The Right Way to Answer Your Law Firm’s Phones

The Right Way to Answer Your Law Firm's Phone | Back Office Betties

Are you still answering your law firm’s phone with, “Law Office”? If so, we are begging you to stop! Seriously, we’re on our hands and knees over here.

Aside from not answering at all, answering the phone with “Law Office” is one of the most common mistakes we see in the handling of law firm phones.

You’re giving yourself an opportunity to be forgotten. As potential clients move down their list of law firms that might be able to help them, at least 25% of those firms will answer the phone the same exact way. This can lead to confusion and your potential client forgetting who they just spoke with. You don’t want your firm to be forgotten in a sea of law firms, right?

Now that we’re clear about what not to do, let’s talk about why and how to answer the phone in a better way.

Establish A Relationship Right Away

An important part of the client/attorney relationship is a feeling of trust and mutual respect. Whether you realize it or not, that relationship starts as soon as someone picks up the phone for your law firm! We all know that first impressions matter, and that first phone call is your chance to give a killer first impression. Don’t blow it with poor customer service, answering with a generic greeting, or by missing the call altogether.

Start your client relationships off on the right foor by answering the phone with a greeting that is friendly and announces the name of your law firm. Immediately, your client knows they reached who they intended and the call starts off with some positivity. It also helps to mention your own name so that the potential client knows who they spoke with should they need to reference it later.

Small talk is okay, but try to get straight to the point of what the caller’s needs are. Be friendly and upbeat while keeping them focused on their needs so you can understand exactly what they need help with. This avoids wasting anyone’s time and gets the potential client the help they need sooner rather than later.

Collect Your Law Firm’s Callers’ Information

Nearly nine times out of ten, law firms fail to collect full contact information from their callers. This is alarming; those callers are your leads! Leads turn into clients – don’t let them walk away.

Every call that ends without collecting information from your caller is money out the window. You are now at their will and can’t follow up to sell your legal services to them.

Not to mention, if they call back, you have no record of what happened during that initial call. Did they explain their case? Ask a question about pricing? Neglecting to record that information can cause your firm to look unprofessional and disorganized, or can frustrate your caller because they are now repeating theirself. Making this mistake has great power to turn potential clients off of your firm.

Instead of leaving your business to chance, set up an intake process that you go through for every caller. The information collected can differ between types of calls, but it’s important to set up a process for every call you may get. Document this process so that anyone who may answer the phone understands their responsibility when taking a call.

Ensure The Phone Is Always Answered

74% of potential clients contact law firms by phone but more than one third of those calls go unanswered. Partner that with the statistic that 80% of callers whose call is unanswered will not leave a message, as well as the fact that potential clients wait 3 business days on average for a response, and you’ve got lost business adding up!

The best way to capture all the business that comes your way is to always answer the phone. We understand that this isn’t possible for a busy solo attorney managing their own phones because of things like court, client appointments, and consultations. However, those reasons exemplify the necessity of dedicating someone else to your phones. Interruptions and cost/benefit aside, outsourcing your phone management is pertinent to capturing every caller and converting more callers into clients when you’re too busy too answer.

Hiring an in-house receptionist is expensive and bouncing calls between attorneys eats up valuable time that could be spent on cases. Instead, consider hiring an answering service to provide your callers with a better experience and gather all of the information you need from each potential client.

BONUS: A Few Of Our Favorite Law Firm Phone Greetings

If you need some inspiration on ways to cheerfully introduce your law firm on the phone, we’ve got you covered! Check out some of the below examples of great greetings when answering the phone.

  • “Good (Morning/Afternoon), thank you for calling (Law Firm Name). How may I direct your call?”
  • “Hello, you’ve reached (Law Firm Name). How can we help you today?”
  • “Thank you for calling (Law Firm Name). My name is _____, how may I help you?”
  • “Happy (Day of the Week)! You’ve reached (Law Firm Name). Who do I have the pleasure of speaking with?”
  • “Thank you for calling (Law Firm Name). Are you calling with a new legal matter we can help you with?”

 

Hiring Your Dream Law Firm Employees

Back Office Betties Hiring Dream Law Firm Employees

Hiring your dream law firm employees doesn’t have to be as hard as you make it. At Betties, we are hiring experts to ensure that our receptionist team meets and exceeds the standards of legal receptionists and answering services. We take pride in finding highly-skilled legal virtual receptionists so that you can count on incredible service without the headache of hiring. Let us guide you through exactly how to find your dream team!

Determine the Role They Will Play

What do you need help with in your law firm? Do you already have a position created or do you need to come up with a title and responsibilities for this new team member?

If the position already exists, why are you having trouble filling it? You may need to reevaluate the responsibilities, prerequisites, and compensation. Take as much feedback as you can from past employees in that role and tweak the position to be more enticing to your dream employee.

When creating a position from scratch, it’s important to research what someone in their role actually does. You might have an idea of what you need, but that might require more than one person joining your team. You don’t want to push away potential dream candidates by overwhelming them with an insane responsibility list that should actually be split into two positions.

For example, Marketing and IT are two completely different roles with different skillsets. Both roles require extensive knowledge and years of skill to be done properly. Just because their skillsets might overlap a little bit does not mean you can use one person to fill both positions. At least, not without ample compensation, that is.

What Personality Type Is Your Dream Law Firm Employee?

Have you ever considered how your personality type affects how you do your job? Different personalities excel in different areas, so it makes sense that your personality type affects your job. For example, if you are an introvert, it could get exhausting to talk to people all day long for your job. If you’re someone who is a visionary with a passion for coming up with big ideas, you might hate to sit down and do simple, repetitive tasks all day.

After you know what duties and responsibilities you are looking for someone to cover, it’s time to think about what type of personality that job is good for. Here at Back Office Betties, we utilize Culture Index to help us determine this. This service analyzes data on work-related personality traits to help determine exactly what traits fit for your current positions within the company, as well as data taken from questionnaires given to applicants. When you compare the traits your applicant possesses to the traits you’re looking for for a specific position, you can better predict an applicant’s success in the role.

To utilize a service like this, you simply include a questionnaire in the application process. There are no right or wrong answers and there’s no way to fail – the data simply provides you with the ability to predict how this person would fit in the role.

Why Should They Work For You?

So you know who your dream employee is and what you want them to do for you, but why should they work for you? What makes you more appealing than the other guys who also want to hire this same person?

It starts with the ad you place for the position you’re looking to hire. Make sure that your listing is concise, friendly, and appealing to someone who may be casually looking for a job. Your dream employee is likely not desperate for a job – you might have to really woo them!

Is the listing well written? Do you give an accurate description of the responsibilities of the role you’re trying to fill? Is the list of responsibilities overwhelming or does it fall within the parameters of the same role in other companies? Does the compensation fall in line with competitive rates for similar roles?

Once they’ve applied, you want to ensure that your hiring process is streamlined and not all over the place. Your dream employee wants to know that you have your stuff together.  Provide your applicants with a clear timeline of what to expect during the interview and hiring process. This shows them that you are just as serious about this job as they are (and your dream employee will be serious!). Pro tip: Don’t drag interviews out for 6 months unless that timeline was laid out in the first step of the hiring process.

After you’ve proven that your organization has itself together, your dream employee will need to be enticed by the position itself, the work environment, and the culture of your workplace. Are you positioning your law firm to best attract the quality of people you hope to hire?

What Benefits Do You Bring To The Table?

If your culture fits, the pay and position are right, and your hiring process is aligned, why are you still struggling to hire your dream law firm employees? Well, the answer might be that your benefits don’t compare to the competition.

Benefits packages are a great way to make happier employees and entice applicants to apply to work at your law firm. Do your benefits make life easier for your employees? Do they make your team happy? Are they useful?

When it comes to benefits and perks, get creative. Be sure to offer the standards, of course. Health insurance is usually expected, as well as paid time off. But benefits don’t have to all be pricey or over the top.

Think about fun things that others aren’t offering. If your team works in an office, add some free snacks and coffee to the mix. Create fun traditions that make the office environment enjoyable, such as special games you play during meetings or host monthly staff lunches. Maybe your team has a midday dance break where they can let loose, or perhaps your working hours are flexible and you don’t actually track anyone’s time in the office.

There’s no limit to the perks you can offer in your law firm. And the more perks you offer (that people actually care about), the more enticing it is for someone to work for you over the law firm without the fun perks.

Retaining Your Dream Law Firm Employees

Alright, you’ve found and hired your dream law firm employee – how do you make sure they stay? Just because they’ve accepted your offer doesn’t mean your new employee is going to work out. It’s important to continue to woo them even during training and employment. And above all else, deliver on everything you’ve promised them!

First, take a look at their initial impression after starting with you. Is your law firm’s onboarding and training process thorough? Is it fun and engaging? Does it flow easily, in a way that doesn’t overwhelm? Do you provide enough time to go through all of the material? Setting your new hire up for success right off the bat is one of the best ways to impress them.

Finally, your culture: Does yours match what you promised? A disappointed new hire isn’t going to stick around for long. Don’t overpromise what your company has to offer and how things operate if you can’t deliver. This is true for even the most minute things – if you mentioned it in the hiring process, make sure it’s true!

 

Hopefully this helps you to discover who your dream employee is, as well as hire and retain them. We’d love to hear if any of these tips have helped you!

If you’re in the market for a receptionist and the hiring process is overwhelming to you, hand it off to us and allow the Betties team to become an extension of your firm with a one-week free trial.

Incentives That Will Improve Law Firm Employee Happiness & Loyalty

Incentives for Employee HappinessEmployee happiness is an often overlooked stat in business. I understand how it happens; you’ve got a lot going on and the last thing on your mind is worrying about the mental health of those working in your office. It can be easy to ignore… until your employees up and quit, that is.

Employee happiness is directly linked to productivity, creativity, and positive attitude. It is also linked to the longevity of employment and increases loyalty to your company.

So, how can you make your employees happier? Spoiler: You don’t need to give everyone a raise. Implementing creative and useful benefits and incentives is enough to help your staff feel valued. Keep in mind that the most beneficial incentives are going to be those that encourage work-life balance and negate burnout.

Elaborate Benefits Other Companies Are Offering

Vault curated a list of benefits other law firms offer to members of their law firms and I want to share a few of my favorites.

  • Daycare exclusively for children of firm employees that operates on the same schedule as the law firm
  • Quarterly massage budget
  • All expenses paid annual one-week trip to Hawaii
  • Global soccer tournament with paid travel to different fun locations to play
  • On-site gym with a personal trainer available for once-weekly sessions

Now, those benefits are all dreamy but most of us aren’t quite in a place in business to offer such elaborate perks just yet. What can we do on a tighter budget?

Benefits That Won’t Break The Bank

There are plenty of ways to show your appreciation for your employees without emptying your pockets. Here are a few that really stuck with me as impactful.

  • A cereal bar – this one is quirky, fun, and filling
  • Breast milk delivery program for traveling moms
  • Extended parental leave for all parents, including adoptive & surrogate
  • Flexible work hours – Netflix doesn’t track vacation time or working hours, they track the actual work completed
  • More vacation time

These are all pretty simple examples but they greatly improve the balance between work and family, which is shown to improve the quality of work produced. It’s important to note, too, that if you notice a benefit is not being utilized, you can switch it up! There’s no need to waste money if the benefit isn’t one that your team finds valuable. Survey your employees about what they would rather see and work to implement those instead.

How Back Office Betties Got Creative With Benefits

You don’t have to stick to the same benefits that everyone else is offering. In fact, I highly recommend that you don’t do that! Sure, there may be some things that would be viewed as standard. But offering additional unique ( & useful) benefits helps to make you stand out as an employer and further encourages employee happiness and loyalty in your team. At Back Office Betties, we have implemented some perks and incentives that our team loves and utilizes.

  • Dream Program – Every employee fills out a wishlist of their dreams and we grant wishes based on performance, thus connecting personal goals to their day-to-day work
  • Working From Home – Every Bettie works in the comfort of their home. We provide their equipment and encourage participation in our Betties community through chat and virtual events so that each employee gets the best of both (working) worlds!
  • Home Buyers Program – Two Betties per year qualify for assistance with a down payment on a new home
  • Wellness Days – Twice per year, Betties are offered paid time off to get pampered on Back Office Betties’ dime
  • Annual Growth Budget – Each Bettie is given a budget to spend on learning and growth, however they see fit
  • 2 + 3 = 5 Year Anniversary Program – Upon their fifth Bettie-versary, employees get 2 weeks consecutive paid time off + $3000 to take a vacation and treat themselves for their loyalty and hard work

 

These are just a few examples of ways to boost your employees’ happiness, but don’t let these suggestions limit you! Benefits aren’t the only way to boost morale. I recommend asking your team what would make them happier, and follow up with action based on their suggestions. Utilize an employee happiness survey like OfficeVibe and also track productivity, then see how the two compare!

Inspiring Teamwork in Your Law Firm

Teamwork in your law firm

It’s no secret that current events throughout the world are causing more division than ever and you may be noticing some of that enter the workplace. Opinions differ on social and health issues, politics creep into everyday conversations, and relationships are being taxed. Not to mention that teams that are used to working closely are now being distanced and working from home. It is more important now than ever to instill an environment within your law firm that encourages teamwork and nourishes the relationships within your office.

The Key Elements to Inspire Teamwork

  1. Leadership
  2. Daily Huddle
  3. Open Dialogue
  4. Goals
  5. Benefits
  6. Team Building Exercises

Leadership

Teamwork starts at the top. Without a clear leader, there cannot be effective teamwork. Someone needs to guide the team, set expectations, and encourage the direction of the conversations into productive avenues.

When there is no leader, two things can happen. More than one person fighting for control can quickly become volatile, and on the other end of the spectrum,  nobody leading the team can cause for a lackluster collaboration with no direction. In either scenario, effective teamwork is not the end result. Avoid this by designating a leader who can help to guide collaborations in a way that stays on topic and productive.

Daily Huddle

Meeting daily as a team does a couple of things for teamwork. First, it fosters the bond necessary to trust others in a collaboration. Second, it allows for continued updates on current projects and allows additional input on the progress being made. These daily huddles should not be long, nor should they be without direction. Set the expectation on how each meeting will go and what each team member should come prepared with to ensure that they don’t become unproductive time-sucks.

At Back Office Betties, we keep our daily huddle short and sweet. Each member of the team gets 3 minutes to speak and we have a defined process we work through each day, including a time to bring up any important topics that are needing collaboration. The leader of the meeting has the power to say whether a topic is pertinent to the entire team or if it should be discussed outside of the daily huddle. This helps to keep the meeting focused on topics that are pertinent to the entire team and avoid wasting anyone’s time.

Open Dialogue

Everyone should have a voice when you’re trying to instill an environment that fosters teamwork. There should not be any fear to speak up and every member of the team should have the chance to feel heard.

This means that the leader of the team needs to be receptive to communication and help to encourage members of the team to speak up. If you’re finding that your staff consistently apologize for asking you questions or bringing things to your attention, it might be that they feel that you are not as open for communication as you hope to be.

Let your team know that you are open to talk and they can come to you any time they need, then watch as your team’s collaboration efforts expand.

Goals

Every team needs goals to work towards for efficient collaboration. This is one of the first places to start with teamwork – what goals does the team want to work towards together? Whether that be an improvement of service, creation of a new process, or a way to improve on a current process – set the goal together, and then work towards reaching it as a team.

Benefits

What’s in it for your team when they work together? You might say, “well, they’re helping the company!” But is someone who may be lower on the totem pole really affected enough by the stats in the company to care? What might cause them to want to add to their plate and throw in with the team when they could just keep to themself? How many ideas are sitting out there in an intern’s head because they don’t feel important enough to speak up?

Offering a reward or praise for a job well done goes far to support your team in ways that make them feel appreciated and encouraged to continue working together and finding solutions to problems.

At Back Office Betties, we grant wishes when a member of the team excels or goes above and beyond in their job. Each team member has a wish list of things they want, ranging from Starbucks gift cards to the hot new makeup palette. When management feels that that team member deserves a granted wish, they pick something off of the list and sends it to the team member as a way to thank them for their hard work. This instills a feeling of appreciation and encourages that extra effort when working together as a team to be innovative or solve a problem.

We also regularly shout out our team members for work well-done and push the rest of the team to show their appreciation for their coworkers. Not only are they being acknowledged and encouraged, but their teammates are encouraged to step it up too.

Team Building Exercises

Team building helps foster better communication between team members and also reveals unknown skills and talents that might not be pertinent to a person’s specific job. Building those connections helps when collaborating, as the person you might not think to ask first for help may actually have a background in exactly what you’re struggling with. Or perhaps you discover that a coworker in another department has a thinking style that compliments your own, revealing that you are perfect brainstorming partners.

Team building also helps to keep your team engaged and ready to work. When being around your coworkers is fun and engaging, the conversation flows more easily and brainstorming can happen naturally.

Even though the team at Back Office Betties works in 3 different states and we all work from home, we do annual team building events in each state. We also do monthly video meetings that help us to feel connected to the team members that we aren’t physically close to.

 

Hopefully some of these tips help you to bring your team closer together. If you’re ready to expand your law firm’s team and add a dedicated team of virtual receptionists to your firm, sign up for one week free.

Perfect Your Phone Call Process in 5 Easy Steps

Perfect your phone call process in 5 easy stepsAnswering the phone when it rings. Easy as pie, right? Not necessarily! The way that you answer your phone (and actually ensuring that someone always does) can make or break you when it comes to landing clients. When potential clients are calling a law firm, they are likely running down a list, trying to find anyone who can help them. Attorneys are not scarce and it’s important to stand out by way of communication and customer service. Once you’ve missed their call, it’s likely that you’ve missed their business altogether.

That is Why You Need to Perfect Your Phone Call Process

We harp on this all of the time because it’s that big of a deal. 80% of callers refuse to leave a message. If you only answer half of your phone calls, 40% of your total callers will have moved on and you’ll never hear from them again! Perfect your phone call process so that calls aren’t missed and callers are wowed from the moment they speak to someone representing your law firm.

Determine what times someone is available to answer the phone

When is someone staffing the phone? Do you have a dedicated receptionist? Or do phone calls fall to the attorneys? (Psst, that is a whole other problem!) Determine the hours of the day that every single call will be answered, regardless of meetings or lunch breaks or court dates. Ensure that these hours are regular so that you are not missing any opportunities and set up a proper voicemail box for those after-hours calls that may come through.

Determine what happens when someone can not answer the phone

What happens if the phone rings while your receptionist is in the restroom or out to lunch? If you answer your own phones, who answers while you’re in court? Set up a fall back so that if for some reason the dedicated phone answerer can’t get to a call, it still gets answered.

If there is too much time that the phone is not being answered, an answering service is a great backup. You can adjust your call forwarding to only apply during certain times, covering the phones when you are unable.

Craft a friendly greeting

This is vital to standing out while a potential new client is running through a list of attorneys! Do not answer your phone with “Hello?” or “Law Office”. Make yourself stand out by crafting a friendly and personalized greeting. Something simple and easy to say that states who the caller is reaching and quickly gets to the point for their call. eg. “Good morning! Thank you for calling the law office of Richie Rich. Are you calling about a new legal matter?”

WOW-ing your caller from the start is an easy way to ensure that yours is the law firm they want to hire.

Determine a process for call transfers

If someone else is answering your calls, when should a call be transferred to you versus a message taken? Draft an outline of the calls that are important to transfer and the calls that are not, then ensure that everyone who may answer the phone understands the process. This is also a great time to outline what you want to happen with solicitor calls and how you want to handle new client intakes. Should your receptionist be asking the intake questions or do you prefer to do that yourself? Do you want them to take a message for solicitors or let them know you aren’t interested off the bat? Add it to your outline!

Create a list of client intake questions to be asked every time

Consistency is really important to successful outcomes and communication with your clients. Ask every client a full list of intake questions that help you best attend to their needs, every time. The easiest way to form this list is to determine everything you need to know before you can take any action on their case. Then, use that list to create an accessible form that your receptionist can input the information as she goes. Finally, connect that form to your CRM so you have everything in one place.

Possibly even more important than actually asking the questions, ensure that every answer is clarified. Their name should be spelled correctly and all details double-checked to be sure nothing falls through the cracks.

 

Once you’ve done all of the above, your phone call process will be set up for success! Bye-bye phone stress and hello new clients.

If this sounds like too much work to you, give us a call at (800) 958-8591 and we will work to create the perfect phone call process for your law firm.

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

Automate your law firm while working from home

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

Why You Should Automate Your Law Firm

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

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

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

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

How Automation Will Help You to Work From Home

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

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

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

What You Can Automate in Your Law Firm

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

Client Management

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

Invoicing

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

Scheduling

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

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

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

Phone Calls

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

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

Email

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

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

Social Media Posting

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

Marketing

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

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

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

Relish in Your Newfound Time

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

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

Transitioning Your Law Firm to Work From Home

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

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

The Basics of Working From Home

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

  • Have a Dedicated Workspace

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

  • Decorate Your Workspace

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

  • Get Ready Every Morning

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

  • Set Boundaries With Your Family

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

  • Schedule Breaks

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

  • Dabble in Time Blocking

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

  • Create a Work Playlist

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

  • Turn Your Cell Phone Upside Down

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

Transitioning Your Law Firm to Work From Home

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

First Steps

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

Get to Work

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

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

Managing Your Law Firm in a Pandemic

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

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

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

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

Support Your Clients Through This Difficult Period

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

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

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

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

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

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

Get Ahold of Your Financials

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

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

Support Your Vendors and Services

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

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

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

 

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

How to Capture More Clients With a Better Intake Process

We want to take a moment to introduce Kat, co-founder of one of our new favorite web calendars, CozyCal. Kat understands the need for efficiency and customer service for a successful business and shares some great tips in this article for boosting both in your firm. In the case of current worldly events, this is proving to be more important than ever!

We all understand that delivering great customer experience is important for businesses to attract leads and build a client base. However, based on Clio’s 2019 Legal Trends Report, even before being faced with the Coronavirus pandemic, attorneys fall short in delivering quality communications to clients. In a study done with 1,000 law firms, a majority of law firms suffer from poor email and voicemail response. Even though law firms are better at answering phone calls, they rarely return calls. And when they do get time to follow up, they don’t provide enough information over the phone.

Clio Legal Trend Report

Source: Legal Trend Report By Clio, 2019

It is alarming that in Clio’s report, among surveyed clients who have contacted a lawyer, 64% mentioned that the law firm they didn’t end up hiring failed to respond to their phone or email. Clients have low expectations for law firms in general. This finding presents a gap between clients’ expectations and what law firms think they can deliver. When firms are delivering substandard customer experience, they risk turning prospective clients away.

But the finding also presents an opportunity for you to work on making your intake process better. If you can run a streamlined client intake process that beats clients’ expectations, your chance of getting hired is much higher than competing firms. So how can you improve your client intake process? There are two solutions that you can try.

1. Hiring a virtual legal receptionist

If you are a solo-attorney or runs a small law firm, answering phone calls during work hours can interrupt your workflow. When you are unable to respond to qualified leads’ voicemails or follow up afterward, you are losing opportunities to acquire clients for your practice.

Hiring an in-house legal receptionist seems to be the most obvious solution. But the cost can be expensive. On average, a full-time legal receptionist’s annual salary is approximately $46,360 USD. When you take into account ancillary benefits such as health insurance and paid vacation, the cost can add up quickly. Moreover, there is the opportunity cost in hiring, training and managing a receptionist. The more time spent on doing these administrative tasks, the less time you have to focus on client work.

An alternative solution is to hire a virtual legal receptionist. This solution offers several key benefits that might make it a more suitable choice for you.

  • Cheaper pricing: Many legal virtual receptionist firms offer tiered pricing plans that satisfy the needs of law firms of different sizes. Back Office Betties is a boutique legal virtual receptionist firm whose plans range from Bronze ($299/month, 100 minutes) to Platinum ($1,599/month, unlimited minutes). If you go over the plan’s limit in call minutes, they simply charge by the minute for as low as $2.59 per minute. If you do the math, the cost of a virtual legal receptionist is much lower than an in-house receptionist. In addition, the monthly subscription-based payment model gives you the flexibility to change your plan easily so you are not locked in with a fixed cost.
  • More Responsive: Legal virtual receptionists provide much better flexibility in responding to calls. Even if lead calls are coming in outside of office hours, they can be taken care of by the virtual receptionists. While some virtual receptionists can take incoming calls after business hours, some can even stand by 24/7 to make sure no calls are ever missed.
  • Legal expertise: Unlike generic virtual receptionists, virtual legal receptionists are trained to understand legal terminology, process, and software. For example, Back Office Betties has their own training program “Betties Legal Academy” that equips receptionists with an essential foundation to communicate with clients professionally. Delivering quality experience to your leads is more likely to win them over for your business.Back Office Betties Pricing and PlansLegal virtual receptionists like Back Office Betties offers flexible and cost-efficient pricing plans to accommodate law firms with varied needs

2. Installing a scheduling tool on your website

Another alternative solution to improve your firm’s onboarding customer experience is installing a scheduling tool on your website. Nearly 40% of all small law firms don’t have websites. And of those firms that have websites, 70% do not have a call to action item on their homepage. As more people are finding information online, it is important for you to make it accessible and easy for leads to reach out to you.

An easy-to-use and reliable scheduling tool like CozyCal allows you to automate your firm’s intake process so you can capture quality leads anytime and anywhere. By automating scheduling, you can reduce the risk of no-shows, customize your intake process and save a great amount of time in the long run.

CozyCal Intake Form Example

By installing a scheduling tool like CozyCal, you can automate scheduling and capture leads around the clock.

  • Capture leads right on your firm’s website: You can create a customized and professional booking experience to capture potential clients. When you deliver an easy-to-use intake process that meets potential leads’ expectations, you are more likely to retain them as your clients. Qualified leads can view your pre-set availabilities with one simple click to schedule free consultation sessions right away. This eliminates the painful back-and-forth calling and email tagging while you can manage all your appointments in one place.
  • Collect information through intake forms: Based on your appointment types, you can create customized intake forms to collect key information from guests such as their full name, email, phone number and reason for consultation. The intake form information is saved automatically so you can always follow up with qualified leads later on.
  • Powerful integrations for streamlined scheduling: CozyCal provides a wide variety of integrations including Clio, Stripe, Google calendar and Microsoft 365 that connects scheduling with your existing workflows easily. If you are using Clio, the Clio integration allows you to sync with Clio’s calendar in real-time, send information collected from intake form to Clio’s calendar events, and automatically create new contacts in Clio.
  • Save cost: If your budget doesn’t allow you to hire someone else to manage appointments for you, a scheduling tool like CozyCal can save you a fair amount of money. Paying only $15 per month, you can automate your law firm’s scheduling and have it onboard new leads 24/7. You only need to convert one captured lead into a client a year to cover the cost of using CozyCal.

Whether you prefer to hire a legal virtual receptionist for the person-to-person interaction, use a scheduling tool to automate intake process on your website, or even combine both solutions, the goal is the same: to leave a good first-impression on leads and provide stellar client experience even at the early stage of the business funnel.

Uncertainty is at an all-time high right now. By adopting these solutions, you can become a more responsive firm that delivers quality communications in a timely manner and provides your clients with a clear process and the support they crave.

When you have a systematized intake process in place that goes above and beyond clients’ expectations, you will be able to capture more clients and grow your firm in the long run.

Back Office Betties’ First Review on Clutch!!

Back Office Betties Review on ClutchHere at Back Office Betties, we have passionately been providing virtual legal receptionist services since 2014. We work with law firms across North America to offer specialized call handling and customer service that cannot be rivaled. Call center services are key in the digital age and continue to expand every day – these skills are being recognized on Clutch, a leading B2B ratings and reviews platform. 

We’re proud to announce that we’ve received our very first review on Clutch!

We received five stars across the board for offering our impeccable legal call center services to this law firm. Our virtual legal receptionists expertly take messages from callers, schedule appointments, accept payments, and schedule follow-up calls when necessary. Our job is to seamlessly handle everything that you don’t have the time for!

We’ve been working with this law firm for three years and have consistently provided them with high-level service. We are so proud that our virtual receptionists have been commended for their accuracy and excellence!Back Office Betties Clutch Review

 

“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… Anytime they communicate with me, they send me a feedback response. They often ask where they can improve, and I can never think of anything.” — Carla McKain, Attorney at McKain Law

 

We’re very thankful to our clients and Clutch for allowing us to showcase our talents to the world.

Based in Washington DC, Clutch’s team utilizes verified client feedback to rank and evaluate companies. We are ranked as one of the best companies for legal voice services on Clutch and their sister site, The Manifest. A research hub for B2B buyers, The Manifest includes industry leaders on a multitude of shortlists and articles.

If you are looking for a legal voice services provider to fulfill all your business needs, Back Office Betties is the place to call! Feel free to call us at (800) 958-8591 or check out our plans today to determine your law firm’s unique needs and learn more about our services. We’d be happy to start transforming your law firm as soon as possible!