If You Don’t Have One of These, You’re Probably Having a Bad Time With Your Phones

Call Flow Blueprints (The Answer You've Been Searching For)

Sometimes it’s hard to put a finger on what exactly it is about someone you just can’t stand. Is it the way they pronounce “niche”? Is it because they’re always running late, but somehow, nobody seems to care… cause it’s THEM? Could it be just. how. much. hair gel. they seem to be dipping their head into every morning? Hold on – is it because they never use the oxford comma?

 

Phone calls at your law firm are just like that person. You wouldn’t be able to pick one factor out of the bunch to place your frustrations on if you tried. Because frankly, there are just too many of them at play.

 

But don’t worry… it doesn’t have to be this way. It is possible to get organized, so organized, that you’ll be able to pinpoint the cause of any concern that arises and fix problems you may not have even known you had.

 

Let’s talk about your call flow process, and how a Call Flow Blueprint can whip it into shape.

 

Use a Call Flow Blueprint to Outline Your Call Flow Process

Put simply: A Call Flow Blueprint is a specific plan that outlines your call flow process for every single call that comes into your law firm.

If you don’t have one of these, your phone process could be equivalent to just winging it. And (good news!) that means there are headaches that your firm has been coping with that are completely preventable.

 

A Good Call Flow Process Can Transform Your Law Firm

In more ways than you might imagine:

  • Increasing conversion rates for new leads
  • Ensuring the correct information is collected based on call types
  • Giving your clients the top-tier service they deserve
  • Keeping your office and operations running smoothly
  • Saving your time & sanity

 

Get Your Call Flow Process Started in Just a Few Steps:

Think about your calls and come up with a few questions.

Start with the basics:

  • Who answers your calls?
  • And who answers your calls when they’re unavailable?
  • What types of calls do you get?
    • New Clients
    • Existing Clients
    • Opposing Parties
    • Attorneys
    • Team Members
    • Payments
    • Solicitations
    • Etc.

And then break those basics down.

Take potential new clients for example:

  • Which case type are they inquiring about?
  • Should each case type be routed the same way?
  • Does this call type get forwarded to the attorney?
  • Or should a message be taken?
  • How should the message be delivered? Email, text, post-it note?
  • If there are multiple attorneys at your firm, do they all prefer their messages be sent in the same way?

 

Dive a little deeper…

  • If a potential client is ready to schedule a consultation, what information needs to be collected?
  • And what information should be collected if they’re not?
  • Do you have scripting in place to sell unsure potential clients on paid consultations?
  • Where do you refer cases outside of your practice area?
  • How should your referral sources be tracked and organized?

 

The answers to most of your questions will depend on the type of phone call that just came in. And that’s where your Call Flow Blueprint comes into play.

But it’s deeper than that.

Just like that one person you can’t stand, your disorganized phone process is hitting pain points with your clients and law firm in more ways than one.

Figure Out How Your Disorganized Call Flow Process Is Hitting Pain Points With Your Clients & Law Firm… So You Can Fix It

So all of that may seem like a lot to you. Maybe you’re thinking it’s a bit extra and not worth the effort?

But time after time, we’ve seen how disorganized call flow processes (or worse, lack thereof) are detrimental to law firms.

 

1. You’re Missing Calls

This one is self-explanatory. Missed calls are missed opportunities.

Considering that 80% of callers won’t leave a voicemail… potential new clients will move on to the next firm on their list. And current clients’ frustrations and concerns will increase, but you won’t find out until it’s too late.

Your Call Flow Blueprint starts with answering the phone. Lock down a set schedule to ensure there is always someone available on your end.

 

2. You’re Getting Incomplete Information

There are so many types of calls that come into your firm… more than you may have realized before breaking down your categories.

Even large firms struggle with collecting necessary information. An ABA study showed that 86% of law firms did not ask for the caller’s email, and 45% didn’t even ask for their phone number!

Small & Solo firms have it worse. You and your staff are likely covering multiple roles, and highly unlikely to be staring at the phone just waiting to take that next call.

You can’t expect busy staff members to remember every detail off the top of their heads. That’s why it’s so crucial to have a concrete plan in place that can be followed seamlessly.

 

3. You’re Not Capturing All Your Leads

This one ties into missed calls and incomplete information.

You can’t capture a lead if you never speak to them. They’ll move on to the next guy if you miss their first call.

Too many law firms struggle to collect callers’ information. If you forget necessary questions or don’t verify spellings, you’ll miss out on a new client.

Furthermore, confidence and competence translate through the phone. You need to answer your phones with certainty and professionalism. Always know the next step for every situation.

“Um…” is never going to be a good response when a potential client tells you their story, and you’re trying to remember if this is the case type your partner is always saying to transfer.

Your potential clients have their reputation, their business, their family, their health, you get it – on the line. They will not be willing to take a risk with an attorney or firm that does not sound professional and capable.

Especially when there are so many other options.

 

4. The Lack of Communication Frustrates Your Clients

Good communication is a deciding factor in what makes a “good” lawyer for many clients. Take a look at some reviews for the competition. You’ll find communication, or lack thereof, coming up again and again.

When your client is calling you to get an update, they’re already feeling like you aren’t communicating with them. If you miss that call – or worse – miss it again, their frustration multiplies.

But let’s say they are able to leave a message, and that message contains inaccuracies, doesn’t make it to you in a timely fashion, or doesn’t make it to you at all… that could end just as badly.

Use your Call Flow Blueprint to outline every detail and keep your clients happy and in the loop:

  • When calls should, and should not, be forwarded (and to whom)
  • The preferred method of message delivery
  • The exact information to take down on a case by case basis
  • Scripting to use for disgruntled or upset clients to address their concerns

 

You can overcome all of these obstacles when you execute your new Call Flow Blueprint.

Betties Creates a Custom Call Flow Blueprint for Every Law Firm

No two Call Flow Blueprints should be alike. Because no two law firms are alike.

That’s why Back Office Betties develops a custom Blueprint for every law firm we work with. Your phone process should work for you, not against you.

So here’s how your Call Flow Blueprint will finally give you some peace of mind:

 

Ensure Every Call Is Handled Properly

Every call is handled properly every time. You can rest easy knowing:

  • No potential client is missed
  • Accurate information is given every time
  • Your clients are kept happy
  • Unnecessary phone calls won’t interrupt your work

 

Consistent Information Is Given

Your callers will receive the same answers to questions each time they’re asked.

Conflicting information leads callers to ask, “If they can’t manage their own law firm, how will they manage my case?”

 

You Always Know What’s Going On With Their Phones

Never receive incomplete messages… and always receive them promptly.

Your Call Flow Blueprint will organize each call type and make call tracking easy.

 

You Choose When (And Whether!) You Want to Be Interrupted

Your dream come true?

Avoid constant interruptions so that you can finally get some billable work done. (Or maybe have lunch in peace!) And never miss calls you do need to be transferred leaving important matters waiting either.

 

Schedule a call with our Growth Solutions Strategist today to set up a free Call Flow Blueprint Planning Session and get your calls under control and your sanity back!

How Busy Attorneys Take Vacations Without Working The Whole Time

Attorney on VacationIf you’re anything like the rest of Americans, you could probably use a vacation. As more people get vaccinated and more places across the country (and world) open up, it’s looking like 2021 will be the year to get back out there and enjoy yourself.

 

“But I can’t leave my firm! I’ll have to work the whole time,” you say.

 

Not quite.

 

You’re a busy attorney and you deserve to take a break. Not only that, but it’s possible for you to get this break without working from the beach. You just might not know it yet.

 

A little work to set up some key components to running your law firm now could save you a whole lotta stress and time in the long run. I’m talking maybe even two work-free vacations this year 😉

 

Busy Attorneys Enjoy Work-Free Vacations Through:

  • Automation
  • Systems & Processes
  • Phone Coverage
  • Communication With Clients

 

How Automation Can Help You Enjoy Your Vacay

We’ve talked about it before and surely this won’t be the last time: Automation is one of the greatest tools to have in your belt.

 

Automation doesn’t have to be computerized – it can simply be a task triggered to someone (preferably someone who is not you) after another task or trigger is completed.

 

Things you can automate to help you step away from your law firm:

  • New Client Intakes
  • Client Follow-up
  • Payment Agreements
  • Accepting Payments
  • Client Scheduling

 

Replicate Yourself With Systems & Processes

You like things done a specific way so you tend to try and do most of it yourself. Or you outsource a task but find yourself frustrated that they didn’t do it the way you do. Sound about right?

 

If so, you could benefit from documenting your systems and processes so that anyone who takes on the tasks you’ve been doing will do them exactly as you like them done.

 

Not only will this help you take a vacation without sacrificing your law firm’s productivity, but it will also save you tons of time and stress in your day-to-day!

 

Some systems & processes you can document and replicate in your law firm:

  • Standard client communication practices
  • Documentation processes
  • Court filings
  • Client intake questions
  • Case research
  • Communication with the courts
  • Email organization
  • & so much more

 

Communicate With Your Clients & Return Stress-Free

Even if you’ve put all of the above steps into place, there’s still a chance that your clients will demand your attention. Especially if they have no clue as to why you are seemingly dodging their calls.

 

The best way to get ahead of this is to communicate prior to silencing your phone. Let your clients (at least, the ones most likely to notice your absence) know that you will be out of the office and give them guidance on how to get in contact with someone else that can help them in the meantime.

You can do this through email, by setting an Out Of Office reply message, and also by updating your phone’s voicemail to provide details of whom to contact for assistance in case their call goes unanswered.

 

Phone Coverage Is A Vacation-Saver

If there’s only one thing you can do to cover yourself for a vacation, it should be getting your phones covered. Nothing can cramp your vacation style quite like your phone ringing off the hook while you’re trying to relax by the pool.

 

By ensuring your phones are answered while you’re away, you can ensure your client questions are still handled, lead information is still captured, and appointments can still be booked. Things don’t have to go completely on hold just because you’re not working that week. In fact, it’s best that they don’t so that your workload stays steady once you’re back.

 

If you don’t already have a dedicated receptionist, the easiest way to do this is to hire an answering service. They can keep the status quo with your callers and ensure that all questions are answered and appointments get booked for after you come back.

 

If you’ve been searching for a way to take a much-needed vacation this year, give us a call at (800) 958-8591 and discover how Back Office Betties can help you get away, stress-free.

The Company Culture That Delights Back Office Betties’ Clients & Team Members Alike

This Is Why Company Culture Is Such a Big DealAt Back Office Betties, we make it known that our company culture is important to us. What do we mean by company culture?

COMPANY CULTURE: A set of shared values, goals, attitudes, and practices that characterize an organization.

 

Why Is Company Culture so Important for a Positive Client & Employee Experience?

A great company culture cultivates happiness, a sense of worth, purpose, and being an integral part of something bigger. On the flip side, poor company culture creates a disconnect and sense of meaninglessness.

Employees are more loyal to their company when they know that their work is valued, leading them to stick around longer.

Never overlook the importance of an experienced team! While fresh faces bring new ideas and innovation, senior staff hold the expertise and leadership that glues the workplace together.

All of this leads to a well-oiled, capable workforce second to none.

 

Happy Employees Lead to Better Service

Have you ever worked a job that you hated? Maybe your manager didn’t value your work. Maybe you and your teammates felt pitted against each other. Or maybe your company didn’t stand for anything. You felt like just another cog in the machine, heading into work to get it over with so you could get back to your life.

Negative company culture certainly doesn’t inspire employees to do the best they can for clients or make their company look good.

 

People want to be a part of something that they’re proud of. They want their name and work associated with a company they believe in. And they want their career to be a part of their life, not just something they do in between it.

Happy employees go above and beyond to create the best experiences for clients and customers with a genuine desire to be the best they can.

 

Mission, Vision, & Purpose

Why should someone want to work for YOU above another company? And why should potential clients choose YOU over the competition?

Most commonly, companies are advised to develop a mission and vision statement. These statements give organizations direction and outline the audience for the business and what that audience finds important.

Furthermore, 89% of people agree that it’s important for an employer to have a clear mission and purpose. And 64% of employees say their company’s mission is one of the main reasons they stay in their job.

 

The Mission, Vision, and Purpose Statements That Define Back Office Betties’ Company Culture:

Mission: To power small law firms with an elite legal intake salesforce and relentlessly friendly virtual receptionists.

Vision: Become the #1 sales and customer service engine powering small law firms.

Purpose: Betties is a warm community inspiring clients and team members to OWN their lives and achieve their dreams.

Everything we do at Betties is defined by these goals and what we can do to reach them.

 

Core Values

While Mission and Vision statements provide overarching directions and goals for your company, Core Values give your employees a day-to-day path to achieving those goals.

 

Back Office Betties’ Company Culture is fueled every day by our Bettieisms:

 

ISMs, noun

Our core guiding principles that define the path for serving our clients.

 

ISM #1. Unparalleled Service

Back Office Betties is an elite team of Virtual Receptionists specializing in white glove customer service and legal intake sales.

We pride ourselves on providing superior customer service in the legal niche that can’t be compared to the competition.

ISM #2. Innovate

Our innovation Mantra, “Create and innovate… or die!” may seem a little sensational, but Back Office Betties is constantly evolving and upgrading our services and operations to avoid falling into a rhythm that holds us and our clients back.

ISM #3. Extreme Ownership Mentality

We know that dreams come true when we take ownership of our lives. Back Office Betties empowers our staff to own their work and take pride in what they do.

 

P.S. Have we ever shared our special recipe for Ownership Mentality?

  • A dash of Accountability
  • A sprinkle of Resourcefulness
  • And a heaping cup of Growth Mindedness

(Don’t forget 2 drops of Love of Learning!)

Give it a little stir and enjoy a tall glass of Ownership Mentality!

 

How Your Company Culture Can Treat Your Clients to a Better Experience

Back Office Betties’ company culture surrounds our clients. We strive every day to provide the best experience possible for our clients and theirs. We love making you happy and helping your law firm grow and succeed.

 These are some of the things we provide with those goals in mind:

 

Gifts

They say actions speak louder than words, and sometimes it’s true.

Everyone on the Back Office Betties team has the authority to decide a gift is in order.

  • Did you mention it’s your birthday to one of our Betties when they transferred a call?
  • Your wedding anniversary?
  • Got a new puppy?
  • An unfortunate life event?
  • Did we make a mistake in your call handling?

As a boutique answering service, we are so lucky to have the ability to get to know our clients personally, and we care about you.

 

Complete Customization

Your law firm is unique! We know that a generic service won’t do it justice.

That’s why Back Office Betties goes the extra mile to make sure the way we handle your calls is specialized to your firm.

  • Custom greetings
  • Unlimited intake questions
  • Directions for lost callers
  • Complex call triages
  • Appointment scheduling
  • Appointment cancel & reschedule
  • Payment processing
  • Teams/Slack Heads Up
  • & more

 

Hands-on Management Team

Back Office Betties is here for you and our team. Our management team is always one click or call away. Your Client Concierge is here to help you whenever you need them and Team Managers are always ready to jump in for support if calls spike.

 

A Team That Becomes an Extension of Your Law Firm

Back Office Betties encourages our team to connect with our clients and build relationships. Time is never wasted when we spend it with you!

Betties creates custom training courses for every firm that we work with. An in-house receptionist would be personally familiar with all of your staff members and policies… and we are too! Small teams of 4 – 6 receptionists work with your firm leaving your callers thinking they’re sitting at the front desk in your law office.

 

Work Perks

How can you recognize your appreciation for your employees?

Make your company a fun and positive place to work. No one should dread coming into the office or leave feeling unappreciated.

Back Office Betties’ company culture is filled with work perks. These are a few:

 

Wish Lists

Each Back Office Betties employee fills out a wish list. When their birthday comes up, they rock a project or work situation, win a contest, etc. they’ll find one of their wishes comes true.

 

Working From Home

Everyone deserves a comfortable and professional workspace tailored to their traits and work methods. Working from home allows our Betties to have their own private offices constructed for their most productive selves.

Not to mention the time saved with a non-commute that can then be spent with family, friends, and hobbies. Did we mention mid-day showers on your lunch break? Underrated.

 

Fun Team Events

Community is important. Team-building events cultivate strong relationships between your employees and improve morale and teamwork. (There’s a reason they call it team-building.) It’s also a fun way to treat your employees to a well-deserved good time.

Back Office Betties’ employees work remotely, but that doesn’t mean we don’t party and host events!

Virtual events are the perfect way to get together over a distance. Zoom classes and trivia are two of our favorites.

 

Teamwork & Community

Good company culture will foster teamwork and a close-knit community and vice versa.

Teamwork comes when your staff is comfortable with and trusting of each other. Encourage your team to work together so they can share their advice and offer support instead of keeping their methods to themselves to try and get ahead of the bunch.

 

Wellness Month

Twice a year, Back Office Betties celebrates a month of wellness by promoting well-being and health for the team. It’s important to recognize how hard your employees work and encourage them to keep their own well-being in mind.

The following are some of the things Back Office Betties implements during Wellness month:

  • Book clubs
  • Complimentary massages
  • Healthy recipes
  • Rewards for being active
  • Wellness boxes: A little box of treats tailored to each Bettie put together by our Operations Manager, Katelyn. (She does such an amazing job taking care of us and we love and appreciate her SO MUCH!)

 

Above Market Average Pay & Ongoing Training

Rewarding your team with the compensation they deserve and the support they need to continue to grow in their career is one of the most important aspects of good company culture.

Back Office Betties wants our team members to succeed in their careers and lives. This is why we offer:

  • Above-average market compensation
  • Ongoing training and mentorship
  • Annual financial support for career education
  • Professional coaching
  • Comprehensive insurance options

Treat your team right and you will be able to hire and retain the top talent in your industry.

 

Want to find out how you can better support your employees and enhance your own company’s culture? Give our Growth Solutions Strategist a call.

The Top 5+ Mistakes Attorneys Make In Running Their Practice

Don't Let These Mistakes Attorneys Make Hinder Your Law Firm's GrowthMistakes are inevitable. Especially for small law firms that are just starting out. The good news is that overcoming these mistakes is possible and doing so will get your firm back on track for growth.

Below are the top mistakes attorneys make in running their practice and ways to avoid them.

 

Mistake #1. Failing to Communicate With Their Clients

The #1 bar complaint is lack of communication.

So why is failing to communicate with clients such a common mistake that attorneys make?

 

Short answer: They fail to view situations from their client’s perspective.

Your clients want to know what’s going on… even if there’s nothing going on. You might think you don’t have an update, but you do:

  • There’s no news yet
  • I’m still working or waiting on paperwork
  • Etc.

Set expectations for when your clients can expect to hear from you – and follow through!

After speaking with a client, tell them when you’ll be in touch again. And reach out when that time comes. Keep your clients in the loop to relieve their anticipation.

 

Mistake #2. Not Setting Up an Effective Intake Process

Not completing intakes on the initial phone call is likely the most common mistake attorneys make regarding new client intakes.

 

Your firm should be completing new client intakes on the first call.

 

It’s important to hook potential clients right away – they will be calling through a list of attorneys to find someone they connect with.

Potential clients feel like they have already found their attorney and begun their process when an intake has been completed.

If your competition is taking messages and letting calls go to voicemail while your firm is completing intakes on that first call, there is no contest.

 

What is an effective intake process?

Effective intake processes are streamlined and easy to follow. They ensure that the same information is collected each time and that nothing gets overlooked.

The #1 intake secret is building a script that establishes a streamlined process and leaves your callers with a competent and professional impression of your firm.

 

Not developing an intake script is a common mistake that attorneys make.

 

Mistake #3. Not Settling Into a Niche

Potential clients search online for exactly what they need:

  • “Divorce lawyer in Austin, Texas”
  • “Lawyer for bankruptcy Phoenix, Arizona”

 

Very few people are searching for:

  • “Lawyer”

And if they do… “lawyer” covers EVERY ATTORNEY in your area.

 

People want to hire a legal expert who specializes in their case type. The same way they want to see a cardiologist for heart disease, not a general practitioner.

Furthermore, finding a niche allows you to simplify your law firm’s operations. Focusing on the same type of cases will eliminate the back and forth of moving from case type to case type.

 

Mistake #4. Not Paying Enough Attention to Customer Service

Satisfied customers are the most valuable element to growing your law firm.

And once you’ve narrowed your competition by settling into a niche, how can you differentiate yourself within that group? With excellent customer service.

Too often, attorneys overlook the importance of empathizing with their clients and connecting with them on a human level.

Avoid that by doing the following:

  • Ask for feedback.
  • Keep your clients updated.
  • Ask them how they’re doing (Genuinely).
  • Make sure your receptionist is utilizing friendly verbiage.
  • Set up a referral program.
  • Use layman’s terms and check in to confirm your clients are understanding often.
  • Make them feel taken care of.

It can be embarrassing for clients to admit they don’t understand the terms you’re using or scenarios you present which can leave them feeling out of control and lost.

 

And remember that it’s never too late to fix mistakes. Poor customer service leads to bar complaints, negative reviews, and a lack of referrals.

Customer Service Recovery Paradox

 

Wow your clients with great service and they will send their friends and family to you

 

Mistake #5. Avoiding Technology and Automation

Many law firms seem to be stuck in the past when it comes to technology and it’s one of the biggest mistakes attorneys make.

But there are so many tech tools that can help you run your firm.

 

CRMs and Practice Management Software

A good legal CRM and/or practice management software will transform your law firm.

  • Keep your clients and leads organized and connected to their cases, paperwork, correspondence, appointments, and billing.
  • Automate emails and track referral programs to save you and your staff time and headaches.

 

Payment Processing

As Above the Law so eloquently states:

“Today, if you ask anyone under 35 for payment via check, you might get a perplexed look and a response like this:

‘Uh… I don’t use checks. Can I Venmo you instead?’”

 

While Venmo might be a little difficult for law firms to navigate, credit card payment is an option for almost all firms. You may have to pay fees or pay for a software subscription but it is well worth it.

Both receiving and making payments will be more reliable and painless. Resulting in a win-win for you and your clients.

The easier it is for your clients to work with you, the more likely they are to leave good reviews and refer you to friends and family.

 

Mistake #6. Spending Too Much Time on Administrative Work & Not Charging Enough Billable Hours

Lawyers report spending only 2.5 hours per day on billable work.

That number is painful, but surely not surprising. Every small law firm struggles with finding enough time for billable work, making this one of the most common mistakes that attorneys make.

 

Administrative work is TIME-CONSUMING and tedious. And frankly, there is no reason that you should be doing it.

The money spent paying someone else to do your administrative work is substantially less than your hourly rate. The misconception that answering phones and completing administrative work yourself saves money is one of the most common when law firms are first starting out.

This is because it costs you in the long run and prevents your firm from taking on more business and growing.

 

The misconception that answering phones yourself saves money is a common roadblock for small firms looking to grow.

 

Furthermore, if you have your paralegal or office staff taking your calls, consider hiring a legal-specialized virtual receptionist service. (Back Office Betties is a great choice, wink wink).

Your time is valuable, but so is your paralegal’s – let them take some of the more complicated administrative work off your plate and stop wasting their paycheck on calls. The only person that should be answering your everyday phone calls is a dedicated receptionist or receptionist service.

 

 

Is your firm making any of these mistakes? Schedule a call with our Growth Solutions Strategist to strategize the best route to growth for your law firm.

 

Busting 3+ Common Myths About Answering Services

The Truth Behind Answering Service MythsThere are many perpetual answering service myths that could cause some to turn up their nose to the idea. But most of what you hear about answering services are just that – myths.

In this post, we break down the top myths about how answering services work.

 

Myth #1. Your Callers Will Know They Aren’t In Your Office

This is possibly the biggest answering service myth. There are multiple factors that contribute to whether or not your callers will know if your receptionist is in your office or not.

 

1. Knowledge and Training

You might be thinking that answering services don’t typically require much from their applicants in order to hire them. And too often, that’s true.

Large call centers don’t specialize in one industry, and no applicant can be well versed in them all.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Boutique and specialized answering services offer a small team of receptionists who can speak with your callers confidently with knowledge and extensive training in your industry.

 

(Back Office Betties requires all applicants to pass a legal skills test before their first interview and provides customized training for every law firm. Small teams of 4 – 6 receptionists become familiar with your staff and procedures… as if they were sitting at your front desk.)

 

2. Call Centers vs. Remote Workers

There’s a significant (and important) difference between answering services operating out of call centers and answering services operating remotely.

  • The background noise in call centers is distracting for the callers AND the agents who are speaking with them. It’s not exactly what the office at your law firm sounds like.
  • Remote virtual receptionists work from home in their own quiet, private offices without background noises or distractions. That’s possibly even better than what the office at your law firm sounds like.

 

Not all answering services operate out of call centers

 

3. Location

While many answering services outsource their call centers overseas, it’s a common misconception that this is the only option when picking a provider.

There are many answering services that operate locally and never outsource.

One tip if you want your virtual receptionists to sound like they’re sitting at the front desk of your law firm: consider hiring a company that’s based in your country/language.

Language barriers can sometimes be confusing for callers and can be a dead giveaway that the person on the other end of the call may not be located nearby. This is especially important for attorneys – you don’t want case detailed to get missed due to simple miscommunications.

 

Myth #2. It’s Cheaper and Easier to Have an In-House Receptionist

It might sound easier to hire an in-house receptionist – It is conventional and you are familiar with it.

However, this isn’t typically true. Answering services are almost always cheaper and the management, payroll, benefits, taxes, and hiring processes are all taken care of.

 

Cost of Hiring Legal Staff Receptionist

The average monthly and annual cost of an in-house receptionist

While in-house receptionists can cost upwards of $4,123.60 a month, answering services and virtual receptionist prices range from $300 – $2,000 a month. With multiple plans, there are options for every law firm’s needs and budget.

Not to mention that in-house receptionists can only take one call at a time, need to take lunch breaks, step away to use the restroom, go on vacations, and call in sick.

With answering services, multiple receptionists can answer calls for your firm at the same time and there is always someone there – no disruptions by way of lunch or bathroom breaks, sick days, or vacations.

Answering services ensure that you’ll never miss a call and provide more service for that lower cost compared to an in-house receptionist.

 

Answering services work to save you time and money while improving the quality of service

 

Myth #3. Your Clients Will Receive Poor Service

The answering service myth that your clients will not receive quality service is debunked by providers with well-trained and highly specialized receptionists.

Common negative experiences with outsourced answering services are:

  • The agent didn’t seem to know anything about the company or their product/service.
  • You had to call again and got a different agent on the line who knew nothing about your previous call.
  • You were placed on hold right away – or even multiple times.

But not all answering services are the same. The quality of service provided is based on the level of expertise the virtual receptionists have due to specialization and training.

With the right answering service, none of these common complaints need to be a concern.

  • Answering services like Back Office Betties that specialize in the legal industry are able to speak with your callers with the same level of expertise as a legal receptionist in your office.
  • Boutique answering services with small teams of receptionists are able to communicate with each other, ensuring your callers won’t be starting from square one if they get someone new on the phone.
  • High-quality answering services will always take 1 call at a time giving your callers their full attention from start to finish.

 

Myth #4. You Have No Control Over Your Calls

A common complaint answering service users report is a lack of control over their calls.

However, most answering services do provide some level of customization. Most, if not all, offer a customized greeting and will answer a few FAQs for callers.

 

Many services will also schedule appointments for you and follow your custom directions for warm and cold transfers.

High-end legal answering services can even provide you with significantly more options and services to fit your needs, such as:

  • Completing complex legal intakes
  • Payment processing
  • Calendar management
  • Adding new leads to your CRM
  • Slack communication

These are just a few examples.

The virtual receptionist plans that Back Office Betties provides are specifically engineered for law firms at 4 different stages of growth – they include all of the unique features that law firms need and are customizable to fit your firm like a glove.

. . .

If you have concerns about any of these myths, be sure to question answering service providers about their operations before committing!

 

“Back Office Betties is the face of my company: they’re the first people that a new client talks to. People think their team is a receptionist in my office. I’ve never had an issue where someone didn’t end up hiring me because of their communication with the Back Office Betties team.” – Carla, Attorney

 

Don’t have time to quiz every answering service? Schedule a call with our Growth Solutions Strategist to discover how Back Office Betties goes above and beyond to ensure your clients will never know our virtual receptionists aren’t sitting at the front desk in your law firm!

 

The Guide to 10+ Best Ways to Answer Your Law Firm’s Phones

The Guide to Good First Impressions Answering Phones +ExamplesHow do you answer the phones at your law firm?

If you’re part of the 60% of law firms answering with, “Law Office”, you’re on wrong the track.

And why is that?

 

The Way You Answer Your Phones is Your Firm’s First Impression

It’s like they say: You never get a second chance to make a first impression.

Science has shown that first impressions are so concrete, even learning opposing facts about someone can’t change them.

You Never Get a Second Chance to Make a First Impression

Potential clients are likely calling through a list of attorneys looking for the best fit. The way you answer their call is just as important as answering it at all.

A good first impression will pave the way to a good relationship.

 

First impressions are permanent impressions

 

How to Answer Your Law Firm’s Phones

There are plenty of factors to consider, but it’s simple at its core.

Introduce Your Firm

It cannot be stressed enough how important it is to introduce your firm when you pick up the phone.

No more of these “Law Office” generic greetings.

When a potential client is calling a list of attorneys, stressed about their case, looking for the best option, you want your name in their head right away. And you want your name associated with the positive first impression you’re about to give them.

By the time a potential client hangs up the phone, it’s likely they won’t remember the name of the firm they just called if you don’t provide it.

 

The best ways to answer phones always include an introduction

 

Offer Assistance

The person who is asking the questions is the person who is in control of the call.

Take control of the phone call immediately – follow up your introduction by offering assistance in the form of a question.

 

Adjust Your Tone

Confidence is key. And there’s nowhere that is more true than in the legal field.

  • Know what you’re going to say before you reach for the phone.

Stumbling and hesitation will decrease your callers’ confidence in you. You might lead potential clients to think…

“Do they know what they’re doing?”

“Do they know what they’re talking about?”

“Have they not done this many times?”

  • Smile!

Yes, it comes through over the phone, and yes it makes you sound more confident.

And subconsciously or not, it is recognizable.

If you’re happy, comfortable, and at ease, you come across as more confident. And therefore, more capable and professional.

 

With all of this in mind, here are some examples of the best ways to answer your law firm’s phones.

 

The Best Ways To Answer Phones

You have options when it comes to picking a greeting. Not everything is applicable to every firm, and some things just won’t be your cup of tea, but each of the following is guaranteed to start your calls on the right foot.

 

Answering phone calls with a cheerful “Good Morning” or “Good Afternoon” gives your caller that conversational friendliness without spending time on longer pleasantries:

  • “Good (Morning/Afternoon), thank you for calling (Law Firm Name). How may I assist you?”
  • “Good (Morning/Afternoon), this is (Law Firm Name). What can we help you with today?”
  • “Good (Morning/Afternoon), (Law Firm Name), this is _____. How may I assist you?”

 

Introducing yourself is another friendly way to connect with your callers:

  • “(Law Firm Name), this is _____. How may I direct your call?”
  • “Thank you for calling (Law Firm Name), this is _____. How can I help you today?”
  • “You’ve reached (Law Firm Name). My name is _____. What can I assist you with?”

 

If your law firm requires a call recording disclosure, it doesn’t have to sound clunky or uncomfortable:

  • “Good(Morning/Afternoon), you’ve reached (Law Firm Name). All calls are recorded for quality assurance. How may I assist you?”
  • “Hello, this is (Law Firm Name). Your call will be recorded. How can I help you today?”

 

If you have a complicated triage, get started right away:

  • “(Good Morning/Afternoon), (Law Firm Name). Do you know who you’re calling for?”
  • “Thank you for calling (Law Firm Name)! Are you calling with a new legal matter we can help you with?”
  • “Hello, you’ve reached (Law Firm Name). Are you a current client of ours?”
  • “(Law Firm Name), _____ speaking. Are you calling regarding a current case?”

 

If you want to keep it as simple as possible, there are a couple of shortcuts that still sound professional:

The most important factor is to never skip introducing your firm.

  • “Good (Morning/Afternoon), (Law Firm Name).”
  • “Hello, you’ve reached (Law Firm Name).”
  • “(Law Firm Name), how can I assist you?”

 

A person’s favorite word is their name. Using callers’ names with in the first few seconds of the phone call can make a huge difference in connecting with your caller:

  • “Good (Morning/Afternoon)! This is (Law Firm Name). Who do I have the pleasure of speaking with?”
  • “You’ve reached (Law Firm Name), this is _____. Who am I speaking with today?”

 

 

 

Don’t have time for all this? Schedule a call with our Growth Solutions Strategist to discover how we can customize your call handling and answer your phones in the best possible way for your law firm.

 

How to Control Your Phone Calls & Avoid Being Trapped By a Caller

The Powerful Call Control Techniques Experts UseCall control is one of those things that can make or break your law firm’s operations.

It can mean the difference between chaos and tranquility in your office, and landing a client or losing one.

Unfortunately, it’s not easy to stay in control of calls. And law firms face unique challenges that can even render traditional advice unhelpful.

Maybe you know the struggle of trying to keep a handle on calls well, or maybe you don’t even realize that you’re losing time and money unnecessarily.

 

In this post:

  • The achievable benefits of expertly handled calls
  • How uncontrolled calls are costing you money
  • An expert’s advice on call control with Back Office Betties’ Operations Manager, Katelyn Koplan
  • How to gain control of your calls to get ahead of the competition and reclaim your time

 

 

The Achievable Benefits of Expertly Handled Calls

  • Give your callers a professional experience
  • Turn more leads into clients
  • Make more money
  • Get better reviews and more referrals
  • Keep clients happy and feeling taken care of
  • Maintain a stellar reputation
  • Outshine the competition
  • Complete intakes seamlessly
  • Reduce your time on the phone
  • Free up your staff’s time
  • Save your clients’ time

There’s a lot to be gained from taking control of your phone calls. And there’s a lot of money to be lost by staying out of control.

 

How Uncontrolled Calls Are Costing You Money

Time is money and your uncontrolled calls are adding up.

When You’re Answering Phones Yourself

If you’re in a position where you’re the one taking calls for your firm, there is definitely no time to waste.

It’s likely that your firm is still small, if not solo. Presumably, you’re handling a lot of other administrative work as well.

The longer you spend on phone calls, the less time you have for billable work! You don’t have time to chitchat. Keeping calls short, sweet, and to the point should be your top priority.

 

You don’t have time to chitchat – keep calls short and sweet so you can get back to work.

 

When Your Office Staff Is Answering Phones

Having your office staff taking calls for you is a step up from handling them yourself…

But legal staff are expensive. You can’t afford to have them on phones all day. The more effectively your team can control your phone calls, the more time they’ll have for important administrative work.

Cost of Hiring Legal Staff Receptionist

Legal Staff is expensive – use their time wisely

You’re ready to stop losing money – but how can you take control of your phone calls?

 

An Expert’s Powerful Techniques and Advice to Control Your Phone Calls

Katelyn Koplan, Back Office Betties’ Operations Manager, is indisputably a call handling expert. It was her own natural ability and skilled work that lead her to where she is today: Not just managing and training the Back Office Betties team, but operations as a whole.

 

Attorneys are pretty busy. What’s your advice for staying in control of calls to avoid wasting time?  

Katelyn Koplan: If I am running into someone who is very emotional or stuck in the right side of their brain, I will do a simple method of asking three very factual back-to-back questions that usually just require a confirmation or a yes or no. Doing this takes them into the left side of their brain and gets us back on track to facts and logic.

Also, being “nicely aggressive”. You are in control of the call. When we let others take control of the call through filling silences or storytelling, we are no longer in control.

If the call is a planned meeting, set an agenda and adhere to that agenda! Include timed sections for each discussion and a solid end time. It’s nice to be able to give a reason like, “to stay on agenda and respect everyone’s time”.

 

Is it really possible to collect all the information needed while keeping calls short and sweet?

Katelyn: Yes of course! The left vs. right side of the brain strategy works best. I also like to ask my questions back to back to back. Then at the end of the call, confirm that I got everything correct.

If you allow room for silence in between, people will fill that void with stories or more unneeded information because silence makes people uncomfortable.

 

What is a Chatty Cathy and how can you avoid being trapped by callers?

Katelyn: Chatty Cathys are callers who go on and on. You might feel like you’re struggling to get through the call. The details that Chatty Cathys have are usually just extra information that would be best as part of the conversation during their consultation.

A Chatty Cathy can also be someone who is very emotional and needs reassurance or guidance. Find out what they want from the outcome of the call and provide that if you can.

 

Do you have any advice for screening out solicitors?

Katelyn: These are my favorite! I know of only two solicitors that ever got through my screening process.

I never ask a solicitor if they are a solicitor. They will always tell you no. The best phrase to use is “Are you calling to introduce yourself or your services?” even for the most advanced solicitor, that question is hard to get around honestly. If they say they are, of course, we send them on their way.

If they are calling from places like Avvo, LexisNexis, Yelp, etc.. in some cases your staff might not be familiar with which accounts you do and don’t have. Asking, “Do we have a current paid account with you?” works best. They might be calling to offer marketing or to win back your services.

After our statements, we will wish them a great day, ask them to add our number to their do not call list, and disconnect.

Being a solicitor is difficult work. We still want to remain kind and respectful. I find it best to just end the call because often they will go into “Can I get your email? Can I talk to someone else? Is there a better time to call back?”

 

Betties’ Receptionists are experts on call handling. What do you think sets them apart?

Katelyn: Our team is trained on legal lingo and personally trained on all new client accounts. They’re not going from answering calls for a doctor’s office, to a CPA’s office, to a restaurant, to a law office… We are 100% focused on small law firms.

Our team is also taught to place quality and customer service first. We will only hire those who capture their warmth and kindness over the phone.

Our receptionists are your office’s first impression and your MVP. When a possible new client is calling a list of attorneys, they are going to remember that friendly, empathetic, and kind receptionist that they spoke with at your office!

. . .

How to Stand Out From the Competition by Taking Control of Your Phone Calls

While your callers call firm after firm, you’ll be sure to stand out.

Develop a Script

Shockingly: Law firms fail to collect emails 86% of the time and phone numbers 45% of the time on the first call.

Those numbers are staggering. Ensuring contact information is collected is the most basic procedure, yet isn’t happening. But admittedly, it’s hard not to miss something when you’re busy and pulled away from your work.

 

Developing a script can help.

Of course, you’ll want to include generic questions like name, phone number, and email.

But to really get a leg up on the competition, build an intake script that you can complete on the first call to turn potential clients into clients.

 

Law firms fail to collect emails 86% of the time and phone numbers 45% of the time on the first call.

 

Clients that complete an intake on the first phone call are invested in your relationship and much more likely to choose you over a firm that didn’t even ask for their email.

Some more benefits of using a script:

  • The same information will be collected for every call
  • Your firm can maintain a consistent professional reputation
  • You can save time by eliminating the need to call back for more information
  • Streamlines transferring information to your CRM
  • Acts as a template for taking charge and controlling your phone calls

 

Take (and stay in) Control of Your Phone Calls

What does it mean to take charge of a phone call or to be the one in control?

Being in control of a phone call means you are the authority that’s choosing the direction of the call: Where it’s going and where it’s been.

  • Ask questions back to back
  • Don’t leave empty silence
  • Know what the caller wants and guide the conversation to that outcome yourself

 

An authoritative call means a better experience for the client or PNC. Because you appear professional and on top of it, not like you are in the middle of something else or their call is a burden on you.

Asking precise and quick questions without leaving time between will lower the stress of the caller by increasing their confidence in your ability to handle their case.

 

Keep Calls Short and Sweet

What makes phone calls long in the first place? For law firms, it’s usually the client to blame.

Potential clients call in ready to tell you every detail of their case and the full timeline of events – when all you really need is a quick synopsis.

Keeping calls short and sweet:

  • Benefits you and your staff by wasting less time and allowing you to get back to work
  • Benefits your client by giving them a quicker stress-free call making them feel in good hands

 

If a potential client feels the need to share a detailed chronicle of their story, they’re feeling stressed. They think you need all of that information.

So give them a break! Let them know there’s no need to stress further, all you need is a quick summary and you can take care of it from there until the consultation.

 

Your time is valuable. Don’t let anyone hold you hostage on the phone.

 

Screen Out Solicitors

It’s typical for law firms to receive solicitation calls. If they’re not dealt with quickly, you’ll find that you’ve wasted time and interrupted your work for nothing.

Have a plan.

  • Know your verbiage.
  • Make sure your staff is aware of your policy.
  • Don’t be afraid to be firm but polite with a caller.
  • Question the caller right away. (You should be able to determine a suspected solicitor within the first few seconds of a call.)
  • Keep your staff cognizant of the accounts you have open.

 

Make sure your staff isn’t afraid to be firm but polite with solicitors.

 

Don’t ask a suspected solicitor if they are a solicitor. Not only are they likely to lie (there are plenty of other titles that solicitors will give themselves), but this is where a lot of people become hesitant fearing being impolite or making the caller upset.

There are more effective and polite questions that even the most nervous of your staff members will feel comfortable asking:

“Are you calling to introduce yourself or your services?”

“Are you calling to introduce your business?”

“What company are you calling on behalf of?”

“Do we currently have a paid account with you?”

 

Okay, but maybe you are interested in hearing about solicitations.

Make sure whoever is answering your phones takes a short message – and doesn’t transfer the call to you. If you’re answering your calls personally, it’s a bit trickier, but don’t be discouraged.

It’s a solicitor’s job to sell you on their product or service. They want to pitch to you today, and they will still want to pitch to you tomorrow, next week, next month… you get it.

Solicitations are never an urgent matter and should never be interrupting your work.

 

Consider a Virtual Receptionist

Did you see that coming?

A legal specialized virtual receptionist can control your phone calls eliminating the stress on your firm.

Back Office Betties’ Receptionists… for example… are expert call handlers.

  • Relentlessly friendly and professional
  • Comfortably screen out solicitors
  • Skillfully collect the information needed from callers in short, friendly calls
  • Always stay in authority during calls
  • Ready and in the zone for every call
  • Make callers feel cared for and important

 

Outsourcing your call handling will:

  • Free up your staff so they can get their work done
  • Ensure every call gets answered
  • Give you peace of mind knowing your calls are being taken by the experts themselves
  • Give you back your time (Why not do some work you can get paid for? Maybe go home before dark this Friday?)

 

 

Sound like something that could benefit your firm? Schedule a call with our Growth Solutions Strategist to learn more about how our receptionists can customize your call handling and control your phone calls.

16 Unique Phone Calls Every Law Firm Should Be Prepared For

How to Handle the Most Frequent Law Firm Phone Calls

The way your handle your law firm’s phone calls has the potential to be the deciding factor in setting you apart from other firms. Considering the #1 bar complaint is lack of communication, call handling should be a top priority for your firm.

These are 16 of the most common law firm phone calls and how you should handle them.

 

1. Existing Clients Wanting an Update

The best way for your law firm to handle phone calls like these is to avoid receiving them in the first place!

Setting communication expectations from the start (and following through with them!) will leave your clients confident they will be hearing from you without prodding you constantly.

 

2. Existing Clients Upset About Something With Their Case

These are possibly the worst law firm phone calls. Disgruntled clients are likely to leave negative reviews. Therefore, smoothing things over with upset clients should always be a top priority.

Now, if you’ve already had the misfortune of receiving unfavorable reviews, this ABA article offers some advice on ethically responding to negative reviews.

 

3. Existing Clients Wanting to Schedule a Meeting

Schedule immediately. When a client calls wanting to schedule a meeting, they are ready with their calendar and information on hand.

There’s no telling what your client may busy with when you call back. The inconvenience of waiting for you to call back and then having to interrupt their work to take what may be a very private phone call (not everyone wants to be overheard on the phone with their attorney) makes a big difference in the overall experience.

At the very least, provide your clients with online scheduling links.

 

4. Existing Clients Needing to Make a Payment

If possible, allow your clients to pay by credit and debit cards. The ease of being able to pay from their device or over the phone with your receptionist makes collecting payment easier.

Plus, if your firm has a link to pay online, your receptionist can share that link with clients allowing them to pay on their own next time.

Furthermore, 40% of potential clients would never hire a lawyer who didn’t take credit or debit cards anyway. Give your law firm an edge by doing so.

 

40% of potential clients would never hire a lawyer who didn’t take credit or debit cards

 

5. Existing Clients Calling About a New Matter &

6. Previous Clients Calling about a New Case

These two law firm phone calls are where using an excellent Legal CRM comes into play.

If you aren’t already using one (or if what you’re using isn’t great), you will be shocked at the difference it makes.

You’ll be able to easily and precisely assign multiple cases to your clients eliminating the confusion of which case an update, payment, document, etc. is associated with. And it makes for easy information processing on the first phone call.

Some of our favorite Legal CRMs:

MyCase Logo

Clio Grow Logo

PracticePanther Logo

 

7. Potential New Clients Wanting to Schedule a Consultation

Complete potential client’s intakes during the first phone call!

Not only does this ensure that you collect all the information needed before the consultation, but it also increases the likelihood of retaining the client.

When intakes are completed during the first phone call, potential clients feel like they have already started their legal process with you and feel less like you are just another option that they’re considering.

If your office staff is too busy and unable to pause their work at any moment to complete full client intakes, this is where a legal specialized virtual receptionist can really help you out.

 

If your office staff is too busy to complete client intakes at the drop of a hat, consider a virtual legal receptionist.

 

8. Potential New Clients Calling on Behalf of Someone Else With Questions

The most important factor with this law firm phone call is to make sure you take down the information for not just the caller, but the person they are calling on behalf of as well.

This way, you’ll be able to reach out to the potential client to follow up. Even if you can’t get their contact information, make sure your receptionist at least takes down their name.

 

9. Potential New Clients Calling to Ask What Type Of Case They Have/If You Accept It,

10. PNCs Wanting More Information About What to Expect From a Consultation, &

11. PNCs Asking About Pricing/Payment Plans

For these 3 law firm phone calls from potential new clients, the importance of having the requested information on hand to provide to the caller is a given.

Consider creating a PDF with FAQs and information regarding your firm’s practices that you can email the callers:

  • Case types you accept and examples
  • Payment and Fees
  • Payment types you accept and links to pay online
  • Appointment types and what to expect
  • Office hours
  • Scheduling procedures and links to schedule
  • Contact information
  • Referral programs
  • Client account information and troubleshooting
  • Firm-specific FAQs
  • Etc.

This has multiple advantages:

  1. Provides potential clients with all the information they need
  2. Gives current clients something to refer back to with questions
  3. Creates a more professional image for your law firm
  4. Allows you to collect every caller’s email address for your sales funnel, even if they aren’t interested in scheduling a consultation yet

 

12. Opposing Counsel Calling About an Upcoming Meeting &

13. Opposing Counsel Calling About Their Case

Calls from Opposing Counsels should be handled on a case-by-case basis.

Send a quick update to your receptionist each morning with any pertinent information:

  • If Attorney Tim Walton calls about John’s case, transfer him immediately.
  • Attorney Tim Walton will be getting back to me about availability for an upcoming meeting. I can do Monday or Wednesday. Otherwise, transfer to me.

This is an excellent way to save yourself and your staff time. If you haven’t left a note about the caller, you won’t be bothered with a call when a message would do, and your receptionist won’t spend their time attempting to transfer calls or checking on your availability before taking a message.

 

14. Judges/Court Clerks Calling With Questions/Information About a Hearing (New Location, Rescheduling, Needing Documents)

You probably want your receptionist to send calls over right away when they include time-sensitive information. But it’s also a good idea to have your receptionist take down any times, dates, or document types before transferring the call to you.

If you’re not in a place to take notes yourself, you’re likely to forget the details.

 

15. Fellow Attorneys Calling to Refer a Case

Answer calls from fellow attorneys referring a case right away!

As you probably know, attorneys are pretty busy. It might a while before they have time again to get back to you with the information.

 

Ensuring that calls are never missed and that time is available to take down all information is essential.

 

16. Solicitors

It’s common for law firms to receive phone calls from solicitors, so make sure you and your staff are prepared.

  • First, you need to develop a policy for solicitations.

Are you interested in staying aware but don’t have the time to listen to a sales pitch?

Consider having your receptionist take short messages. Make sure they get the name of the company (many solicitors won’t offer it) so that you will be able to do a quick search before committing to a sales call.

Do you have no interest in solicitations and don’t want your staff wasting time entertaining them?

The key is to get off the phone call as quickly as possible. The back and forth is what leads to awkward conversations.

  • Second, know how to spot them!

Don’t be afraid to ask probing questions. “Are you a solicitor?” may sound rude, but don’t worry, there are polite questions you can ask to screen out solicitors.

  • “Are you calling to introduce yourself or your services?”
  • “Do we have a current paid account with you?”
  • “Are you calling to offer your services?”

If you get a “yes” to any of the above, move forward with your solicitation policy.

 

OVERWHELMED? Schedule a call with our Growth Solutions Strategist to strategize finding the time to set your law firm apart with top-notch call handling.

Your Law Firm Is Missing Out on Easy Money

The Guide to Getting More ReferralsAs you probably know, law firms rely heavily on referrals to generate new leads.

Business relationships with other attorneys and professionals are incredibly valuable lead sources, and you likely spend a lot of time fostering them. In fact, attorneys spend 1.4 hours a day on average networking to meet new clients and build referrals. That’s 2x the .7 hours spent by the average professional.

 

But what about client referrals? Getting referrals from clients can be the easiest, least time-consuming, and cheapest way to bring in new clients.

Establishing a Law Firm Referral Program will help you maximize your referrals and automate the referral process.

 

Why Is a Law Firm Referral Program Better Than Traditional Advertising?

There are a few reasons:

It’s Easier

  • Save time by eliminating the need to keep track of multiple ad campaigns.
  • Reduce the stress on your marketing budget.
  • Lower risk by spending money as you make it – no upfront marketing expenses that you may or may not see a return on.

It’s Cheaper

The legal industry is the most expensive marketing sector with the highest CPC (Cost Per Click) on Google Ads, making it one of the least cost-effective marketing strategies.

CPC varies rapidly and COVID-19 has seen CPC skyrocket for the Legal Industry.

Average Cost Per Click Graphic

Source: WordStream

You can incentivize clients to refer friends and family for a much lower cost than traditional marketing and advertising.

It’s an Easy Sell

  • Referrals from clients start off with higher levels of trust and confidence in you than leads from any other source – before they’ve even spoken with you!
  • Clio’s 2019 Legal Trends Report found that almost 60% of clients seek a referral when shopping for a lawyer, and only 16% seek a referral AND search on their own. Meaning 73% of clients who sought referrals chose them.

 

How to Set Up a Law Firm Referral Program

It’s not as complicated as you might think.

Develop an Enticing Offer

Rewarding both the referrer and the referred is ideal.

  • For past clients giving referrals, gifts are a good idea – gift cards and donations in their name are great options.
  • For current clients giving referrals, there are more options. Both discounts and gifts work.
  • For the referred, discounts are ideal.

Disclaimer: Be sure to check with your local Ethics Rules & Opinions before creating your incentive.

Entice Your Clients (Let Them Know)

When it comes to getting the word out, consistency is key. Most people don’t know someone who needs a lawyer at all times. If they haven’t heard about your referral program in months, they’re less likely to remember it when one of their friends or family members finds themselves in need of an attorney.

  • Update your website to include a referrals page with information regarding your referral program.
  • Blogs are a great way to get information out. You can create original posts or publish the content from your emails. Make sure to include your call to action at the end!
  • Emails are likely the most effective method of getting in touch with previous and current clients, and they are super easy to automate.
  • If your firm sends out newsletters, add a section to the newsletter with referral information!

Keep Track of Your Referrals

CRMs are absolutely essential for keeping track of client referrals and leads.

Here are a few we recommend:

MyCase LogoClio Grow Logo

PracticePanther Logo

Follow Up

  • Send a handwritten thank you note with your gift or discount. It doesn’t need to be fancy. Make sure you let them know that the referral offer still stands for the future.

Here are even more ideas for developing a referral program.

 

How to Increase the Likelihood of Receiving Referrals

Customer Service is KEY and an important part of your Law Firm Referral Program. The number 1 factor in receiving client referrals is a positive experience working with you.

No one wants to risk referring a friend or family member to someone they can’t be sure will take care of them. (This is especially true for something as important as legal issues.)

When it comes to the legal industry, the referral gift or discount alone likely won’t be enough to elicit referrals – they know their friend or family member will be in good hands.

As customer service experts, we’ve put together a few guides to help you really wow your clients –

The Delicate Art of Recovering From a Major Customer Service Mistake

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

Making Customer Service a Priority Only Boosts Your Law Firm’s Success

 

Additionally:

  • End cases with thank you gifts and/or cards to thank your clients for choosing and working with you. Let them know you enjoyed your time together and they were an excellent client, then introduce your referral program.
  • Leave your clients feeling like you’ve gone above and beyond for them and they will feel the desire to return that favor to you.

 

And when your phones start ringing off the hook from all the new referrals you’re receiving, schedule a call with our Growth Solutions Strategist to strategize ways to handle the new traffic.

 

The Delicate Art of Recovering From a Major Customer Service Mistake (Everyone in Your Law Firm Should Read This)

Customer Service Recovery

If you work with clients, you’re bound to make customer service mistakes. It happens to every company, and it will happen to you.  (It’s okay – you’re human!)

You’ve spent a lot of time putting processes in place to make sure your clients have a good experience. But what happens when they don’t?

Customer service mistakes don’t have to be the end of a professional relationship.

In this post, we’ll take a look at companies who are doing customer service right, sit down and talk with customer service expert and Back Office Betties Founder & CEO, Emily LaRusch, and dive into our tips and advice for navigating customer service mistakes.

 

Two companies that stand out as examples of admirable customer service are Chewy and Zappos.

You’ve surely heard of them, right? But did you know that both of these companies have reputations for caring about their customers and going above and beyond to make things right?

Chewy is an online pet store selling food, supplies, and prescriptions for pets.

You don’t need to search long to find raving customer reviews for Chewy. Their approach is one of genuine care and compassion (for both the animals and their human owners). This Forbes post details two stories from Chewy customers.

In the first, a customer whose pet cat has just passed away calls to cancel their auto-shipments of cat food. Not only does Chewy’s customer service representative spend extra time on the phone with the customer to offer condolences, but they also send out a handwritten note and bouquet of flowers by mail.

In the second, a customer emails Chewy when their shipment doesn’t arrive as scheduled. Chewy’s customer service overnights a second shipment free of charge noting that the customer should keep the first shipment as well, should it arrive. Sure enough, the following day the customer receives both shipments. A week later, a handwritten note arrives from Chewy welcoming them and hoping their cat is loving their new toy.

 

As you can see, Chewy’s customer service model is intuitive and easy to understand. They make real connections through emotion and attention to detail that foster effective word-of-mouth marketing and brand loyalty. It really works.

Zappos is an online shoe and clothing retailer.

Their call center, located in Las Vegas, NV, is open 24/7/365 and always has a live representative on the line. But Zappos doesn’t restrict its employees with call time limits or give them scripts to follow.

Instead, Zappos puts every new hire through 4 weeks of customer service training (with an additional 3 weeks for customer service operators) and takes a hands-off approach.

They’re known for their accommodating and sometimes outlandish customer service stories. Like in 2011, when they paid for all the tolls along the Allston/Brighton Massachusetts Turnpike plazas for 2 hours the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, just to be nice. Or their ultra-long customer service calls – the longest Zappos call lasted 10 hours and 51 minutes.

 

Zappos puts their focus solely on customer happiness. Their willingness to go above and beyond leaves them with happy customers that return later knowing they will be taken care of. Of course, a little attention for some of their antics doesn’t hurt either.

For more on Zappos’ customer service, check out Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh, Former Zappos CEO.

. . .

A Customer Service Conversation with Back Office Betties Founder & CEO, Emily LaRusch

Emily LaRusch knows customer service. In fact, it was her own experiences with bad service that led her to create Back Office Betties in 2014, knowing that she could make a difference.

 

What is customer service and why is it so important?

Emily LaRusch: I believe customer service is a reflection of a company’s values. One of our BettieISMs (Back Office Betties’ core values) is ‘Deliver Unparalleled Service’.

Before starting Betties, I worked for a top-three bank. On my first day, they were not ready for me. I stood at the security desk for 30 minutes until someone I knew from a prior bank saw me and authorized my entry. I sat at my new desk. The phone wasn’t installed and my logins weren’t ready for use. My manager didn’t arrive for another hour. It was an unwelcome experience, and sadly, many companies provide experiences like this to employees and customers. Before I had fully fleshed out the services Back Office Betties would provide, I knew what I wanted it to feel like to do business and work here.

 

What is your favorite customer service success story?

Emily: I took my four-year-old to Disneyland. He had been very potty trained, but with all the excitement and long lines, he had an accident. I went into the nearest store and couldn’t find any underpants or shorts that would fit him. I asked an employee for help and explained what happened. He found new Mickey Mouse underoos and shorts, placed them into a bag, told me where to find the nearest restroom, and wished us a magical time at Disney. Thousands of people who have visited Disney share stories just like this and that’s why it has earned a reputation for unparalleled service. Great service costs little but generates tremendous rewards.

 

What was your biggest customer service mistake?

Emily: Not doing enough to communicate the importance of having an ongoing relationship between our clients and our client concierge team. On the surface, it would appear that we are a vendor to which certain work has been outsourced… and as long as we do the work with no issues, no one needs to communicate.

The reality is, virtual receptionists are an extension of the internal law firm team. As an employee, continual feedback and modifications are essential to success. There should be at least a quarterly conversation to determine if the sales script is working, are the leads converting, is the call flow process providing callers with the best experience? Etc.

 

What did you do to fix it?

Emily: Our client concierge team is reaching out regularly to have these conversations and obtain feedback to help strengthen the receptionist team and increase the value and results for law firms. We are also working on content creation that will provide quick, easy-to-understand, actionable edutainment to help the law firms we work with thrive.

 

What makes Back Office Betties’ customer service stand out? 

Emily: I care about the entrepreneurial journey and understand the enormous pressure that business owners carry. When I work with vendors, I look for the ones who are passionate about business and want to see me succeed.

With standard answering services, the customer is signing up for services that fit into the provider’s box. I train my team to build the box around the firms’ needs as much as we can. We don’t want to just answer the phones, we want to be the unparalleled customer service representatives for the firms we work with.

. . .

Have You Heard of the Service Recovery Paradox?

First coined by McCollough and Bharadwaj in 1992, this phenomenon demonstrates how customers leaving a service failure situation can end up with higher satisfaction and brand loyalty after a successful service recovery than customers who never experienced a service failure at all.

Customer Service Recovery Paradox

Service Recovery Paradox. First coined by McCollough and Bharadwaj in 1992.

There’s no reason to go creating service failures to give yourself service recovery opportunities, but don’t miss them when you get them either. Not only do customer service mistakes not need to cost you a professional relationship, but if handled correctly, they could even strengthen it.

There are many variables that affect the Service Recovery Paradox. This meta-analysis is a great resource for more details.

 

With All of This in Mind, How Can We Navigate the Rocky Waters Following Customer Service Mistakes?

 

Acknowledge Your Mistakes

You made a mistake… Own up to it! Sweeping customer service mistakes under the rug while hoping your client doesn’t notice or won’t mind is the worst choice you can make.

All this does is leave your client thinking (a) you’re not paying attention or (b) you don’t care.

As counterintuitive as it may sound, you want to be the one drawing attention to your mistakes, not your client.

Reach Out Fast

Best case scenario, the first time your client hears of a mistake will be when you bring them a solution wrapped in a bow.

The stress that comes with discovering a problem and the weight placed on the client to reach out in hopes of getting it fixed are big factors to remove from the equation.

Imagine the following scenarios:

  1. You learn you were accidentally charged $3,000 instead of $300 – but don’t worry, a refund is already processing.
  2. You find a $3,000 charge on your account.

You can see just how big of a difference it makes on an emotional level for the client, even if the final outcome would have been a refund in both cases.

Ask Questions

Asking questions makes your client feel like you care and want to understand the situation.

(Just saying that you care alone is unfortunately not very effective.)

Not only will you be able to genuinely understand and help your client better with more information, but your client will know that you’re invested in their situation, not just trying to get them quiet to make it go away.

Don’t Make it About You

Sure, maybe your customer service mistake wouldn’t have happened if you had been able to get your coffee that morning, and your daily meeting hadn’t run overtime, and you weren’t understaffed at the busiest time of the year!

But while your natural instinct may be to try and explain yourself, this often does more harm than good.

A disgruntled client does not want to hear why their problem is hard for YOU, or how the business they’re giving you is a lot of work. They want to hear that you understand why it’s hard for THEM, and how you’re going to fix it.

Practice Empathy

Those blessed with a high level of natural empathy will always have a leg up in customer service.

For the rest of us: Practice.

If empathy isn’t something that comes naturally, it’s important to keep it at the front of your mind throughout customer service interactions. Actively putting yourself in your client’s shoes, or even just recognizing their emotion and pretending to feel the same way for a moment can go a long way.

Sidenote: The famous book, How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie is a great read for those looking to improve their empathetic skills.

Remember That the Customer is Always Right… About How They Feel

The phrase, “The customer is always right” might just be the fasted way to elicit eye rolls from anyone who has ever worked in customer service.

But while your clients might not always be right, the important thing is actually how they feel.

Even if your client’s complaint is unjustified or inaccurate, the negative emotion and dissatisfaction they are presenting you with is real. And it’s that dissatisfaction that leaves negative reviews for your law firm.

Give Gifts, Not Discounts

Discounts are easy. And while ease may be a plus, it can come off as generic and impersonal.

Giving or sending a personal gift holds a much heavier weight. Simple flowers, a nice notebook, a gift card, or something similar paired with a handwritten note shows that you went out of your way to add a little something positive to balance out the negative that your mistake caused.

Gifts show that you recognize that your mistake has had an impact on your client’s life (be it small or large), not just your business relationship. Think something along the lines of:

“Sorry for the stress we’ve caused you this week. We hope you’ll use this gift card for a free massage to get back some Zen.”

Now that’s not to say that there is no place for discounts… In many cases, a gift alongside a discount would likely be the best option. The concept of gift-giving is to show your client that you care about them, you’re not just throwing a discount at them because they’re upset or it’s your policy.

Disclaimer: Be sure to check with your local Ethics Rules & Opinions before sending gifts. In the case that gifts are not an option, default to a heartfelt message and a nice card instead.

 

Gift giving is a Back Office Betties favorite!

Anyone on the Back Office Betties team has the power to determine if someone needs a gift.

Keeping this policy not only ensures that customer service mistakes will be remedied, but also creates an open environment for mistakes to be owned up to. When every member on the team has the power to make things right, they do so. Giving your team the responsibility of customer satisfaction without empowering them to fix their own mistakes is what leads to things being swept under the rug, and leaves little room for professional growth.

Have a crazy customer service story or helpful tip? Let us know about it!

 

Interested in giving your callers the customer service experience they deserve? Schedule a call with our Growth Solutions Strategist now and let us help you craft the perfect call experience for your callers.