“What Is A Virtual Receptionist?” And Other Frequently Asked Questions

What is a virtual receptionist? And other FAQs answered

If you’ve attempted Googling “What is a virtual receptionist?” at least once, this blog post is for you.

We’re sitting down and addressing some of the most Frequently Asked Questions regarding virtual receptionist services, what makes Back Office Betties different, and why your law firm might benefit from outsourcing your phone processes.

Okay, so what is a virtual receptionist?

Virtual Receptionist Service ≠ Answering Service

If you’ve asked anyone to explain exactly what a virtual receptionist service is before, they might have included the phrase “answering service” as a way to help you relate the answer to something you’re more familiar with.

But honestly, virtual receptionists are much more closely related to your in-house receptionist than they are an answering service, for one simple reason: Quality.

When you hear the phrase “answering service,” you probably let out an internal groan. Call centers with loud background noises, poor customer service, and limited capabilities might come to mind.

The same shouldn’t be true when you think of a virtual receptionist service.

Virtual Receptionists Prioritize Customer Service & Have More Capabilities Than An Answering Service

Your standard answering service typically answers the phone, takes a message, and moves on to the next caller. Occasionally it is a little more in-depth than that, but that’s the pretty standard practice.

A virtual receptionist service will use a custom greeting, capture all caller information, schedule appointments, answer frequently asked questions, accept payments, transfer calls to the client as needed, make outbound calls, and so much more.

Typically, the only thing your virtual receptionist can’t do that an in-house receptionist could is open the front door.

 

How Is Back Office Betties Different From Other Virtual Receptionist Services?

The short answer is: We specialize in serving solo attorneys and small law firms and we offer complete customization to fit each firm’s needs.

Okay, so what does that mean?

Many services have a pretty cut and dry approach to the way they handle all calls for every industry. Additionally, most virtual receptionist services will serve multiple industries, as opposed to focusing on a narrow niche. Sometimes this can amount to a less-than-personal experience for callers. It also leaves less room for expertise in any one industry. For example, a service that serves many industries may not be able to answer specific plumbing, construction, or, most importantly, legal-related questions because they’re not experts in any single industry.

Instead, Betties focuses solely on the legal industry so as to provide callers with answers to frequently asked questions, provide law firms with team members who are knowledgeable of the legal process, and a perfected call process that works best for the legal industry.

This leads to a better caller experience, a better experience for attorneys & their teams, and a better call experience for the receptionists. When everyone is happy, it’s a whole lot easier to sell consults and grow a law firm – who knew?!

Will A Virtual Receptionist Service Benefit My Law Firm?

If you find the right fit, a virtual receptionist service can absolutely benefit your law firm! Whether you need full-time phone coverage or simply backup vacation care, it can never hurt to have a professional ensuring that your callers never make it into your voicemail.

The keywords there are “the right fit,” as the wrong virtual receptionist service can end up costing you more time and money than you would like. Be sure to determine what is most important to you in hiring a service, whether it be cost, quality, speed of answering, customization of your call handling, or something else.

How Do You Get Started With A Virtual Receptionist Service?

Getting started with a virtual receptionist service is typically pretty straightforward. Some services will offer a free trial, others offer money-back guarantees. At Back Office Betties, we give you 30 days to decide if our service is the right fit for your law firm. If not, no problem! We’ll provide you with a full refund of your first invoice right then and there.

No matter the service you choose to work with, you’ll need to answer some basic questions about your firm. These typically will cover basics like your team and their names, contact information for call transfers, and can dive as deep as FAQs, call preferences, and intake questions to ask.

To determine the specific needs of your law firm, schedule a call today with our Growth Solutions Strategist.

Gifting as a Law Firm Marketing Strategy

This Is Why Gifting Might Not Be Working for You (And How to Do it Right)There’s a lot of talk about the psychology of gifting and how much of an impact it has on business relationships. But not just anything will do.

If you’re considering using gifting as a law firm marketing strategy, put on your business glasses and take a look through those lenses. You’ll need to optimize your gifts to make the best use of your money for the best return on investment.

 

Here are some things to consider:

If Your Logo Is On It, It’s Not a Gift

Attorneys Drinking Coffee

Gifts should never be billboards with bows on them. It might seem counterintuitive when looking at gifting from a marketing strategy point of view, but handing someone an ad for your business… that’s not a gift.

Logos have a time and place: promotional items. Promo items are all about you. Gifts are all about the recipient. So unless the recipient is you… don’t put your logo on it.

That being said, if you really want to, there are times when it might be appropriate to throw some swag in on the side. In those cases there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • The main gift should have a significantly higher value. Branded items should never be seen as if they were considered a part of the gift.
  • Use consumable items. Think notepads and pens. There is absolutely no person alive who wants a cutting board or pop socket (embarrassing) with your law firm’s name on it. This is true for all businesses, but 10x more so for law firms. (Your client doesn’t want to remember their divorce forever.)
  • Never throw branded items in with gifts given for more personal reasons. Example: Your favorite client’s birthday.

 

Gift Cards Are a Bad Idea

Gift cards from Attorneys

(In almost all cases.)

Gift cards are so easy. They require minimal effort and time. And you’re busy! You might need some convincing on this one, so here it goes:

  • They’re impersonal. The benefits of requiring minimal effort and time are also the downfalls.
  • They aren’t gifts. Gift cards essentially give the recipient permission to go out and get themselves their own gift.
  • They aren’t memorable. If you give someone who loves Starbucks a Starbucks gift card… the sentiment is there. But nothing about going to Starbucks is going to be memorable to someone who goes to Starbucks every day.
  • They aren’t always used. Check your wallet. Do you have a gift card in there you’ve forgotten? Maybe a half-used one? It’s so easy to slip a card in your wallet in the middle of a busy day and forget it’s there until you stumble upon it while searching for something else. At least maybe then they’d think about you again. (ha-ha)

 

Find Gift Ideas for Every Budget & Every Client

Attorney Budget

Considering the ethics of gifting as an attorney, it’s a good idea to draw up a policy for your firm to avoid complications.

Variation is necessary. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t recycle gift ideas (you should), but it does mean you should make choices based on individuals.

You have an edge here as an attorney. Working with your clients – often on very personal matters – you get a good idea of their lifestyle. Take advantage of this for your law firm marketing strategy.

Pay attention to their habits. If you have a client with a million notes for you every time you talk… a notebook would be a nice gift for them. A higher-end option would be something like reMarkable, a paper tablet. You know they’ll use it because you see them going through notebooks before your eyes.

In general, friendly conversation is your best bet for determining the ideal gift for most clients. (A little Facebook “research” couldn’t hurt either.)

 

Handle High-Quality Items Carefully to Avoid Mishaps

Attorney on the Phone

Remember: If you’re working with a chef, giving them a set of knives isn’t the best idea. They are almost certain to already have a better set of knives. Something like a personalized cutting board or serving tray is less likely to be outshined. Someone who’s just getting into cooking however… different story.

You want to impress clients with quality. But you don’t want to purchase mid to high-end items that they likely already have or have a better version of.

Another example: if you have a Rolex, you’re not likely to regularly set it aside for a lesser value watch just to mix it up. When it comes to items like these, if you can’t afford to give the best of the best (like most of us) or the value is too high for that case, just pick something else.

Don’t Be Basic on a Low Budget

Low Budget Gifts

Determine the % of the income from your client’s case you’re going to spend. Bigger cases should get more expensive gifts, but important clients with smaller cases can warrant going a bit over that %.

For the low-budget options, choosing something less mainstream is a solid choice.

An example: Maybe you want to give candles to your clients. You know they’re stressed and you’ve thought about them and how they’re feeling. Okay, great. Don’t buy a big name-brand candle. Consider finding something different from a local store in your area or a small handmade shop online.

Personalized Gifts Have the Biggest Impact

Gifting as a Law Firm Marketing Strategy

Personalized gifts are a great law firm marketing strategy. They show your clients that you went out of your way to get this gift for them. It’s not just something you have stacked in the back of your office to hand out. Your clients are sure to be excited when they see it.

How to personalize? Names are a safe bet. But it doesn’t have to be their name.

Do they have a family? Did they come to you to win custody of their kids? Consider water bottles or notebooks for school with their kid’s names on them. Are they an entrepreneur? Customize their gift with their brand’s logo.

Here’s what to keep in mind for personalized gifts:

  • Choose long-lasting items. Think glassware, cutting or cheese boards, picture frames, desktop infinity calendars, etc. You want your client to think of you every time they use that item. Gifts that last a long time have the best value.
  • Use quality customization. Etching, embossing, engraving, etc.
  • Make sure the item is something your client or their family will actually use. (What good is a gorgeous engraved cheeseboard that doesn’t leave the cupboard?)

 

There are plenty of customization companies to choose from. Everything Etched, for example, has a stellar reputation and a variety of products in different price ranges that are sure to impress.

 

Business to Business Gifting Is an Excellent Marketing Opportunity

Law Firm Marketing Strategy

Business to Business gifts can be tricky but garner high rewards. The best options will vary from company to company based on policies and cases.

The biggest advantage of gifting to businesses: More than one entity can be impressed with just one gesture.

Having multiple employees thinking highly of you keeps your name circulating. Not to mention, employees leave companies, start their own, get promoted to different branches, etc. That means that the next time they, their company, or their friends and family need an attorney… your name will be remembered.

  • Sometimes it will only be appropriate to gift your main contact throughout the case. Giving a gift to their assistant or receptionist who you’ve also communicated with is a fitting option in that situation.
  • In other cases, there will be multiple staff members you can gift. In those situations, customizing items with their company’s logo always impresses.

 

 . . .

To Wrap Up

(No pun intended)

Using gifting as a law firm marketing strategy isn’t as complicated once you know the best practices. Looking at it from a numbers and strategic viewpoint is crucial to see a return on investment. But that doesn’t mean that the human and empathetic factors need to be removed. At the end of the day, you’re considering your clients and what would make them happy during a stressful time.

Gifting is also a powerful customer service recovery tool.

 

Want some more ideas on how you can improve your law firm’s operations? Schedule a call with our Growth Solutions Strategist today.

 

 

Stop the Billable Hour Insanity

How Flat Fee Pricing for Attorneys Could Solve Your Problems

Are flat fee pricing models the future?

 

The most common pricing model among attorneys is charging by the hour.

This traditional method works well for many. However, people are starting to look for something different. And some law firms are there to give it to them.

As the ever-evolving market moves away from tradition, more and more attorneys are reconsidering their pricing model.

One of the most popular of those pricing models? Flat fees.

A flat fee is a predetermined, total fee that is paid upfront before work is started.

 

But is it right for your firm?

Pricing Model Considerations

Law Firm Administrative Work

Consider the following when looking at pricing models for your firm:

  • The experience for your clients
  • How your time will be spent
  • The effect on your sales and marketing

Your law firm is a business. Bringing in the most profit possible is a top priority.

But there are plenty of factors that play into that goal. No two law firms are the same. You need to know your clients, how you work best, the lifestyle you want, and the competition your firm faces.

Start by taking a look at the complications hitting your law firm the hardest. Then determine if a flat fee pricing model can solve them.

 

Charging by the Hour Can Be Suffocating

Attorney Cost

Constantly managing your life by the hour, to the fraction of the hour, is all-consuming. You’re always thinking about your work. How long did you spend on that case? And the other? Did you record it accurately?

If you didn’t, you could face the risk of legal malpractice for not keeping those records to the T.

Of course, you still need to keep track of your work with flat-rate pricing, but it doesn’t carry that same level of risk.

 

You’re In Control With Flat Fee Pricing

Attorneys

Flat fee pricing allows you to take control of your time. Work on cases the way you think is best.

Everyone has different work methods that suit them. This billing model gives you the opportunity to take advantage of that.

How flat fees give you control:

  • You won’t be constrained by time tracking
  • Your clients will pay upfront (No need to chase them down)
  • You can work your way – improve your own morale and efficiency
  • Work-life balance will be easier to achieve

 

Clients Have Trouble Managing Their Budget

Attorney and Client

And they don’t like it. No one does.

If you quote a potential client a $5,000 retainer fee and your hourly rate of $250, they hear numbers, but no price. They know they’ll lose $5,000 now, but they don’t know how much they’ll get back. If any. Or worse – whether they’ll owe more.

This leads to:

  • Stress and anxiety throughout the entire legal process
  • Wondering if you really need the amount of time you’re spending
  • Valuable trust being lost

Now, it’s not because they don’t trust you as an attorney or trust your ability to handle their case.

It’s because every hour you work on their case is another $250 gone. Your clients want you to spend time on their cases because they want the best possible outcome. But they can’t help but cringe every time their bill increases.

Additionally, your clients may feel pressured to rush through their interactions with you, which can leave them with unasked questions and uncertainties.

 

Flat Fee Pricing Gives Your Clients Financial Peace of Mind & Builds Trust

Attorney Handshake

The truth is that most people don’t know what they should be looking for in an attorney… so they shop around on price. (One reason why referrals are so valuable.)

Being able to quote potential clients one flat fee upfront gives them the peace of mind that they want. There’s a lot of value in knowing they won’t be hit with surprises, and in being able to accurately work you into their budget.

Flat fee pricing helps build trust between you and your clients as well. They know that you aren’t trying to squeeze the most money out of them that you can.

Flat fees prove to clients upfront that you care about them, not just their wallets.

 

Some Case Types Benefit More Than Others from Flat Fee Pricing

Attorney Laptop

Not every firm will be able to take advantage of flat fee pricing. Many case types are too complicated to assign one flat fee.

Litigation, for example, is difficult. Simply because you don’t know what could be coming around the corner. The other side could settle after the answer is filed, or they could file more motions. It’s hard to pick an average price that would work.

 

What works great with a flat fee pricing model?

Cases that are more transactional.

  • Estate planning
  • Contract reviews and drafting
  • DUI cases
  • Bankruptcy
  • Etc.

There isn’t as much variation with these types of cases, so it’s a lot easier to assign a price.

 

The Predictability of Flat Fee Pricing Can Help Scale Your Firm

Scale Your Law Firm Money

It’s hard to guess your future income when charging by the hour. Both the number of cases you’ll have and the time you’ll spend on them are unknown variables.

Flat fee pricing helps by taking away that second variable. You can have a much steadier idea of your potential income on a case-by-case basis.

Furthermore, it allows you to analyze and plan your budget more effectively. If you have your paralegal reviewing or drafting agreements before they land on your desk, you want to quantify that cost in relation to the case. It’s much easier to do that with real numbers vs a guess.

 

Flat Fee Pricing = Easier Sales

Attorney with Clients

Your clients aren’t really paying you for your time. They’re paying you for the value of the work you do for them on their case. The only reason they care how long it takes you is because how much they pay is dependent on it.

Most people don’t have experience searching for an attorney. And most people don’t have unlimited funds or the ability to not concern themselves with their final cost. For that reason, cost is usually a deciding factor in their selection.

With flat fee pricing, your firm has the advantage of being able to tell potential clients, “Here’s what you’ll pay. No surprises.”

. . .

 

There are plenty of attorneys who swear by flat fees. Megan Porth, Founder & Managing Attorney of Your Contract Shop, is one example.

It’s safe to say that people are interested in affordable, predictable, transparent, and accessible legal services. Nothing about that concept is novel. The market for this type of service is there.

Consider what you’re looking for in your firm and personal life. You do have options beyond typical hourly billing, and you can break out of that cycle!

 

Schedule a call with our Growth Solutions Strategist today to strategize more ways to improve your law firm’s operations and your work-life balance.

3+ Things To Start Doing Now That Will Make Your Law Firm More Money

How to Make Lots of Money as an Attorney“How can I make lots of money as an attorney?”

Even if it was back in law school, you’ve probably googled this before.

 

And if you’re running a solo or small law firm, you know the frustration of trying to fulfill your dream of having your own thriving, profitable firm. And you know how difficult it is to watch it not happening.

If you want to make lots of money as an attorney, you need to stop seeing yourself as an attorney. Well, as just an attorney. You’re practicing the law, but you’re also shouldering all the responsibilities of a business.

 

And those responsibilities aren’t just taxes, payroll, and administrative work. A thriving, profitable business requires strategizing, evaluating, and of course, knowing:

  • The way your clients think and how to use that information to land more leads
  • How and where to spend your money to bring in the most profit
  • The most effective ways to make time for billable work and additional clients to grow your firm

 

So, here’s how you really can make lots of money as an attorney:

1. Capture All Potential Income by Capturing Every Potential Client

Make Lots of Money as an Attorney

Sounds like a no-brainer.

But so many law firms are still missing out on potential new clients – and they don’t need to be. Here are some of the ways you could be too:

  • You’re missing their calls (80% of callers won’t leave a voicemail)
  • You aren’t collecting their information in full
  • Your firm doesn’t have sales scripting in place to sell your services
  • You’re not using a Call Flow Blueprint
  • You’re wasting time on people you can’t help
  • You can’t take every potential client because you don’t have the time

 

Make Sure Your Firm Answers Every Call – The Right Way

  • That call you missed on your lunch break? Could have been your biggest client this year.
  • The caller whose phone number your receptionist forgot to take down? They’re probably not going to call back on their own.
  • That caller who declined to schedule due to your consultation fee? Maybe you could have sold it to them with the right scripting.

 

Every call has the potential to grow your law firm and make you more money. Bringing in more clients is the way your law firm will grow. So never undermine the importance of a single potential new client on the line.

 

“It’s fine, it was just one call.” – Small law firm attorney struggling to grow.

 

Impress Your Potential Clients on Their First Call to Establish Your Firm as the Best Choice

Leave your callers with a positive, professional, and capable impression of your law firm – immediately on that initial call.

Your potential clients have a list of attorneys that they’re calling through. Realistically, that first call will be their only call if your firm doesn’t stand out amongst the rest (or pick up the phone). That means your customer service doesn’t need to be adequate. Or without mistakes. It means your customer service needs to be above and beyond that of the competition.

 

Want some more help answering your phones? The Guide to 10+ Best Ways to Answer Your Law Firm’s Phones

 

Hook the People You Can Help, And Don’t Waste Time on the People You Can’t

How? By completing intakes on that first call. Every time.

Completing intakes on the first call:

  • Filters out callers you can’t help
  • Hooks the callers you can help
  • Collects the information you need to track the types of callers you get

 

Time is money. And as an attorney, your time is big money. If you’re looking to scale your law firm, you can’t waste your valuable time on (likely free) consultations for potential clients you that won’t be able to help.

When your potential clients get to your firm in their list of attorneys to call, you want to do everything in your power to make sure that the rest of that list gets scrapped. Scheduling a consultation alone won’t do that. If you aren’t the first consultation they have scheduled, you’re in a tight spot.

Make your potential clients feel like they are already your clients by completing their intakes on the first call. This makes them feel like they’ve begun their legal process, with you.

 

But What If…

You don’t have time to complete intakes on the spot for every potential client that calls in?

Or convince callers that your fees are well worth it?

Or catch every call?

 

We’ll get to that later.

For now, you need to bring in more leads:

2. Get More Reliable Leads by Starting a Client Referral Program

Attorney Handshake

Referrals are highly likely clients. And they’re easy sells.

Clio’s 2019 Legal Trends Report found that only 16% of clients seek a referral and search on their own for an attorney. That means 73% of clients who seek referrals, are choosing them.

 

How Clients Shop for a Lawyer

Source: Clio’s 2019 Legal Trends Report

 

That’s a crazy big percentage. But why?

Many of your potential clients have never needed an attorney before. (It’s even more likely that they’ve never experienced their particular case type.) For most people, finding an attorney is:

  • Intimidating
  • Complex
  • Stressful
  • High stakes

 

Don’t forget, while this will be a business deal for you, your potential clients could have their entire family, business, or reputation on the line. They can’t afford to make a mistake by selecting the wrong attorney. Choosing an attorney who was referred to them by their trusted friends or family is often the most comfortable choice that a nervous new client can make.

 

Set Up a Referral Program for Your Firm That Brings in Low Effort Leads

Here is a step-by-step guide for setting up a law firm referral program that actually lands more clients: Your Law Firm Is Missing Out on Easy Money (The Guide to Getting More Referrals).

But these are the basic steps you need to follow:

  • Develop an enticing offer
  • Entice your clients (Make sure the news reaches them)
  • Meticulously track your referrals
  • Follow up – The right way

 

Your firm is, in all likelihood, already relying on referrals in some capacity. And you know that referrals are an easy sell.

Your firm should be doing everything feasible to increase your referrals from current and previous clients.

 

However, no matter how good your referral program is, your clients will not refer you to their friends and family if they had a negative experience with your firm. Here’s how to avoid that:

3. Improve Your Law Firm’s Reputation by Communicating Effectively with Your Clients

Attorneys

Here’s a secret most people won’t tell you: Good communication is the secret sauce for law firm customer service and client experience that leads to positive reviews and more referrals.

 

Not only is failure to communicate a top bar complaint, it’s a top complaint everywhere.

Take a look through the reviews for some of your competition. You’ll notice communication (or lack thereof) coming up time and time again. And don’t overlook the power of reviews for attorneys.

 

View Situations From Your Client’s Perspective to Know What They Want

You’re working around the clock on cases. And sure, you might get emotionally involved in some of those cases. But you’re not sitting around by the phone waiting to hear what’s happening with one specific case that could change the course of your life.

Your clients are.

It’s easy to lose perspective, or just lose track of how long it’s been since you’ve spoken with a client. You know you’re working on their case doing everything you can for them. You know the law and you’re practicing it.

But remember, if you want to make lots of money as an attorney, you can’t forget that your law firm is a business. And you need to treat it that way.

 

Understand That Your Clients Need to Hear From You, No Matter What

Do your clients constantly call you or your office just asking for updates on their case? That’s a bad sign.

That client is anxious and on edge wondering when they’ll hear from you and wondering what’s happening with their case. Quite frankly, if you haven’t reached out to them, there probably isn’t anything going on with their case. And no news to share with them. But for your clients, “no news” is news:

  • I’m still working on paperwork
  • We haven’t heard back from the opposing party
  • Etc.

Even a simple, “No news yet” works for an update.

 

Set Communication Expectations to Reduce Your Clients’ Stress.

Make it clear when your clients will hear from you. And follow through.

There are a few ways to do this.

  • Set a regular check-in schedule. An example would be: You’ll reach out to your client every Friday to update them regardless of any activity with their case.
  • Set individual schedules for clients based on the unique dynamics of their cases.

 

Regular check-ins are easy to delegate to your receptionist. Instead of emailing or calling clients every week yourself, have your receptionist send and make emails and calls for your clients when you don’t have updates.

For many cases, you’ll want to reach out to your client when you have an update even it’s before your scheduled time. Whatever you choose to do, make sure your clients know when they will hear from you. And always follow through.

 

4. Save & Make Money by Outsourcing or Delegating Your Administrative Work

Law Firm Administrative Work

This is one of those “Spend money to make money” situations.

  • Completing intakes?
  • Answering phones?
  • Scheduling appointments?
  • Answering FAQ’s?
  • Processing payments?
  • Providing directions to your office?
  • Adding leads to your CRM?
  • Making outbound calls?

 

All of these are:

  • Not billable work
  • Time-consuming
  • Unpredictable
  • Not worth your time

 

The reality is, you should have pretty much anyone else doing this type of administrative work. Any professional, that is. (Not your well-meaning spouse.)

Any time you spend on administrative work is time you can’t spend on billable work.

And if you want to make lots of money as an attorney… you need to be doing more billable work.

 

The only question you need to ask is:

“Who do I outsource my administrative work to?”

And you have options. No one solution can claim to be the best solution for every firm.

  • You could hire an in-house receptionist
  • Delegate work to your paralegal
  • Or outsource to a virtual receptionist company

 

Virtual Receptionists

Your best bet is likely a legal specialized virtual receptionist service like Back Office Betties. This is because legal virtual receptionists can handle your administrative work for you at a fraction of the cost of your other options. Without slashing the quality of service or missing the legal expertise that you need.

Back Office Betties hires receptionists with experience in the legal industry and provides ongoing legal, sales, and customer service training for all staff.

All of Betties’ receptionists complete custom training courses for each and every firm we work with, to ensure the same level of familiarity as someone sitting at your front desk.

 

In-House Receptionist

An experienced in-house legal receptionist will be able to provide a great level of customer service and handle your administrative work flawlessly as well. The biggest difference is: value.

The average cost of an in-house receptionist is $4,123.60/month. (For reference, Back Office Betties’ plans range from $309 – $1,699/month.)

Unfortunately, in-house receptionists take lunch and bathroom breaks, step away from the phone, and call in sick. And that’s more than reasonable behavior. But remember, every missed call is a potential client lost.

If you want to make a lot of money as an attorney… Start seeing dollar signs every time the phone rings.

 

Already have an in-house receptionist that you can’t live without?

Consider a virtual receptionist service to back up your phones when they aren’t available.

 

Paralegal

The major downside of delegating administrative work to your paralegal is that they have the ability to take significantly more substantial work off of your plate. Leaving you with even more time to spend on billable work. Not to mention, your paralegal is a pretty expensive receptionist.

 

But again, anything is better than doing it yourself.

 

. . .

The biggest roadblocks small and solo attorneys face while struggling to grow their firm are landing clients and not having enough time to do billable work.

If you want to make lots of money as an attorney, you need more clients. And you can’t take on more clients if you don’t have the time to work on their cases.

 

Schedule a call with our Growth Solutions Strategist today to strategize the best steps for your firm to start landing more clients and making more money.

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 Your 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.