Your Law Firm Needs To Be Using Chatbots

The chances that you’ve never visited a website with a chatbot are very slim. Chatbots are a hot trend right now, and for good reason! They save time, add a higher level of customer service, and save you money. If you’re not using a chatbot on your website right now, read on about why you should be and make your way to the end for step by step instructions on how to actually do so.

Chatbots benefit your clients

Have you ever visited a website and you couldn’t find the specific answer to your question, but you also didn’t have time to make a phone call to the business to ask? Or maybe it was after hours so nobody would answer anyway. Did you move on to another similar company’s website and decide to do business with them instead? I know that would be my next move!

It’s no secret that the world is moving into an “I want it right now” era. Wait times are frustrating and we’re all too busy to waste any time. Why make things harder on your potential or current clients? A chatbot is an easy way to allow them to ask a question, 24/7, and receive an immediate response.

Chatbots are also a great way to make your client feel valued. By offering that level of customer service that gives them instant gratification, they know you mean business and that you will earn theirs!

Chatbots benefit your law firm

Chatbots save you time and money. Plain and simple, you don’t need to pay someone to sit on the other side of a screen to answer FAQs. Instead, allocate that person to other tasks around your firm that only a human can do and allow your chatbot to answer those questions quickly and seamlessly. A one-time investment in this set up pays for itself when you factor in just how many calls or emails a human would have to be paid to answer.

In addition to saving your firm time and money, chatbots gather data and make you more efficient. If you notice a trend of certain frequently asked questions or complaints, you’ll know it’s time to switch something up to make it more clear to the client what they can expect. Forbes adds that, “Tracking responses to common questions asked by an AI generated chatbot, including predicting responses based upon consumer language, [directs] the bot to offer a better product or service to the consumer.”

How do I implement a chatbot?

Our favorite chatbot (and the one we use on our site) is Zoho SalesIQ, so we are going to discuss the steps you would take through a service such as theirs.

  1. Create your account with the chatbot software.
  2. Copy & paste the code snippet for your bot before the body tag on your site. This is much easier than it sounds!
  3. Customize your chatbot’s colors, welcome greeting, and add your logo.
  4. Create different chat departments for live chat, if you choose to implement it. This will ensure messages make it to the team member who is best able to respond.
  5. Set up your canned responses. These are going to be your FAQs that won’t need a human to answer them. You can also add in responses such as “Hold on, please, while I check on that!” that will allow your bot to find the answer and keep the visitor engaged.

Do you have a chatbot on your website?

Have you considered adding one?

Let us know on our social media!

The 11 Best Ways to Market Your Law Firm for Free

You’ve started your law firm, you have a couple of clients (but they’re not coming in consistently yet), and your marketing budget is almost nonexistent. You know you need to market yourself and get your firm out there but the question is, “How?”.

We’ve organized a list of the top ways to market your firm completely for free.

 

Email Marketing

Email marketing is a great option to prove to your potential clients that you are the real deal and show them just what you offer. By creating an opt-in, or lead magnet, you can build a list of people who are genuinely interested in what you have to offer. As long as your lead magnet is something that is relevant to your law firm, this is a great way to show your expertise on the matters they really care about and grow a list of potential clients that you have full control over. The key to email marketing is to be consistent and always provide valuable content that engages the reader and leaves them wanting more.

Social Media Marketing

Marketing yourself on social media is a free, organic way to expose yourself to people who haven’t signed up for your email list yet. Utilizing relevant hashtags and posting engaging content that provides value are the two best ways to boost yourself up on social media. The more that your potential clients engage with and/or share your content, the more important it seems to the social media algorithms and allows you to reach more people.

Ask for Referrals

If your clients are telling you that they love your work or that you have helped them in some way, encourage them to refer you! There is no shame in this – they already love what you’re providing them! You can also create a small offering or discount to those that refer you to new clients.

Start a Blog

Starting a blog is beneficial in many ways. One, it proves that you are an expert in your field if you provide value in your posts. Blogs are often turned to for advice and people love a good list post! Two, blogging helps boost your website’s rankings in Google searches by adding more content and keywords that you can rank for. If you aren’t familiar with SEO, read up on it and learn the basics of ranking for keywords in Google searches.

Utilize LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the professional social media. Networking here is certain to find your connections that will better your law firm – even if those connections aren’t your ideal client. Everyone knows someone and the more you network, the more likely it is that you will find clients through those connections. People that are on LinkedIn are looking for those connections, so it’s not like you’re spamming your family and friends on a personal social media page. Add valuable content here (this can be recycled from other sources) and engage with others to build your network and find your ideal clients.

Encourage UGC

UGC, or User Generated Content, is great to encourage similar to encouraging referrals. The difference is, these are posts made by clients who love your services and genuinely want to brag about you. You can encourage this by sharing the UGC with your social media following and asking for others to share their own story about the work you’ve done for them. UGC is a really valuable marketing tool because people love to see genuine reviews and are more likely to hire you if you have them.

Utilize Influencers

Bloggers in your niche need content and you need eyes on your content. Collaborate with influencers to either guest post on their blog (you write the content) or provide them a service and ask for an honest review post written about it (they write the content). This is a really great way to get yourself in front of a new audience!

Contribute to Forums and Facebook Groups for Your Niche

Facebook is full of groups. You can find a group for just about anything, including your legal niche. Business groups or local networking groups are other great options to focus on. Joining these groups and staying active through engagement on others’ posts and posting yourself is yet another way to position yourself as an expert, provide value, and encourage new eyes to check you out. Steer clear of groups that encourage spamming, though, because you won’t find value and people are too busy promoting themselves to even care about what you post.

Add Your Business to Web Directories

Does your city have a directory of local law firms? Get yourself on it! Find a site that lists out law firms in your niche? Get yourself on it! People often turn to lists and directories to help them find what they’re looking for. They can’t find you if you’re not on those lists!

Videos

If you’re comfortable in front of the camera, videos are a great way to build the Know, Like, Trust factor of yourself and your law firm. People love to watch a quick tutorial video or a snippet into your behind the scenes. You can upload these to YouTube or simply add them to your social media for a quick way to make yourself stand out.

Be a Guest on Podcasts

How often do you listen to podcasts? We love podcasts here at Back Office Betties (check ours out here!) and listen to them regularly. Our favorite podcasts to listen to are interviews with experts who provide a little bit of value to the host’s listeners. You can truly gain so much knowledge and expose yourself to some really fabulous experts by listening! We highly recommend that you get yourself on a podcast to share what you’re good at and offer advice to the host’s audience. This exposes you to a whole new pool of people and allows them to connect with you if they want to learn more about your firm or services.

Do you use any of these free marketing tools for your law firm?

Agree with our list or have something to add?

Find us on Facebook and let us know!

How to get Law Firm Answering Services for (Nearly) FREE

Your phone has been ringing off the hook all day long as you repeatedly hit *ignore* so you can focus on the research you’re doing for an existing client’s case. Maybe 20% of those calls leave a voicemail – 80% of callers don’t think anyone will even listen to their message. Once you have time to call those few people back who bothered to leave you a message, they let you know that they’ve already found representation.

Sound familiar?

When your phone isn’t answered, you’re losing out on clients and money. BT Business estimated in 2014 that one missed phone call averaged out to a loss of about $1575 USD. Obviously this will vary from business to business but it is an alarming amount to lose from one missed call. Don’t let this happen to you!

You don’t need to exhaust yourself and interrupt your important work to answer phone calls, though. You also don’t need to hire a full time receptionist. A legal specialized answering service may be just the thing for your firm!

How to get law firm answering services (nearly) free

When you take into account the loss that is attributed to missing a call, compared to how many calls you let go unanswered, it’s likely that just having those calls answered by Back Office Betties will actually save your firm money and will definitely save you face. At the rate noted above, you only need about 3 new clients to pay for our services for the entire year! Factor in that you won’t have unhappy customers running around declaring that you never answer the phone (Americans tell an average of 15 people about a negative experience) and you can imagine the client growth you’ll fall into.

If you’re interested in giving this option a try, our 7 day free trial is your best option to make sure it’s a fit. Simply enter in some information about your firm so that we know how to answer the phone, who to transfer certain calls to, and what format you prefer for messages. We will then contact you to set up your service and your phone calls will no longer go unanswered!

If for any reason you decide that this service isn’t for you, feel free to cancel right then and there. Once you see the benefits and start hearing the feedback on how professional your firm sounds now, though, we will be here to continue answering your calls and create relationships with your new clients.

Our services are offered through a few different plans, and we never round up, so you aren’t paying us for more time than you actually need.

How many of your calls go unanswered each day?

Find us on social media and let us know!

Create Efficiency in Your Firm – Interview with Firm Focus

Improve efficiency. Minimize distractions. Cut out interruptions.

Attorneys and business owners are always told to do these things, but often there is often no concrete advice on how to do them.

Firm Focus founder coaches firms on just that

We recently spoke with Sarah Tetlow, founder of Firm Focus LLC, about the struggles that attorneys face in their day to day and how she helps them to efficiently manage their cases and projects. This is not something widely taught in this profession, and the stress of constantly reacting, rather than organizing and being proactive, causes a massive decline in effectiveness. Sarah was quoted by Attorney at Work, stating, “The partners are feeling the reactive needs of their clients every single day. That trickles down. There’s a lot of stress, anxiety, frustration. It’s Groundhog Day every day.”

Firm Focus offers different levels of support and consulting to really dive into what needs to change in order to maximize attorneys’ time and streamline their work. Sarah helps law firms of all sizes up their productivity and efficiency by coaching associates on minimizing external interruptions and better managing their projects. Throughout her career, she has witnessed associates struggle in these aspects, propelling Sarah to create solutions-based programs that help top performers do what they do best – with added processes to keep them organized and efficient.

Tools to implement

In our conversation with Sarah, she recommended two of her top tools that help attorneys stay organized and focused. Smokeball, a legal practice management software that automatically records your time and activity, is one of her favorites. Case management is an obvious way to streamline your work and optimize time, but her other recommendation may not be so obvious. “You know those nagging To-Do items that are top of mind at bedtime? Dump them into Todoist and get them out of your brain,” says Sarah. Todoist is a simple to use tool that lets you unload your nagging thoughts in a prioritized and virtual list that you can update at any time.

Do you struggle with being efficient and organized? Let us know what tools you use to combat it!

 

Lawyers Dish: 7 Tools They Can’t Live Without

In this day and age, there is no avoiding technology. Everything is becoming automated or remote, and honestly, we are digging it. Life and business are a whole lot easier when you have systems and processes that help you remember things, handle your billing, and provide access to information at your fingertips – just to name a few.

To successfully run your small or solo law firm, you’ve gotta embrace the tech. We’re making it easy by providing a list of some of the top tools that other lawyers use and love! Read on for 7 tools lawyers can’t live without.

Top Tech Tools for Lawyers

1. Live chat on your website

Implementing a live chat on your website, especially if you have active ads driving traffic, is a game changer for landing clients. Customer service and quick response are two things that prospective clients are not flexible on. They want to talk to you on their time and they want it to be easy to do so. InBound Law Marketing listed reviews on 13 different apps that provide live chat for lawyer websites. Give one a try and watch your lead conversion skyrocket.

2. CaseText

CaseText is a revolutionary legal research tool that every lawyer needs to be using. Don’t believe us? The SCOTUS blog has called CaseText “the best place to read the law on the internet” and we have to agree. Stanford Law School Blog did a test and found CaseText to be accurate in pulling relevant cases and law that were found by an appellate clerk and used to overturn cases of the lower court. Talk about saving yourself time – and a headache!

3. Clio

Clio is a cloud-based software that manages your law firm and your client relationships (CRM). Lawyers rave about the benefits of using Clio on Capterra. This software creates an easy process for client intake, billing, case management (and much more!) to, once again, save you precious time. Clio is also one of the integrations we offer and recommend to clients who want a full-service legal practice management software.

4. Evernote

Lawyers have a great ethical responsibility and expectation to keep information straight. Writing things down on paper just won’t cut it anymore! Evernote is a free and easy to use organizational tool on your computer or on mobile apps, making your information always easily accessible. Whether you are taking notes in a meeting, saving research in one place, collecting business cards – Evernote is your tool! Read more on the benefits and uses of Evernote in a law practice here, or watch this video.

5. DropBox

You’ve probably heard of DropBox, but have you considered using it for your law firm? Keeping information in the cloud sounds scary but DropBox transmits your data over an encrypted connection and the data stays encrypted while stored in the server. They also offer two-factor authentication, meaning that if you try to log in to view your stored documents, you will have to enter a pin on your phone to prove that you are, well, you. Lawyerist states that “Dropbox is about as secure as your online banking website.” If you need an easy way to store and share files, DropBox is the way to go!

6. Acuity

Acuity Scheduling is our favorite integration as it’s an impossible easy-to-use calendar and scheduling tool. They make it a breeze to schedule appointments, removing all of the back and forth you’re probably used to. No more hashing out the details of what time works for you and your client; just share your calendar and let your clients pick the time that works for them! Acuity also intakes your client as they schedule with customized intake forms, saving you even more time.

7. Back Office Betties

Obviously, we are all about saving you time (and the shameless plugging of ourself into this list). When you use Back Office Betties, you save more time than you’ll know what to do with. You’ll also find a new sense of professionalism, an increase in clients (and revenue), and better organization – these lawyers state it best. Our virtual receptionists screen your calls, take messages, schedule appointments, take payments, and so much more.

Getting to Know ClientRock | A New Integration

There’s a new integration in town! That is, in Back Office Betties town.

We use many integrations to easily handle scheduling appointments and client intakes for our attorneys’ callers. ClientRock is a fabulous new addition to this list.

The Start of ClientRock

While speaking with Bryan Marble, the founder of ClientRock, we discovered that he started this service after interviewing attorneys on what their greatest need was. They all agreed that they just wanted a simple intake process. There was no need for bells and whistles; just a streamlined process to get answers to their most important questions and the ability to sign off “yes” or “no” when determining if they would accept the new client.

Bryan’s wife was an employment attorney so he knew firsthand that most of them were using Word documents, or worse, handwriting information on paper. Bryan sought to create an automated process so easy that anyone, even without technical skills, could get an account up and running in no time.

Client Intake Made Easy

When asked about his service, Bryan says, “We make intelligent assumptions and have created an intuitive system that is easy to use.” Could there be anything better than that?

ClientRock has many great features, including easy integration into Clio, Outlook, Google, and LawPay.

Full concierge setup includes a phone call with Bryan himself. He sets your account up without you having to give it another thought. Just log in and go!

Once your account is set up, everything from lead to matter conversion in Clio or Practice Panther is taken care of. Fee Agreements and non-engagement notices are automated, consultation fees are paid in a snap, and your client has the option to see your availability should they need to reschedule a meeting.

Simplicity Makes the Difference

If you’re looking to make things easier on yourself, ClientRock is the way to go for client intake. Say goodbye to the days of messy setup and overwhelming features, say hello to a streamlined process that you don’t even have to think about!

You can try ClientRock free for your first 5 intakes, no credit card required. Let us know what you think!

Not a Back Office Betties client yet? Give us a try for 7 days FREE.

5 Ways to Shave Off One Working Hour Each Day

What could you do with an extra hour in your work day? Would you cut your day short to spend more time with your family? Would you be able to take on extra cases? How about start working on that new venture you’ve been thinking about? We’ve compiled a list of 5 simple ways to shave off one working hour each day.

Save Time in Your Day

  1. Batch your tasks.

    The first tip on the list is one of our favorites. If you are not familiar with batching your tasks, this means to sit down and block out certain chunks of times for similar tasks. Say you need to return client messages: Block out 2 hours to do so and get them all out of the way for the week so that you can move on and cross this off your to-do list. When we switch between tasks repeatedly, our productivity levels go down and we waste time on getting refocused. Batching tasks is a fabulous solution!

  2. Eliminate distractions.

    If you are ready to sit down and batch your tasks, it is important to use your time wisely without getting distracted. Turn your phone over so your notifications don’t grab your attention, lock your office door so nobody interrupts you, and stay off of social media. This goes back to bouncing between tasks; stay focused to save time!

  3. Plan your day in advance.

    You may never be able to predict an urgency that pops up, but you can do your best to plan your day in advance. Sit down and block out time slots for certain tasks, take account of important appointments, and have a strong overview of the day ahead. Try not to stray, as this really affects your productivity and can quickly add time to your work day.

  4. Hire an answering service.

    Phone calls are a total time-suck. If you try and do other things while on the call, your client will notice they do not have your full attention. If you try to take every single call, your day can float right on by you and you find yourself still at the office at 9 pm because your work isn’t finished. Hiring an answering service gets your calls answered and important messages delivered to you, without the need for you to talk to every single caller. Hello, time freedom!

  5. Schedule some R&R.

    This may seem counterintuitive, but a brain that is always go go go will never be as productive as the brain that has space to decompress. Be sure to schedule some time to do something you enjoy in order to have yourself in your best state of mind. Rest and relaxation will keep you functioning at your highest levels and save you time in your overall productivity.

Implement These Time-Saving Tips

Which of these tips will you take on first? Start with at least one today and see just how much time you can save!

If you’d like to gain some insight on the time freedom that comes with delegating your phone calls to an outside party, sign up for a free 7 day trial with Back Office Betties today.

The Definitive Guide to Hiring an Answering Service

What even is an answering service? Why would a business hire one? Wouldn’t my clients be able to tell they didn’t actually reach my office?

Answering services aren’t a new concept but they are still mysterious. If you’ve ever wondered if you should hire an answering service or virtual receptionist, read on! Back Office Betties is taking this opportunity to answer all of your burning questions, and more.

What is an answering service?

An answering service is a company that answers any incoming calls for your business. They can answer FAQs, schedule appointments, and transfer important calls to you when necessary.

Why should I hire an answering service?

Businesses hire answering services for all different reasons, but the common denominator is that it will save you time. By having someone else answer your phones, you are no longer a slave to your phone and can focus on your actual work.

Answering Service vs Receptionist

If you haven’t hired a receptionist yet, you probably have avoided it due to the cost, right? Receptionists need office space, computer equipment, salary, paid time off, etc.

If you have a business that has constant traffic through your doors, a receptionist may be the right option for you because you need someone greeting people anyway. But for small businesses that don’t have that traffic, an answering service may be the route to go.

An answering service can do everything that a receptionist does (except sit at a desk in your office, of course) for a much lower cost. There is no overhead, no paid time off, and no supplying of equipment.

Answering services offer different services depending on which company you choose to work with, but some of the most popular services offered are:

  • Call Screening (buh-bye solicitors!)
  • Client Intake
  • Appointment Scheduling
  • Calendar Management
  • Answering of FAQs
  • Transfer of Urgent Calls
  • Message Forwarding

Can my clients tell you’re not in my office?

Ah, onto the real burning question! This one depends. If you choose an answering service that bounces back and forth between different types of businesses, maybe. If you choose one that operates like a call center, probably. Choose a niched answering service that specializes in your type of small business and it’s highly unlikely.

Back Office Betties specializes in small law firms and, unless your client is standing in your office when they call, they will not even know the difference!

What should I look for in an answering service?

When looking into hiring someone to answer your phones and assist your business, you want to be sure that the company you are contemplating will offer everything you need.

Can they set appointments? Can they fill out a client intake form? Are they able to send your phone messages to you immediately? What about email management? Do they integrate with your current processes? Can they set up new, more effective processes?

The best way to make sure that these things can all be taken care of is to ensure that you are actually hiring a company that offers virtual receptionist services. Virtual receptionist services are elevated answering services, and can really let you get back to the work that only YOU can do.

Before hiring, check out their reviews

Now that you know to look for a niched virtual receptionist, head to some review sites and see what other businesses in your field have to say. Google reviews are always reliable, but there are also many niched review websites, such as Lawyerist, that can give you a firm grasp on what your colleagues think of any specific company.

Take advantage of a free trial!

Once you’ve narrowed it down to c0uple of companies you would like to potentially work with, sign up for the free trial. A great virtual receptionist service will offer one long enough to actually see the benefits of their service. Back Office Betties offers a 7-Day Free Trial to give you a really firm grasp on what we can do to help you save time and money, while upping your productivity.

 

Good luck on your journey to hiring an answering service!

 

Avoid this #1 Bar Complaint

Client satisfaction keeps us all in business. When we fail to meet the needs of our clients, they complain. In the case of Law, clients can file their grievances with the bar. By making this one mistake, you put yourself and your firm at risk. Read on to find out more about this number one bar complaint and how you can avoid it.

Number One Bar Complaint

Per this statistical analysis found in the files of Mitchell Hamline School of Law, “The most common complaint nationwide is a ‘failure to communicate.’ Attorneys must communicate with their clients…”

Read that again. The number one complaint nationwide is a failure to communicate.

Page 648 of this journal reinforces the rule that states:

A lawyer shall: (1) promptly inform the client of any decision or circumstance with respect to which the client’s informed consent, as defined in Rule 1.0(e), is required by these Rules; (2) reasonably consult with the client about the means by which the client’s objectives are to be accomplished; (3) keep the client reasonably informed about the status of the matter; (4) promptly comply with reasonable requests for information; and (5) consult with the client about any relevant limitation on the lawyer’s conduct when the lawyer knows that the client expects assistance not permitted by the Rules of Professional Conduct or other law.107

Keeping your clients in the loop should be a no-brainer, but sometimes your workload is too heavy and you just do not have the time to answer every call.

So how do you avoid this complaint?

Avoiding the Number One Bar Complaint

Clearly, your clients just want to be in the loop on their law-related matters. We’ve listed out a few ways to help ease the communication frustrations below.

  1. Use your support staff.

    Clients don’t always need to speak with the attorney. Often times, they just want to know a status update. This is a great opportunity to have your receptionist return the call and provide a quick update such as, “We have not heard back yet, but expect to have a reply within four weeks. We will call you as soon as we receive an update.”

  2. Protect your time.

    Your time is precious. Don’t get bogged down by stacks of phone messages! Have your receptionist set up return calls. Many of our clients use a time blocking system and return calls during a specific block of time each day.

    • Tip: Use a timer at meetings. Let clients know that out of respect for their time and your schedule, you will be setting a timer up to avoid accidentally running over. This sets the tone with the client that your time is also valuable. The meeting will start and end on time, saving you from time vampires.
  3. Set expectations.

    If you are unable to promptly return a call, let the client know when they can expect a return call, then follow up on time as promised.

If you already have a receptionist, consider passing these tips on to them so they can help you help your clients. If you haven’t hired a receptionist and are finding yourself feeling overwhelmed by the volume of calls you receive, give Back Office Betties a try with our free trial.

 

Legal Intake Forms: Why You Should Use Them

Do you currently use intake forms when answering new client calls? If not, you need to severely rethink your client intake! Using a detailed standardized intake form will streamline the process and ensure that important details have not been overlooked. If completing intake forms has not been working for you, perhaps your forms need a facelift. Here are some suggestions of what a great intake form includes:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Contact information
  • Details of the legal issue (some firms put a checklist here)
  • History of prior legal matters
  • Other firms they have worked with
  • And any other information they feel is relevant to the matter

If the form is too basic, or if it does not apply, then surely it won’t be helpful. Sometimes it is helpful to create different intake forms for specific needs or areas within your firm. Some firms choose to simplify things even more by doing their intake forms online through Clio.

Intake Forms Are Versatile

Offering intake forms are useful for areas other than just streamlining the intake process. They can be used as:

  1. A screening tool. If a prospective client is unwilling or hesitant to provide certain information, it could be a sign of problems to come.
  2. Documentation. Intake forms are a great place to document that you have discussed the fee arrangement with your prospective client and that they have agreed to the terms you set forth. This ensures right from the beginning that the prospective client can afford your services.
  3. A risk management tool. Having clients sign that the information on the intake form is correct can save you in the future if something is incorrect or inaccurate.
  4. Identify future needs. They can help you identify if a potential client needs any additional legal services that you may be able to help with in the future.

Intake Forms Are Useful

As you can see, intake forms are infinitely useful and can be implemented in any firm. Remember, they’re not just a tool to make life better for you- your prospective clients will also love them because they offer an easier, neater, and more streamlined process for them too! When your client is going through [sometimes] long, expensive, and messy legal matters, they will recognize and appreciate every effort made by you to simplify their case.

If you have yet to implement intake forms in your firm, what’s stopping you?