Busting 3+ Common Myths About Answering Services

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

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

 

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

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

 

1. Knowledge and Training

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

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

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

 

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

 

2. Call Centers vs. Remote Workers

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

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

 

Not all answering services operate out of call centers

 

3. Location

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

Cost of Hiring Legal Staff Receptionist

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Myth #3. Your Clients Will Receive Poor Service

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

Common negative experiences with outsourced answering services are:

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

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

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

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

 

Myth #4. You Have No Control Over Your Calls

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

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

 

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

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

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

These are just a few examples.

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

. . .

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

And why is that?

 

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

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

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

You Never Get a Second Chance to Make a First Impression

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

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

 

First impressions are permanent impressions

 

How to Answer Your Law Firm’s Phones

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

Introduce Your Firm

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

No more of these “Law Office” generic greetings.

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

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

 

The best ways to answer phones always include an introduction

 

Offer Assistance

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

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

 

Adjust Your Tone

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

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

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

“Do they know what they’re doing?”

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

“Have they not done this many times?”

  • Smile!

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

And subconsciously or not, it is recognizable.

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

 

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

 

The Best Ways To Answer Phones

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

 

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

In this post:

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

 

 

The Achievable Benefits of Expertly Handled Calls

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

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

 

How Uncontrolled Calls Are Costing You Money

Time is money and your uncontrolled calls are adding up.

When You’re Answering Phones Yourself

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

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

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

 

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

 

When Your Office Staff Is Answering Phones

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

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

Cost of Hiring Legal Staff Receptionist

Legal Staff is expensive – use their time wisely

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

Do you have any advice for screening out solicitors?

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

. . .

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

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

Develop a Script

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

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

 

Developing a script can help.

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

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

 

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

 

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

Some more benefits of using a script:

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

 

Take (and stay in) Control of Your Phone Calls

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

Keep Calls Short and Sweet

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

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

Keeping calls short and sweet:

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

Screen Out Solicitors

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

Have a plan.

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

“Are you calling to introduce your business?”

“What company are you calling on behalf of?”

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

Consider a Virtual Receptionist

Did you see that coming?

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

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

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

 

Outsourcing your call handling will:

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

 

 

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

16 Unique Phone Calls Every Law Firm Should Be Prepared For

How to Handle the Most Frequent Law Firm Phone Calls

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

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

 

1. Existing Clients Wanting an Update

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

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

 

2. Existing Clients Upset About Something With Their Case

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

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

 

3. Existing Clients Wanting to Schedule a Meeting

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

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

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

 

4. Existing Clients Needing to Make a Payment

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

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

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

 

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

 

5. Existing Clients Calling About a New Matter &

6. Previous Clients Calling about a New Case

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

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

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

Some of our favorite Legal CRMs:

MyCase Logo

Clio Grow Logo

PracticePanther Logo

 

7. Potential New Clients Wanting to Schedule a Consultation

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

11. PNCs Asking About Pricing/Payment Plans

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

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

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

This has multiple advantages:

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

 

12. Opposing Counsel Calling About an Upcoming Meeting &

13. Opposing Counsel Calling About Their Case

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

15. Fellow Attorneys Calling to Refer a Case

Answer calls from fellow attorneys referring a case right away!

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

 

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

 

16. Solicitors

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Second, know how to spot them!

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

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

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

 

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

Your Law Firm Is Missing Out on Easy Money

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

There are a few reasons:

It’s Easier

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

It’s Cheaper

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

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

Average Cost Per Click Graphic

Source: WordStream

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

It’s an Easy Sell

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

 

How to Set Up a Law Firm Referral Program

It’s not as complicated as you might think.

Develop an Enticing Offer

Rewarding both the referrer and the referred is ideal.

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

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

Entice Your Clients (Let Them Know)

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

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

Keep Track of Your Referrals

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

Here are a few we recommend:

MyCase LogoClio Grow Logo

PracticePanther Logo

Follow Up

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

Here are even more ideas for developing a referral program.

 

How to Increase the Likelihood of Receiving Referrals

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

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

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

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

The Delicate Art of Recovering From a Major Customer Service Mistake

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

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

 

Additionally:

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

 

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

 

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

Customer Service Recovery

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Zappos is an online shoe and clothing retailer.

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

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

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

 

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

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

. . .

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

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

 

What is customer service and why is it so important?

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

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

 

What is your favorite customer service success story?

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

 

What was your biggest customer service mistake?

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

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

 

What did you do to fix it?

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

 

What makes Back Office Betties’ customer service stand out? 

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

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

. . .

Have You Heard of the Service Recovery Paradox?

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

Customer Service Recovery Paradox

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

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

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

 

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

 

Acknowledge Your Mistakes

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

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

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

Reach Out Fast

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

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

Imagine the following scenarios:

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

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

Ask Questions

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

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

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

Don’t Make it About You

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

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

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

Practice Empathy

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

For the rest of us: Practice.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Give Gifts, Not Discounts

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Gift giving is a Back Office Betties favorite!

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

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

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

 

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

The Giant List of Tools That Run Back Office Betties (That Can Help Run Your Law Firm Too)

Virtual Tools to Run Your Law FirmThe number of virtual tools you can find online is nearly endless.

It’s hard to sift through everything and find the tools that are worth your time and will actually help run your law firm.

Luckily, we have a full toolbox and we’re going to share everything that helps us run Back Office Betties with you!

 

  1. Officevibe

Officevibe is an online tool that enables you to keep track of employee morale through anonymous feedback.

You can create custom surveys with polls and text-based questions or use Officevibe’s pre-made templates. Surveys are sent to employees by email and are answered anonymously. For text-based questions, however, you can give your employees the option to answer anonymously or not.

This tool helps management stay aware of employee morale and the effects it has in the workplace. Allowing your team to speak candidly about problems and experiences makes for better employee retention and relations.

Track responses and engagement rates over time, broken down into 10 key metrics. Officevibe also allows you to schedule 1:1s and provides guidance for managers on responding to feedback and growing within their leadership roles.

Pricing: $4/user/month

 

  1. Snagit

Snagit is a screen capture and recording software.

Snagit is a great tool to create video tutorials and how-tos. You can record your screen and audio or take and edit screenshots. Their editing features include drawing tools, text boxes, arrows, directions, etc. Use their templates to transform your screenshots into step-by-step instructions or manuals.

These features save you time and confusion explaining processes and training new employees. New employees, especially, take in so much information that it’s impossible to remember every detail. Video and image tutorials make it easy for them to go back and review. (And you won’t be interrupted with questions either!)

Pricing: One-time fee of $49.99/user with discounts for more users.

 

  1. Screencastify

Similar to Snagit, Screencastify is a Google Chrome extension that allows you to record your screen and create instructional videos.

You can record your tab, whole screen, or webcam only. A great feature is the ability to embed your webcam anywhere in the recording. (Hello to your talking head in the corner.) Screencastify also has great annotation tools such as mouse spotlighting, a drawing tool, and click highlighting.

The videos are easy to share and save. Recordings auto-save to your Google Drive, and you can export them as MP4, MP3, or even animated GIF! If you want to upload directly to YouTube, that’s an option too.

Pricing: $0 with a 5-minute recording limit or $49/year for unlimited.

 

  1. UberConference

UberConference is an online video conferencing software.

UberConference simplifies video conferencing – no pins, passwords, or downloads required! It’s easy to switch between camera and voice only during the call, and individual callers will be highlighted while speaking. You’ll never have to ask, “Who just said that?” again. Screensharing is quick and easy, and settings can be toggled to allow any caller to share.

After meetings end, UberConference provides you with a detailed summary of what happened and a link to the recorded meeting. The summary will include who was on the call, action items, and voice transcriptions of everything said. You can even search through the transcriptions for keywords.

Pricing: $15/month for up to 100 users.

 

  1. Teramind

Teramind is a computer monitoring software with a multitude of features.

The main purpose of Teramind is to record and collect data from employees’ computers. Teramind also serves as a way to protect private information and put in place restrictions and permissions.

The following are only some of the features that Teramind offers:

  • Monitor Recording – Watch employee’s screens live and access the recordings later.
  • Administrative Access – Take full control of monitored computers at any time. This feature is fantastic for troubleshooting tech problems with your team.
  • Audio Recording – Record audio picked up through the computers’ microphones and listen live or access recordings later.
  • Keyboard Monitoring – All keystrokes and copy/paste operations are logged – including passwords. Use this feature to ensure strong passwords are being used and not repeated.
  • Email Tracking – Save all email information and set up alerts to notify when mail is sent to non-corporate or suspicious hosts.
  • File Transfer Tracking – Track files’ movement through systems and block access to certain folders or locations. This is a first-line defense against data leaks!
  • Printed Document Data – Collect information on printed files and print requests. Set alerts for attempted printing of sensitive data.
  • Productivity Evaluation – Monitor active vs. idle time and create custom productivity indicators. Analyze how your employees’ time is spent by minute-to-minute activity monitoring.
  • Website Monitoring – Create notifications for when entertainment, off-limits, or suspicious websites are accessed.

All of the information tracked and monitored is easy to search through with a variety of metrics.

TLDR? Jump over to Teramind’s webpage detailing Teramind for Legal and Risk Management.

Pricing: $10 – $25/user/month

 

  1. Coassemble

Coassemble is an online platform designed to create training courses for your employees.

Coassemble lets you easily create online courses for anything you need. Split your courses into sections and add quizzes or checkpoints throughout. Embed videos, images, and audio anywhere you want. And don’t stress too much, you can make updates and changes at any time.

There are 40+ templates to choose from when creating each question or presentation page. Coassemble lets you completely customize your courses to your brand with headers, logos, background colors, and more.

It’s easy for your employees to enroll themselves through a direct link, or you can assign them courses through Coassemble. You’ll have access to all the data you need, including reports showing completion rates as well as grades and checkpoint completion.

Pricing: $399/month for unlimited everything.

 

  1. Gusto

Gusto is an all-in-one online HR software. Their platform has you covered with everything you need and more. Gusto makes HR easy!

Some of their primary features are:

  • Onboard new employees – Send offer letters and store new hire paperwork. Utilize their e-sign tool and complete the whole process online.
  • Employee Benefits – Employees can enroll in benefits themselves and are walked through the process by Gusto.
  • Time Tracking – Employees can clock in and clock out right from their Gusto account.
  • Run Payroll – Gusto does the math for you.
  • Manage PTO – Enter your PTO policies, and employees can submit PTO requests and view their balances themselves.

Pricing: $39/month plus $12/user/month for the Complete Plan.

 

  1. Paperform

Paperform is web platform that allows you to create any forms you need with no technical knowledge required.

Paperform has over 22 unique question types and counting. Your forms can be completely customized to your brand just how you want them. In addition to questions, signature boxes, dropdowns, and more, you can insert pictures, videos, and text anywhere on the page.

Don’t want to start from scratch?

Paperform has tons of form templates for everything you can think of. From Purchase Order Forms to Lead Generation Forms, and Referral Forms to Questionnaire Templates, if you need it, they have it.

Forms can be embedded in your website or shared directly with a unique URL. You can use your form to process payments through Stripe, PayPal Business, Braintree, and Square. Paperform even has its own scheduling software that integrates with their forms.

Pricing: $32.50/month when paid annually for their Pro plan.

 

  1. Design Pickle

Design Pickle is a flat rate custom design and illustration service.

With Design Pickle’s flat-rate plans, you can request unlimited designs with unlimited revisions. All of your requests will land in a queue, and you can rearrange their order at any time. Design Pickle promises a 2-3 day turnaround on all requests. For their Graphic Design Pro plan, they promise same-day delivery.

Create unlimited brand profiles and work with one designated designer who will get to know you and your vision personally. Design Pickle’s clean and simple interface makes it easy to request designs and communicate with your designer.

Pricing: $400/month when paid annually for their basic plans

 

  1. Acuity

Acuity is an online scheduling system that makes managing your calendar easy.

Acuity offers a highly customizable experience and a clean interface. On the back end, you can organize your appointment types by color and set custom automatic reminders by email and/or text for each appointment. On the front end, your scheduling page can be customized with background colors, and pictures and descriptions linked to your appointments.

Clients can schedule themselves through your customized scheduling link, or by a direct link to each appointment. Your calendar will auto-adjust for time zones, and clients can pay for appointments and add-on’s and fill out paperwork during the scheduling process.

Pricing: $23/month when paid annually

 

  1. Trello

Trello is a free online collaborative productivity platform.

Trello lets you create boards with lists and cards. Work by yourself on a private board or invite team members to collaborate.

Create a board for your team and assign tasks to each member by creating their own list. You can set a list to ‘watch’ and get notified when changes occur. Each card is customizable with formatting, to-do lists, and pictures. You can also add deadlines and customized labels.

Simply drag and drop cards from one list to another. As a bonus – their mobile app is excellently adapted making it easy to stay on track on the go.

Pricing: Free!

 

  1. Stripe

Stripe is an API software for customizable payment solutions.

With stripe, you can create easy to navigate payment pages for everything:

  • One-time checkouts
  • Recurring payments or subscriptions
  • Usage-based billing
  • & more

Their software is optimized for any device and carries from one to another seamlessly. Customize invoice templates to match your brand with color choices, and all the fields you need for one-time charges or recurring payments.

Pricing: 2.9% + $.30 per charge.

 

  1. Clickfunnels

Clickfunnels is an online sales funnel builder.

Clickfunnels will help you build beautiful pages with an easy drag and drop builder that guide your visitors through your website and prevent them from getting lost or leaving. Clickfunnels helps you lead your customers through the sales process by:

  • Introducing your business
  • Demonstrating your services or products
  • Bringing them to a landing page with the information they need to contact you.

Pricing: $99/month

 

  1. OneDrive

OneDrive is a personal cloud storage system by Microsoft.

Access your files from any device. Your phone, laptop, desktop, tablet, etc. Create shared folders to collaborate with coworkers and avoid zipping and emailing large files. OneDrive will also keep everyone’s files safe in case of unfortunate events such as lost or broken devices.

Pricing: $1.99/month with OneDrive Standalone with 100GB or Included with Microsoft Office.

 

  1. Sticky Notes App (Microsoft Windows)

The Sticky Notes app on Microsoft Windows is a virtual sticky pad.

It’s simple, and maybe doesn’t sound too exciting, but don’t overlook Sticky Notes! Perfect for taking quick (or long!) notes during a meeting, phone call, or while working on projects. Virtual sticky notes have some advantages over your tried-and-true paper notes.

  • Make them any size you want – 1 or 2 inches to full screen.
  • Tuck them away for later – Closing your note doesn’t delete it. The Sticky Notes app keeps a handy list of all your past notes that you can pull from at any time.
  • Add pictures – Embed pictures right in your note.
  • Easy formatting – Just click to switch to bold, italics, underlined text, strikethrough, or add bulleted lists.
  • Change colors – A great way to keep notes organized is color-coding!

Pricing: Included with Microsoft Windows

 

  1. DocuSign

DocuSign helps gather signatures in a seamless and secure way, then sends copies of the signed documents to both parties. Easily manage your contacts and client agreements without the hassle of printing, scanning, or faxing.

You can upload your own documents, or you can create new documents and agreements within DocuSign with their templates and brand personalization. With the Business Pro plan, you can also easily accept payments at the time of signing, cutting out yet another step for your clients!

Pricing: $10-40/month

 

  1. Zoho

With 62 apps total, Zoho has everything you need to run your office.

Zoho organizes those 62 apps into 8 categories:

Sales & Marketing

  • CRM – Everything you need to manage clients and customers.
  • Campaigns – Send marketing emails to your leads and clients.
  • Bookings – An online scheduler that allows clients (or coworkers!) to schedule meetings that integrate with Zoho Calendar.
  • Meeting – Meeting is a video conferencing software that integrates with your Zoho Calendar appointments.

Email & Collaboration

  • All of your office suite apps such as Mail, Writer, Sheet, Docs, and Calendar.
  • Cliq – An online messaging platform that lets you stay in contact and collaborate with your coworkers easily. Create groups by department, project, or simply one on one to streamline communication and keep your team just one chat away.

Finance

  • Books – Similar to Quickbooks, Books keeps your finances organized with a clean and easy-to-navigate interface.

Human Resources

  • People – Organize your hiring and onboarding process, track attendance and PTO, and manage your company’s departments.

IT & Help Desk

Customer Service

  • Desk – Organize customer or client conversations and tickets and assign tasks to your team members.

Custom Solutions

Business Intelligence

Zoho has multiple bundle plans, so you can choose the best fit for you.

Pricing: $30/user/month for the all apps included bundle: Zoho One.

 

  1. Canva

Canva is an online design platform with endless possibilities.

No matter what you need to make, you can make it with Canva. There are over 420,000 templates to choose from, in a multitude of genres:

  • Posters
  • Logos
  • Videos
  • Flyers
  • Resumes
  • Business Cards
  • Book Covers
  • Letterhead
  • Invoices
  • Cards
  • T-shirts
  • And even Zoom Virtual Backgrounds!

…to name a few.

Additionally, there are 75+ million stock photos, videos, graphics, and audio to choose from.

Canva has multiple plans, including a free version, and they offer video tutorials to help you through designing for all your needs.

Pricing: $9.99/month for 1 person when billed annually on their Pro plan.

 

Our toolbox is always growing, and we’re always making renovations to keep Back Office Betties in tip-top shape.

Have a tool you can’t live without? Let us know about it!

Want to take it a step further and start automating your law firm? Download our Money-Making Automations guide here.

How To Find The Time To Make More Money

Make More Money in Your Law Firm, Save TimeAre you feeling like there just aren’t enough hours in the day? Do you have way too much work on your plate and too many tasks on your to-do list? And most of that work and too many of those tasks aren’t even billable?

It’s not presumptuous to assume so, considering attorneys report that only 31% of the work they do is billable. No wonder you feel so stretched. You’re busy all day but only able to squeeze in a couple of hours of billable work!

 

Here’s what that looks like:

The average hourly rate for attorneys is $300.

Attorneys record only 2.5 hours of billable work per day on average.

Assuming an 8-hour workday, that’s 5.5 hours or $1,650 lost every day!

 

Your time is too valuable to give away for free! So how did you end up here, doing just that?

Of course, you know you’re spending too much time doing administrative work, but it still feels like there’s time disappearing into thin air.

The task-switching required to balance this variety of work is a likely culprit.

 

Task-Switching vs. Multitasking

You multitask every day – you may be multitasking right now. You’ve talked on the phone while driving or listened to an audiobook while making dinner – that’s multitasking. Because multitasking involves doing more than one thing at once, as long as only one (or none) is something that takes specific effort or focus.

When you hear people talk about the benefits of multitasking, keep that in mind.

 

Task-switching, however, is a wolf in multitasking’s clothing.

Physical things like opening an app, wrapping up work to put on hold, or getting distracted with other things tacks on time between each task.

A study has even shown how people getting sidetracked while task-switching lost 25 minutes of their time by stopping to complete 2.3 other tasks before returning to the original!

But you think you have the willpower to stay on track?

Switching tasks takes 16 seconds on average, and people switch tasks 12 times on average every half hour! That right there is 10% of your time… and you can find it out the window.

 

There are mental aspects to task-switching as well. Your brain takes time switching gears moving from one set of rules to another. You aren’t immediately engrossed and focused when you sit down to go over a document or fill out paperwork. Getting into a productive state takes time. And repeating this process over and over is so time-consuming, that even short mental blocks can cost as much as 40% of someone’s productive time!

Taking phone calls is a common task-switch that’s worse than many, as you don’t know when the calls are coming.

Your brain is in an anxious state knowing that you could hear a ring at any moment, and won’t let you give your full attention to other work.

Just a couple of unscheduled 5-minute phone calls could take upwards of 2 hours from your day… Considering attorneys’ average hourly rate of $300, you could be spending $600 on something a receptionist could do in 20 minutes!

 

What Can You Do?

The options to overcome the time-sucking task-switching cycle are few:

  1. Stop working on cases.
  2. Stop doing administrative work.

 

Of course, you can’t stop working on cases. So, you need some help!

If you could afford the help, you’d already have it, right? Intuitively your brain is telling you that money spent is money lost.

But that’s not the case here.

When you spend $20 an hour paying for someone else to do your administrative work, you will see that $20 gone… But when you spend that hour on billable work yourself, you’ll bring in 10-15x that amount.

And neither you nor your receptionist will watch time disappear due to task-switching.

Of course, hiring in-house isn’t the most cost effective option. Hiring a full-time legal receptionist, for example, would cost you approximately $4,123.60 per month when you factor in employer taxes and benefits. (We did the math.)

 

Using a virtual legal receptionist service is a great alternative:

  • You will never have to worry if that call that got missed over lunch was your biggest opportunity this year.
  • You’ll rest easy knowing every call you get will be answered, and every potential new client will complete the intake process.
  • You’ll save anywhere from $2,000-$4,000 a month compared to hiring in house.
  • You’ll make more money by doing billable work instead of wasting your time on administrative tasks.
  • You will eliminate the task-switching cycle and take back your time.
  • You’ll take in more clients and scale your firm thanks to the time you got back.

 

The take-home is: You can’t afford to spend your valuable time losing money when you could be making it; so you can’t afford not to save money by outsourcing your administrative work!

Looking for more ways to save time and make more money? Download our Money-Making Automations E-book.

6 Reasons To Love Back Office Betties (That Happen To Be Why Our Competition Hates Us)

Reasons to Love Back Office Betties Virtual Receptionists

There’s a lot to love about Back Office Betties… unless you’re one of our competitors. We’ve been criticized for many of the unique things we do in our business, but those are the exact reasons that small law firms love us. Let’s take a look at a few of them!

Back Office Betties’ Receptionists Work From Home (Even Outside Of A Pandemic)

Working from home has been proven to increase employee morale, productivity, and performance. All of our receptionists have their own quiet, private office spaces eliminating distractions, background noises, and the infamous soul-crushing call center environment. This enables our receptionists to feel and work like receptionists, not phone operators.

Companies that support remote work have a 25% lower employee turnover rate than companies that don’t, and 45% of remote workers have been in the same position for five years or more. Low turnover and longevity in the workplace create a level of expertise that simply cannot be found elsewhere.

Some answering services will claim that it’s not possible to build camaraderie when teams are working remotely, but one of our most common anecdotes from new employees is how much they love the team environment and feel involved in the company.

Quality Assurance

Our receptionists have high standards to attain that many other services might not be able to live up to. We monitor every call taken and regularly meet with our receptionists to review their work and ensure that they meet their performance goals. Being a boutique service enables us to have interpersonal relationships with each receptionist and be invested in their performance.

Not only are our receptionists specialized in legal intake, but our receptionists are also specialized in your firm!

Each law firm that we work with has a small number of receptionists assigned to them, and all of our receptionists complete a training course about your firm’s operations before taking a single call for you. These factors allow our receptionists to become familiar and comfortable with your operations and feel like a part of your team.

Your clients will never be able to tell that they aren’t sitting at the front desk in your office!

Exceptional Employee Benefits

We offer excellent benefits as well as competitive pay and performance bonuses. Attracting and keeping the best talent is always a priority! We incorporate fun perks like wellness days, wish-granting, and team building events into our company culture. We provide ongoing training, professional development, and encourage our employees to be resourceful and have a say in the way we do things.

Many companies will do the minimum and provide the cheapest benefits they can get away with, but fostering relationships with our employees is a priority that helps us attract and maintain the best talent in the industry.

We Send Your Messages in Real-Time

Our receptionists send out each message in real-time immediately upon ending the call.

You won’t be left waiting for hours until 15 messages have stacked before they are sent out to you. This is a corner that other services cut to ensure their receptionists will never have a moment of downtime between calls.

Sending messages immediately takes a bit longer, but we know it’s important for you to get them in real-time and without mistakes or inaccuracies.

We Take One Call at a Time

We guarantee that your client will never be placed on hold in the middle of their call for our receptionist to take and place another call on hold.

Other services will place your call on hold multiple times because they take 3-5 calls at once. This may get each call answered within their advertised time, but is that what you envisioned when you were told how quickly your calls would be answered?

When receptionists are bouncing back and forth between calls, it’s easy to get information muddled and make mistakes. Unfortunately, other answering services are willing to take that hit to their quality of service to save a buck.

At Betties, each call gets answered within 4 rings and has our receptionists’ full and undivided attention from start to finish.

Customized Call Handling

When our receptionists answer your calls, they’ll use a script we’ve customized just for your firm.

Most answering services have limited customization (if any at all!). It takes time and staffing for us to set up customized call handling, but we are more than willing to use our resources for everything that will give your firm and your clients a better experience.

Customized scripts allow our receptionists to fully intake new clients and avoid the generic service that will leave your clients feeling like they’ve reached a call center and not your office.

 

To learn more about the difference between Back Office Betties and other answering services, schedule a call with us today.

Your Law Firm Is Losing Money By Missing This One Critical Step

Triage your law firm's clients | Back Office Betties

 

How much time do you spend on billable work?

According to Clio, lawyers record only 2.5 billable hours per day on average. Yikes.

You could be earning more than double if you stopped doing so many non-billable tasks.

Your time is valuable! Treat it that way and watch the returns roll in.

We know that administrative work can take up a lot of time, and client intake is one of the worst offenders. So what can you do?

Hire someone to triage your clients.

What Does It Mean To Triage My Law Firm’s Clients?

triage

[trēˈäZH]
NOUN
1. (in medical use) the assignment of degrees of urgency to wounds or illnesses to decide the order of treatment of a large number of patients or casualties.
VERB
1. assign degrees of urgency to (wounded or ill patients).

In this case, your callers are the patients. Treat them like they’re trying to get a diagnosis and prescription that will make their ailments disappear.

Their call is the waiting room, your receptionist is the triage nurse, and the diagnosis and prescription come from your expertise after they’ve made it back to the exam room.

How Can Triaging My Clients Help Grow My Law Firm?

  • Stop wasting time on leads that aren’t a good fit
  • Streamline your intakes and increase scalability
  • Effectively instill confidence in your clients
  • Use your time on billable work, not administrative tasks

 

Stop Wasting Time On Leads That Aren’t A Good Fit

Your time is best spent on people you know you can help.

Many times, a caller will be looking for help in an area you don’t serve or they can’t afford your fee. When the caller isn’t a right fit for you, you’re wasting your time and theirs.

To make the most of your (valuable) time, you should know that they fit into your ideal client demographic. Likewise, you should know that your expertise is not a waste of their time or money.

Potential clients don’t always know the nature of their case, and it very well may take some prodding (time!) to get all the information needed to determine it. Often enough, that prodding can be done by a legal receptionist or paralegal who can walk them through specific questions that get to the bottom of their needs.

Once your leads make it past these questions, you’ll know that your time spent on a consultation has the potential to be mutually beneficial.

Streamlined And Scalable Intakes

Your clients’ first impression of you is on the phone, so it’s important to get your intake process right.

Making mistakes in the way you handle new leads is much easier than you may think. Did you know that 61% of law firms forget to ask the client’s name during the initial conversation? Not only that, but 72% forget to ask for their phone number!

Missing those vital pieces of information is a fast way to lose a lead and, in turn, lose money.

However, when a professional legal intake specialist is there to answer that first call, you can guarantee each and every lead will start the intake process and that vital information will be captured.

Once you’ve set your process and determined who will handle potential new client calls, things become more simple and streamlined. This is easier on your callers (they’ll know what to expect every time they call) and easier on you (hello newfound time!).

Keep in mind, too, that simplifying this process with an intake professional is scalable because you are not being called away from your most important work and have room to keep adding new clients to your calendar.

Effectively Instill Confidence In Your Clients

When you go to a medical appointment, it would be pretty strange to be greeted by the doctor sitting at the reception desk, wouldn’t it? We’ve been conditioned to view doctors as important and hard to reach because they’re so busy and in-demand.

Your callers should feel that same way about you! You’re the one that’s going to save them, but first, the triage nurse (intake specialist) needs to gather all of their information and prep them for their appointment.

When you show up to that appointment, you’re able to skip the time-intensive initial questions and spend more time offering true value and expertise.

All of this works together to instill confidence in your clients because 1. your firm presents itself professionally and 2. they view you as busy and important, so they’re honored to have you helping them.

Plus, there is no risk of confusing back and forth, complications, or missed communications because the steps to getting help are simplified and organized.

Grow Your Law Firm And Make More Money

Wouldn’t hiring someone to do my client intakes just cost me money?

Definitely not!

The reality is, your billable rate is much higher than the cost of outsourcing someone to do your intakes. When you spend your time on administrative work like answering the phones, those calls are costing you the hundreds that your time is actually worth.

Consider how much time you spend triaging clients, completing intake paperwork, and the back and forth that comes with it… how many billable hours are you wasting each day? How much money does that amount to?

Let’s do a little bit of math – Say your billable rate is $250 per hour. Say your average intake call is 15 minutes. Each time you do your own intake call, you’re spending $62.50 on that one call when you could have MADE $62.50.

Now say that you’re taking 6 intake calls in one day – that’s a loss of $375.

Your time is more valuable than $20 an hour, so stop doing these $20 an hour tasks.

Spend your time on what makes you money. Outsource what doesn’t. Then sit back and watch as your calendar fills up with more paid appointments because you opened up the time to accommodate them.

Overall, a streamlined intake process leads to your clients having a good experience, leaving stellar reviews, and recommending you to friends and family. This is an investment you will absolutely see a return on!

 

Interested in other ways you can help free up your billable time and make more money in your law firm? Download our Money-Making Automations Guide here.