your favorite clients

This step is definitely more so for established firms and businesses. Once you’ve discovered certain people that you love working with, make a list of them. Start to process some of their characteristics and find similarities. Do they live in similar areas? Do they share careers? What about familial status? What are their personality types? Male or female? How old are they? Political affiliations? Answering as many of these questions as possible and finding similarities can make it surprisingly simple to understand who your law firm’s ideal clients are. You may already be working with them!

3) Determine how many client profiles you serve

Your clients may not all be in exactly the same circumstances. Especially if you offer multiple services or practice more than one area of law. If you notice that your favorite clients don’t necessarily overlap, or perhaps you solve different problems, consider creating multiple profiles. Start with the problem you are solving and work backward as to who that solution serves. This will help when advertising different services or marketing on different platforms. If one set of clients hangs out on Facebook, target them there with messaging directed at them. If another set of clients hangs out on LinkedIn, market to them there!

Keep in mind – you don’t want to go overboard. Slight differences do not necessarily require an all-new profile if your messaging can work for both ideal clients.

4) Who are your competitors serving?

If you don’t yet have a robust favorite client list, look at your competitors. Who are they serving and who do they market to? Follow them on social media and check out their lead magnets. Who are they speaking to? What are they offering? This might help you to determine if your ideal client is similar or if you have a unique audience that they can’t help.

If you don’t want to make it known that you are “spying”, Kim Garst offers some valuable tips on software to follow your competitors’ email blasts without actually subscribing.

 

Okay, I know who I want to serve. Now what?

Speaking to your ideal clients

Now that you know who you are talking to, it will be easier to determine your messaging and how you market to them. The most important part of marketing your firm is to ensure that your potential clients want to hear what you are saying. Nothing turns you off of a company faster than a message you don’t align with, right?

1) Create content that speaks to solving their problems

You identified the problems your law firm solves and you determined the problems of your ideal client profiles. Put those together and market directly to each problem that your ideal clients face. You can do this through informative and helpful blog posts and other free content, as well as speak to how you help solve those problems in your advertising and landing pages. For instance, if your ideal client is having trouble planning his estate and wants to be sure his family doesn’t have to worry about anything, you might create messaging around your uncomplicated, done-for-you estate planning services that will set his family up to thrive after he is gone.

2) Show up where your clients hang out

If your ideal clients hang out on Facebook, you want to advertise to them there and have an active Facebook Business Page. If your ideal clients ride the bus, you might want to utilize bus stop advertising opportunities or have your ads inside the bus. Do your clients attend conferences? What kind? Show up as an authoritative figure there!

When you know where your clients are and what problems they are having, it’s easy to attract them to you with marketing that surrounds them.

 

Did you find this post helpful? We’d love for you to share your ideal client profile in the comments or over on Facebook!

Why Your Company Culture Matters

Why Company Culture MattersYour company culture is a big deal – it’s the actual backbone of your company. A bad one and your business will be in pain, struggling to keep itself ahead. A good one and you’ll be running metaphorical marathons, way ahead of the competition. Why? Because good company culture makes for happier employees and happy employees do better work.

What exactly is company culture?

Company culture can be defined as a set of shared values, goals, attitudes and practices that characterize an organization.

However, it goes so much deeper than this general definition. Anyone you ask will have their own definition of company culture. The measure of company culture varies widely from place to place. But in the end, your employees are the ones who will give you the most insight into what your culture actually is.

We like to think that company culture is a representation of how you nourish your employees. Everything you do for your employees directly relates to their retention, respect for the company, willingness to be flexible, and the impression they leave on your clients. That leaves the question: What do your employees value and what shows them that they’re important to you? Do you offer special benefits, aside from health insurance and PTO? Are you open to criticism? Can employees come to you with new ideas or is everything your way or the highway? It must be clear to your employees that they are valued and important to your business’ success through how you speak to them, how they are managed, and the workload itself. Otherwise, what is the point of the work they do?

Why is all of this important?

If you find yourself constantly struggling to hire and retain employees, your company culture may be to blame. According to FastCompany, more than two-thirds of applicants want to know what the company’s culture is like over anything else when making a career change. That is pretty significant! But when you really think about it, it’s understandable. Who wants to stick around somewhere where they feel undervalued?

In addition, employees who feel there is a lack of respect among colleagues are 26% more likely to quit their job. Cultivating an environment where employees admire and respect each other is one key to good culture. This applies to the entire team, from CEO down. Employees who don’t like their boss are 4 times more likely to find a new job. On the other hand, 60% of employees would rather work with a boss they love for a 50% pay cut than work for a boss they hate at a higher salary.

Not only is turnover expensive, but it also negatively affects your level of customer service. The head of customer and employee success over at JustWorks states that “the best way to support customer happiness is actually to ensure employee happiness first.” He goes on to talk about the correlation of happy employees and higher Net Promoter Scores – the score that gauges how likely someone is to recommend a product or service. To have happy customers, you need happy employees.

Take a look at Google

Google is widely known as an amazing company to work for, as shown here by their ratings on Glassdoor. The reason behind their being such a great company to work for comes down to the culture they promote within. Flexibility, fun, trust, and collaboration are all keys to their company culture and allow employees to feel heard, respected, and valued. The CEO eats lunch in the same room as the rest of the employees. They also offer fun perks like nap pods and free snacks and employees are encouraged to work when and how they want. Employees want to be there and they want to contribute. Ideas flow and work gets done because every member of the Google staff is treated as an equal and important part of their business.

You don’t need to believe us, though. A research team from the University of Warwick explained that “Companies like Google have invested more in employee support and employee satisfaction has risen as a result. For Google, it rose by 37%; they know what they are talking about. Under scientifically controlled conditions, making workers happier really pays off.”

An example of poor company culture

On the other hand, you may have heard about the recent issues with poor company culture at luxury luggage brand, Away. A controlling CEO, lack of independence & privacy, and reduction of benefits all led to extremely low morale and eventually, the CEO stepping down due to backlash from employee unhappiness. Employees were required to make all communications public to the entire team, time off was taken away under the guise of motivation, and the CEO was known to use harsh language to berate staff in front of everyone else. Fear of making a mistake or saying the wrong thing was at the forefront of the staff’s minds. Constant fear of criticism leads to decreased productivity. Decreased productivity leads to reprimanding employees. The cycle is vicious and employees simply do not last at Away. If the business hopes to retain its employees and ultimately succeed, there is work to be done on their culture.

 

Core ccomapny values as related to company culture

Back Office Betties company culture

Emily (CEO & Founder), being the customer service and culture queen that she is, puts both of these aspects of business above all else. In fact, she views both as symbiotic. You can’t have one without the other! Some of the most important aspects towards achieving the great company culture at Back Office Betties are:

  • The use of Culture Index in hiring to ensure that the position someone is hired for is the right fit for their personality type
  • Availability and accessibility of management for discussion of concerns, ideas, and day-to-day chit chat
  • Thoughtful compensation plans and benefit packages, including generous PTO
  • Twice yearly wellness days where we give each employee an extra day off and the gift of pampering
  • Granting “Wishes” for birthdays and going above and beyond or meeting a goal
  • Anonymous OfficeVibe surveys every week to determine receptionist happiness and areas of opportunity
  • Remote work – Every staff member of Back Office Betties works from the comfort of their own home!
  • Team chat that provides means of easy communication and community between team members
  • Team get-togethers in all three of the states our employees live

As you can see, we take our employee happiness extremely seriously. This is not necessarily a complete list but you get the picture. It’s no secret that we love customer service and we’ve learned that a smiling staff is key to delivering! Our receptionist happiness goal is to always be above 9/10 and we hit it nearly every time.

How can you improve your company culture?

If you’ve noticed that your employees could be happier or aren’t performing to the degree you know they’re capable of, consider making some changes. Improving the company culture of your law firm doesn’t require extreme measures. No need to add the expenses of an in-house kitchen like Google right off the bat! Start small.

  • Establish your core values and implement policies that positively enforce them. Involve the whole team in this for best results.
  • Set the example for your company’s core values
  • Smile more in passing
  • Open your office to allow dialogue
  • Create a space that your staff is happy to walk into each morning. If you can’t do that, consider offering remote work opportunities to your highest performers
  • Offer small snacks in the break room
  • Send an anonymous survey to your staff regarding what may help them to feel more valued
  • Give praise when you recognize great work
  • Take some work off of their plate. Allowing burnout is like taking a hammer to your company culture.
  • Be human! Apologize when you are wrong, say thank you when appropriate, and relate to your staff on a personal level

Implementing some of the above is a great first step to getting your team back on track. Once you are able, add in some perks or update your benefits package. Create a reward system for positive reinforcement. You will see increased productivity and a fantastic general shift in work environment!

Have comments to add? What do you do to enforce a good company culture? Let us know!

Know Your Position When Playing the Game

It is human nature to always be searching for something better, the proverbial ‘grass is always greener on the other side’. We might have fooled ourselves into believing that a constant search for success is what will eventually get us there, but this mindset is what is limiting us in our businesses.

Basketball pro Bill Walton believed hyper focusing on your weaknesses does nothing but chew up time that could be spent sharpening your strengths. The truth is, there are just some things we aren’t good at, and we never will be. But there is a silver lining; there are things we are great at that other people aren’t. And it is these things we should be focusing on.

Stick with What You Know

So how do we do this? It is as simple as sticking with what you know, and really pushing yourself towards improvement in those areas. This was a lesson I learned the long and hard way, but when I finally realized I don’t have to be good at everything, I was really liberated. You have employees and coworkers for a reason! Each person has a set of unique skills and abilities, and like a puzzle, they can fill the gaps you can’t.

In the game of basketball, one person isn’t responsible for every position on the court. If so, there would be no game, it would be constant failure, especially when competing with teams who operate like a well-oiled machine. So, it’s silly to think different rules apply when it comes to our businesses.

Push yourself outside your comfort zone with your strengths. Be more than just “good” at your strengths… be great!  If you’re point guard, then be the best point guard you can be, and stop trying to master the role of playing the forward. You have what it takes to be successful, so start applying those skills!

Back Office Betties

Simplify Your Law Firm

Marie Kondo is on to something with her philosophy to discard anything and everything that does not “Spark Joy.”   It’s a very effective method for tidying up your house!  But, there is some real wisdom to her mantra that can be applied to every aspect of our lives, including in your law firm.

The ‘KonMari’ Method

Here is why Marie Kondo’s philosophy is life changing:

  • It’s simple and offers quick results.  In the ‘KonMari Method’ all tidying should be done comprehensively all at once so clutter can’t be pushed from one place to another. In our businesses when we start to declutter, whether that be literally or figuratively (getting rid of vendors who don’t serve you, employees who just aren’t working, etc.) it should be done all at once.  This is so messes don’t get piled somewhere else becoming a problem for a later date.

 

  • Teaches you to appreciate what you have. When you are in the decluttering process, you are made aware of all that you have creating a deeper sense of appreciation. It also impacts future behavior patterns. You become aware of what really works for you, and what doesn’t.
  • Sorting by category keeps you from being overwhelmed and disorganized. At times we have so much to declutter and toss out we have no idea where to start. With the KonMari Method, decluttering is done by category.  You do not move on to the next category until the one is finished. It teaches to take things one step at a time and to not get so far ahead of ourselves.

Spring is right around the corner, so in the spirit of regrowth, take time to see how you can declutter your life. Whether that be in personally or professionally… there’s always room positive change and personal growth!