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A selection of articles related to proper call handling techniques, common mistakes, and advice for attorneys at small law firms.

Tag Archive for: Call Handling

Technology & Small Law Firm Management: Beyond LPM Software

TECHNOLOGY For Small Law Firms

 

In today’s fast-paced, tech-driven world, integrating cutting-edge solutions into your small law firm’s operations can be the difference between thriving and surviving. That’s because harnessing the power of technology can significantly enhance your firm’s efficiency, client satisfaction, and overall success.

In this post, we’ll explore the role of technology in small law firm management, from legal practice management software to virtual employees.

 

Embracing Your Digital Options

Gone are the days of relying solely on paper documents, manual research, and in-person appointments. As a small law firm attorney, leveraging technology allows you to level the playing field and compete with larger firms while maintaining your personalized service. Here’s how:

 

Streamlined Case Management

A robust case management software keeps track of all your cases, deadlines, appointments, and documents in one centralized location. Eliminating the risk of crucial information falling through the cracks and ensuring that you’re able to provide consistent, high-quality service to your clients.

 

Enhanced Communication

Consistent communication should be a top priority for any successful law practice. Automated emails, video conferencing, and secure messaging platforms enable you to communicate with your clients, colleagues, and opposing counsel more frequently and effectively. Staying connected builds strong relationships that foster trust and loyalty. (And helps you avoid a top bar complaint of “lack of communication!”)

 

Time Tracking and Billing Efficiency

Use technology to streamline your law firm’s billing and invoicing processes in order to accurately track your billable hours and generate invoices with ease. Many LPM software options include these features, but there are also standalone products.

 

Virtual Legal Assistants & Paralegals

Imagine having a skilled legal assistant who you only pay for the hours you need. Virtual assistants function like contractors – meaning you aren’t responsible for salary, benefits, recruiting, and employee management. Instead, you’ll pay a flat rate based on hours or minutes.

These virtual staff members provide the qualified and experienced help you need – for a fraction of the cost of an in-house employee! Giving you the ability to focus on what you do best: practicing law.

 

Project & Office Management

Virtual legal assistants can tackle that day-to-day busy work that’s keeping you from your casework:

  • Calendar Management: Scheduling your appointments, blocking off time for casework or court, and canceling or rescheduling for you when you’re overbooked
  • Email Management: Finally – inbox 0. Cleaning up your existing mail and folders and monitoring your incoming email.
  • Finances: Creating invoices for your clients and staying on top of them until payment arrives and meticulously tracking your expenses for you.
  • CRM Management: Entering new leads, updating client information, and creating automated workflows.
  • Client Communications: Updating clients on their cases and appointment reminders.

 

Legal Research

Whether you need case law analysis, precedent research, or legislative updates, virtual legal assistants can conduct thorough legal research to provide you with the information you need, making your job a little bit easier.

 

Document Preparation

Virtual legal assistants can assist with drafting legal documents, such as contracts, pleadings, and correspondence, saving you valuable time (and ensuring accuracy!).

 

Virtual Legal Receptionists

Let’s face it: in the legal industry, first impressions matter. Many successful small law firms use virtual legal receptionists as the relentlessly friendly voice of their law firms. Imagine the ability to work in sweet, peaceful silence while virtual legal receptionists deliver an exceptional client experience and maintain your law firm’s professional image.

 

New Client Intake

Virtual legal receptionists handle initial inquiries from potential new clients, screen your leads, gather essential information, and schedule new client consultations. They’ll manage a smooth and efficient intake process while ensuring no call (aka potential new client) slips through the cracks.

 

Call Management

The small law firm attorney’s secret to working in silence. Virtual legal receptionists will answer all your incoming calls, and route them accordingly. Transferring the calls that you want to receive and taking messages or scheduling appointments for less urgent matters.

 

Outbound Calling

Virtual legal receptionists can handle all of your outbound calls for you too. Making following up on your website’s contact forms, rescheduling appointments, appointment reminders, and collecting payments no longer your responsibilities.

 

Embrace the Tech-Filled Future

By embracing the technology available to you, you’ll position your small law firm for growth, increased efficiency, and an enhanced client experience.

So, take the leap into the digital frontier and watch your small law firm thrive in the modern age!

 

Want to learn more about how Virtual Legal Assistants & Receptionists can help you grow your law firm? Schedule a Free Discovery Call today.

10 Ways to Increase Productivity as a Solo Attorney

Increase Productivity As a Solo Attorney

Running a solo law firm is both rewarding and challenging. While you enjoy the freedom and independence of owning your own practice, you also face immense pressure managing every aspect of running a business on your own (on top of your legal work).

Incorporating productivity-enhancing strategies is crucial to maximize your efficiency and make the most of your time. In this post, we will explore 10 ways solo attorneys can increase productivity.

 

1. Delegate Administrative Tasks

Virtual legal assistants can be brought on for a fraction of the cost of an in-house employee, making them a popular choice for solo attorneys. These professionals can handle your administrative tasks such as appointment scheduling, document drafting, client communications, and CRM management, allowing you to focus on billable work.

 

2. Utilize a Virtual Receptionist Service

Another popular solution for solo attorneys is to hire a virtual receptionist service. Virtual receptionists answer your incoming calls, screen leads, complete new client intakes, schedule appointments, answer questions, take messages, and even place outbound calls at your request. Ensuring that your phone is always covered keeps your clients happy and gives you the interrupted time you need to focus on your work.

 

3.  Implement Time Management Techniques

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of work on your plate when running a law firm on your own. Test out different time management methods to see what fits your workstyle and personality best.

Here are some popular techniques:

  • Pomodoro Technique
  • Time Blocking
  • Eisenhower Matrix
  • Getting Things Done
  • Eat That Frog Technique

 

4. Prioritize and Set Clear Goals

Develop a clear roadmap of what needs to be accomplished and when it needs to be accomplished in order to channel your efforts more efficiently. Set daily, weekly, and monthly goals to stay organized and motivated. Prioritize your tasks based on their importance and deadline.

 

5. Embrace Technology

Utilize tech tools and software specifically designed for law firms. Legal practice management software, document automation tools, scheduling software, and cloud-based storage systems can shave hours off of your workweek.

 

6. Develop Standard Practices

Create systems and processes for routine tasks. Standardizing the procedures that you do on a regular basis, such as new client intakes, saves time and reduces errors. Develop a call flow blueprint (a specific plan that outlines your call flow process for every call that comes into your law firm) to streamline your call handling.

 

7. Automate Everything

Identify everything that you can automate, and automate it. Email templates, appointment reminders, document templates, auto-responses, billing processes, etc. Automation frees up your valuable time and ensures a consistent experience for your clients.

Download Time Saving Automations to Make Your Law Firm More Money for a comprehensive automation plan.

 

8.  Outsource Non-Legal Work

As an attorney, you can’t be expected to know the ins and outs of everything that goes into running a business. Consider outsourcing non-legal tasks such as accounting and marketing. You may feel like you’re saving money by tackling everything yourself, but the truth is, you’re going to spend a lot more time for a lot less ideal of an outcome than a professional will.

 

9. Get Involved in the Legal Community

Stay up to date with the latest legal developments and trends. You never know when the next tech that will end up being a lifesaver for your firm will drop. Attend relevant conferences and participate in the legal community by joining groups on social platforms.

 

10. Cultivate Work-Life Balance

It may feel impossible, but as a solo attorney, you are directly in charge of forcing yourself to prioritize your work-life balance. Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is essential for your long-term productivity and happiness. Set boundaries, schedule breaks, and take time off. Prioritize your self-care and personal time to help you stay energized and focused, and prevent dreaded burnout.

 

As a solo attorney, maximizing your productivity is vital to your success in the competitive legal landscape. But remember, productivity is not just about working harder, but working smarter.

 

Want to learn more about how Virtual Legal Assistants and Receptionists will be a lifeline for your solo practice? Schedule a free Discovery Call today.

Why Your Law Firm Needs a Professional Legal Answering Service

Legal Answering Services vs. Generic Answering Services

Small law firms are stretched thin. With limited resources and a never-ending workload, it’s no surprise attorneys and paralegals are stressed and burnt out. Luckily, cost-effective help is out there – if you know where to find it!

Hiring an answering service frees up hours of precious time. But it’s easy to feel overwhelmed with all the options available.  For law firms, however, the key question to ask is this:

Should I choose a legal answering service or a generic answering service?

Understanding the difference is essential to make an informed choice that aligns with your law firm’s needs. Let’s break down 6 things to consider:

 

1. Legal knowledge

Legal answering services provide your law firm with a team of professionals who already understand the legal terminology you and your callers use. These receptionists skillfully address legal inquiries, identify different case types, and make your callers feel cared for and understood in their time of need.

Generic answering services, on the other hand, take calls from all industries – from law firms to hair stylists. Without specialization, their receptionists lack the legal knowledge needed to professionally assist clients seeking legal advice. This lack of knowledge is a poor reflection of the expertise your law firm actually provides and turns many callers away.

 

2. Client experience

Client satisfaction is crucial for any successful law firm. Legal-trained receptionists have the skills needed to communicate with your clients as if they were sitting right in your office! It’s hard to convey that same in-house feel with a generic answering service. Lack of specialization often makes it clear to your callers that your receptionist is outsourced.

 

3. Legal terminology and accuracy

Legal jargon is complex. Training and experience are necessary in order to ensure full understanding. Receptionists at legal answering services are well-versed in legal terms and complete intensive training to ensure accurate communication with both legal clients and attorneys themselves.

Generic answering services pose a higher risk of misunderstandings that lead to errors and confusion.

 

4. Customization and call scripting

Legal receptionists can do more than just direct your calls. Their understanding of complex legal terminology and procedures allows them to:

  • screen and qualify new leads
  • accurately determine the case type your caller is dealing with
  • complete custom new client intakes by case type
  • process payments and schedule appointments
  • make outbound calls to collect information from clients and leads

Generic answering services will likely misclassify cases, creating more work for you – which is exactly what you’re trying to avoid!

 

5. Legal features and integrations

Legal answering services train their receptionists on the most commonly used LPMs and CRMs. Chances are, whatever you use at your law firm, they’re already comfortable with it. Plus, integrations with legal products are prioritized above integrations with generic products, because these are the products attorneys use!

Generic answering services lack legal-specialized features, meaning you’ll need to alter your processes to fit into their box. It’s common for large answering services to require that their clients use a certain scheduling platform or intake form software if they want to utilize those features at all.

 

6. Price

Why would an attorney consider a generic answering service when legal specialized answering services exist? The answer is price.

Generic services operate with less customization and no specialization. Legal answering services spend more on labor and training to ensure quality service, which is often reflected in the overall cost. However, these price differences are typically small, and law firms will see an increase in new clients and an improvement in reputation when working with specialists.

 

Conclusion

Let’s answer our initial question:

Should I choose a legal answering service or a generic answering service?

A legal answering service is the best choice for law firms. When you partner with a legal answering service, you’ll rest easy knowing that your law firm’s calls are handled with care, professionalism, and an understanding of the legal landscape.

Plus – small law firms need every trick up their sleeves to maximize efficiency and deliver exceptional client service to compete with Biglaw.

 

 

Ready to get started? Schedule a free Discovery Call here.

Attorneys: Stop Doing These 9 Things on the Phone

STOP MAKING THESE CALL HANDLING MISTAKES

 

Attention all attorneys! We need to talk about your call handling skills.

Look, we know you’re busy building a successful law practice, but you might be making some crucial mistakes when it comes to answering the phone. We see it time and time again… but most attorneys don’t realize how these mistakes are impacting their bottom line!

 

So, let’s take a look at the top mistakes attorneys make with call handling:

1. Robot Mode:

Do you sound like a robot when answering the phone? Callers can hear it in your voice when you’re just going through the motions. Do your best to sound friendly and engaging. It makes a world of difference.

2. Attorney Anonymous:

Even worse… Are you answering the phone with something along the lines of, “Hello, Law Office.” Or (yikes) “Hello?”? Your potential clients are calling through a list of attorneys. The last thing you want is for someone to hang up the phone thinking, “Which law firm was that again?”.

3. Long Hold Times & Missed Calls:

No one likes to be put on hold for long periods of time or land in a voicemail box. It’s frustrating and leads to missed opportunities. If you’re answering your own calls… it’s true that this is almost impossible to avoid. Luckily, virtual legal receptionists can save you.

4. Ignoring Emotions:

Your clients and potential clients are likely to be in stressful or emotional situations. Due to the nature of your job, you’ll be hearing the same type of information day in and day out. So, it’s important to check your tone of voice and make sure you aren’t speaking to them like it’s just another phone call for you. Acknowledge their feelings and show empathy. Failing to do so can lead to negative experiences and lost opportunities.

5. Not Listening:

We get it, you’re busy. But, failing to listen to a caller can lead to missed details, misunderstandings, and even malpractice. Give the caller your full attention, and ask clarifying questions when necessary.

6. Not Collecting Contact Information:

Look, it feels like this shouldn’t need to be on the list. But surprisingly, law firms fail to collect emails 86% of the time and phone numbers 45% of the time on the first call. If you don’t collect contact information, you’re left crossing your fingers hoping that the caller might contact you again.

7. Legal Jargon:

Legal terms and concepts are often confusing to those outside of the profession. Don’t use technical jargon unless it’s necessary. The last thing you want to do is make your caller feel dumb for not understanding what you’re telling them. Try to explain things in layman’s terms to make your callers feel more comfortable.

8. No Follow-Up:

You may assume that potential clients will reach back out to you if they’re interested, and if they don’t… they’ve found someone else. But the truth is, life gets in the way! Potential clients are likely to go with the first law firm they feel a connection with, so never skip out on follow-ups.

9. Impersonal Behavior:

It goes without saying, but being rude or impersonal on the phone can lead to negative reviews and a damaged reputation. It’s hard to keep a smile on your face when you’re busy and stressed, but always being professional and courteous – even when callers are difficult – goes a long way for your reputation.

 

In conclusion, call handling is an art form and it requires attention and care. By avoiding these mistakes, you can provide exceptional customer service and build a strong reputation for your law practice. So, pick up that phone and start mastering the art of call handling!

 

Did just reading this list give you a headache? Back Office Betties’ Virtual Legal Receptionists are ready to expertly handle your calls and give you your time back. Schedule a call with our Growth Solutions Strategist to learn more.

3 Essential Practices: Outsource Call Handling without Sacrificing Law Firm Reputation

3 Things to look for in an answering service

Every interaction with a potential or current client is crucial for your law firm’s reputation.

For smaller law firms especially, one important (and often overlooked) aspect is the character and personality that they possess. This character and personality plays a pivotal role in helping small law firms stand out from their competition.

It’s common for answering services to use one-size-fits-all solutions that make their operations less complicated and more profitable, but also erase the unique qualities that make your law firm different. But it doesn’t have to be this way! If you know what to look for, it’s possible to determine whether an answering service will elevate your law firm’s reputation or mix you in with everyone else – before wasting your time and money.

 

Check for these 3 practices before signing up for a new answering service:

 

1. In-House Style Service

Your virtual receptionists will need to use both in-house language and the same terminology that you do, as well as have access to your law firm’s operational details to deliver a consistent experience.

What does this look like?

  • Knowing the names and job titles of everyone in your office
  • Using in-house words such as “we” instead of “they”
  • Referring to your appointments by their official titles (for example: “Discovery Meeting” instead of “Consultation”)
  • Being able to give callers directions to your office
  • Having the answers to commonly asked questions and knowledge of who to reach out to for additional information

This is the style of in-house service that leaves your callers asking where your lovely receptionist is when they visit your office.

 

2. Dynamic Call Handling

Certainly few attorneys prefer that all of their calls be routed in the same manner based on availability. Just because you might be available doesn’t mean you’d like to talk to everyone, and just because you might be unavailable doesn’t mean you want everyone turned away. Consider the following:

Suppose you’d like to speak with other attorneys if they call when you’re available. And you need to speak with the Social Security Administration even if you aren’t available when they call! But you’d certainly prefer your clients to schedule appointments to speak with you, regardless of your availability.

In-house receptionists can route your calls this way – and so can virtual receptionists! Intricate call routing takes a bit more time and skill to establish, but it’s more than worth it.

 

3. Custom-Designed Scripting

Your call handling script should be custom-created to fit your law firm like a glove. No one knows your law firm like you do, so stay clear of answering services that boast immediate account activation or require minimal setup questions. A thorough understanding of your law firm’s operations, team members, typical callers, and outcomes you’re looking for is necessary to uphold your reputation. If you aren’t providing that information in detail, you’re signing up for a one-size-fits-all solution.

 

 

Want to improve your law firm’s reputation take your time back? Schedule a call with our Growth Solutions Strategist today.

Top 3 Mistakes To Avoid When Hiring Your Law Firm’s Receptionist

Hiring a new receptionist for your law firm can be a daunting task. You need to determine the right kind of receptionist for your firm, your budget to hire, the volume of phone calls you need covered, and many more factors in order to know you’re hiring the best fit.

As with any daunting task, shortcuts are often taken and mistakes are made when many attorneys hire their first receptionist (or second, or third!).

You don’t need to make the same mistakes! We’ve compiled the top mistakes made by attorneys looking for phone coverage and are going to walk you through exactly how to avoid each one.

Three Mistakes To Avoid Making When Hiring A Receptionist

Hiring your next law firm receptionist can take a lot off your plate and help you maximize your billable time. But what should you avoid doing in the process?

Not Doing Enough Research

This first mistake comes down to many attorneys being unaware that there is even anything to research. All answering services are the same, right? Wrong. Just as you would interview an in-house receptionist, you’ll need to interview answering services or virtual receptionists. Your friend who owns a chiropractic practice might have an answering service they swear by, but your law firm’s needs are going to be much different. It’s important to determine exactly what you are looking for in your receptionist before signing on with the first one you hear about.

A few questions to consider:

  • Do they allow you to customize your greeting and intake questions?
  • Do they schedule appointments and sell consults, or do they simply take messages and you will need to call your leads back later to schedule?
  • What are their hours?
  • Do they have a plan that works for your call volume?

 

Hiring In-House Without The Volume To Support It

The next mistake is hiring an in-house receptionist without evaluating the cost, time spent managing this team member, and the true call volume you’re experiencing. Often times, an in-house receptionist becomes a much greater expense than expected because you don’t have the call volume and new clients rolling in to support it. Not to mention that calls are still missed during restroom breaks and paid vacation time – now you’re spending your valuable time backing up this person you are paying so much for.

 

Letting Budget Rule Your Decision

The third mistake to avoid when hiring a receptionist for your law firm is making your choice solely based on the cost of it. To be frank, this mistake can actually end up costing you more money in the end. When it comes to client experience and selling your firm to new clients, your receptionist is the most important factor. You need to have a well-spoken and knowledgeable person on the phone that can answer questions and explain the true value of what your firm provides in order to land new clients. When you go with a budget option – a cheap message-only answering service or your cousin’s best friend’s daughter at minimum wage – you’re only hurting your growth.

 

Have You Made Any Of These Mistakes?

It’s never too late to master your law firm’s phones. If you’ve made these mistakes in the past but want to get your law firm’s phones on track again, register for our upcoming webinar: 30 Minutes To Mastering Your Law Firm’s Phones: Sell more consults, impress your callers, and capture every lead.

Elena, our Growth Solutions Strategist, will be going deeper on how to avoid making these mistakes and how to master your phones – once and for all!

How To Evaluate Your Law Firm’s Phone Performance

 

Law firms live and die by the phones. Unfortunately many of them haven’t quite figured them out.

We called more than 100 firms (one could have been yours!) and only 14.75% of law firms passed our phone process audit. Less than 15% of law firms!

Roughly half of them didn’t answer the phone at all.

Many of the law firms that did answer did so with a generic (forgettable) greeting of “Law Office.”

And more than a handful answered with, “Hello?”

Can you imagine? We thought getting one Hello was bad, but multiple?!

With that said, there are quite a few things not to do when you answer the phone.

Is your law firm committing these phone sins, or would you pass our phone process audit? Let’s find out!

Evaluating Your Law Firm’s Phone Performance

Before you can improve upon your law firm’s phone processes, you first need to know what needs improvement.

 

Is your phone being answered every single time it rings?

If your phone isn’t being answered every single time, you’ve already failed the call audit. Missing potential new client calls is essentially writing your own ticket to the land of lost opportunity because the odds of them leaving a message are slim. Less-than-20% slim. You know those firms we said we called that didn’t answer? Yeah, we didn’t leave a message.

 

Who is answering the phone?

Is it you? If so, we urge you to change that ASAP.

First, because you’re busy and we know that translates into missing some calls. (No shame! You cannot possibly do it all.)

Second, because answering the phone doesn’t make you money. It’s not billable and it doesn’t require an attorney to get it done. Your time is worth so much more!

Third, because getting stuck on an impromptu consultation leaves you with no time to prepare! You’re actually helping your potential clients more by putting someone between you to schedule a consultation that you can prepare for.

 

What is the greeting used to answer the phone?

As mentioned before, a lot of firms flounder their first impression with a poor greeting. “Hello?” is unprofessional and leaves the caller wondering if they called the right number. “Law Office” is used so often that, while it makes it clear the caller reached a law firm, the caller may be confused as to which firm it was that they just called. Additionally, both of those options are less than friendly and can start the call off on a rocky foot.

Our favorite greetings always state the name of the firm, are spoken in a friendly tone, and start the call off with a positive impression.

Looking for something new to try out? Try a greeting like “Thanks for calling My Law Firm, Lisa speaking. How may I assist you?”

 

What information is being captured on every call?

Without a standard process of collecting the same information every time, you’ll probably notice a lot of leads falling through the cracks. It can be easy to forget to ask for their contact information in the moment, but if the same questions are asked on every call, it becomes easier to gather that information for every caller.

At the minimum, we recommend collecting: Name, Phone Number, Case Type/Matter, and Email. This information is important for following up with leads (who probably won’t call you back) and for tracking data in your CRM.

 

Would Your Firm’s Phones Pass The Audit?

If you aren’t sure, register for our upcoming webinar: 30 Minutes To Mastering Your Law Firm’s Phones: Sell More Consults, Impress Your Callers, & Capture Every Lead.

Elena, our Growth Solutions Strategist, will be going deeper on what to do after you’ve evaluated your phones and how to master them – once and for all!

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

What is a virtual receptionist? And other FAQs answered

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

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

Okay, so what is a virtual receptionist?

Virtual Receptionist Service ≠ Answering Service

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Okay, so what does that mean?

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

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

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

Will A Virtual Receptionist Service Benefit My Law Firm?

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

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

How Do You Get Started With A Virtual Receptionist Service?

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

1. Capture All Potential Income by Capturing Every Potential Client

Make Lots of Money as an Attorney

Sounds like a no-brainer.

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

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

 

Make Sure Your Firm Answers Every Call – The Right Way

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

Completing intakes on the first call:

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

 

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

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

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

 

But What If…

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

Or convince callers that your fees are well worth it?

Or catch every call?

 

We’ll get to that later.

For now, you need to bring in more leads:

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

Attorney Handshake

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

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

 

How Clients Shop for a Lawyer

Source: Clio’s 2019 Legal Trends Report

 

That’s a crazy big percentage. But why?

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

  • Intimidating
  • Complex
  • Stressful
  • High stakes

 

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

 

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

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

But these are the basic steps you need to follow:

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

Attorneys

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

Your clients are.

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

Set Communication Expectations to Reduce Your Clients’ Stress.

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

There are a few ways to do this.

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

 

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

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

 

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

Law Firm Administrative Work

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

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

 

All of these are:

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

 

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

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

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

 

The only question you need to ask is:

“Who do I outsource my administrative work to?”

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

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

 

Virtual Receptionists

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

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

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

 

In-House Receptionist

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

Paralegal

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

 

But again, anything is better than doing it yourself.

 

. . .

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Use a Call Flow Blueprint to Outline Your Call Flow Process

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

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

 

A Good Call Flow Process Can Transform Your Law Firm

In more ways than you might imagine:

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

 

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

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

Start with the basics:

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

And then break those basics down.

Take potential new clients for example:

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

 

Dive a little deeper…

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

 

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

But it’s deeper than that.

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

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

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

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

 

1. You’re Missing Calls

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

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

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

 

2. You’re Getting Incomplete Information

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

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

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

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

 

3. You’re Not Capturing All Your Leads

This one ties into missed calls and incomplete information.

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

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

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

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

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

Especially when there are so many other options.

 

4. The Lack of Communication Frustrates Your Clients

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Betties Creates a Custom Call Flow Blueprint for Every Law Firm

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

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

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

 

Ensure Every Call Is Handled Properly

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

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

 

Consistent Information Is Given

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

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

 

You Always Know What’s Going On With Your Phones

Never receive incomplete messages… and always receive them promptly.

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

 

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

Your dream come true?

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

 

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

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