Answering 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.