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How to get Law Firm Answering Services for (Nearly) FREE

Your phone has been ringing off the hook all day long as you repeatedly hit *ignore* so you can focus on the research you’re doing for an existing client’s case. Maybe 20% of those calls leave a voicemail – 80% of callers don’t think anyone will even listen to their message. Once you have time to call those few people back who bothered to leave you a message, they let you know that they’ve already found representation.

Sound familiar?

When your phone isn’t answered, you’re losing out on clients and money. BT Business estimated in 2014 that one missed phone call averaged out to a loss of about $1575 USD. Obviously this will vary from business to business but it is an alarming amount to lose from one missed call. Don’t let this happen to you!

You don’t need to exhaust yourself and interrupt your important work to answer phone calls, though. You also don’t need to hire a full time receptionist. A legal specialized answering service may be just the thing for your firm!

How to get law firm answering services (nearly) free

When you take into account the loss that is attributed to missing a call, compared to how many calls you let go unanswered, it’s likely that just having those calls answered by Back Office Betties will actually save your firm money and will definitely save you face. At the rate noted above, you only need about 3 new clients to pay for our services for the entire year! Factor in that you won’t have unhappy customers running around declaring that you never answer the phone (Americans tell an average of 15 people about a negative experience) and you can imagine the client growth you’ll fall into.

If you’re interested in giving this option a try, our 7 day free trial is your best option to make sure it’s a fit. Simply enter in some information about your firm so that we know how to answer the phone, who to transfer certain calls to, and what format you prefer for messages. We will then contact you to set up your service and your phone calls will no longer go unanswered!

If for any reason you decide that this service isn’t for you, feel free to cancel right then and there. Once you see the benefits and start hearing the feedback on how professional your firm sounds now, though, we will be here to continue answering your calls and create relationships with your new clients.

Our services are offered through a few different plans, and we never round up, so you aren’t paying us for more time than you actually need.

How many of your calls go unanswered each day?

Find us on social media and let us know!

The Definitive Guide to Hiring an Answering Service

What even is an answering service? Why would a business hire one? Wouldn’t my clients be able to tell they didn’t actually reach my office?

Answering services aren’t a new concept but they are still mysterious. If you’ve ever wondered if you should hire an answering service or virtual receptionist, read on! Back Office Betties is taking this opportunity to answer all of your burning questions, and more.

What is an answering service?

An answering service is a company that answers any incoming calls for your business. They can answer FAQs, schedule appointments, and transfer important calls to you when necessary.

Why should I hire an answering service?

Businesses hire answering services for all different reasons, but the common denominator is that it will save you time. By having someone else answer your phones, you are no longer a slave to your phone and can focus on your actual work.

Answering Service vs Receptionist

If you haven’t hired a receptionist yet, you probably have avoided it due to the cost, right? Receptionists need office space, computer equipment, salary, paid time off, etc.

If you have a business that has constant traffic through your doors, a receptionist may be the right option for you because you need someone greeting people anyway. But for small businesses that don’t have that traffic, an answering service may be the route to go.

An answering service can do everything that a receptionist does (except sit at a desk in your office, of course) for a much lower cost. There is no overhead, no paid time off, and no supplying of equipment.

Answering services offer different services depending on which company you choose to work with, but some of the most popular services offered are:

  • Call Screening (buh-bye solicitors!)
  • Client Intake
  • Appointment Scheduling
  • Calendar Management
  • Answering of FAQs
  • Transfer of Urgent Calls
  • Message Forwarding

Can my clients tell you’re not in my office?

Ah, onto the real burning question! This one depends. If you choose an answering service that bounces back and forth between different types of businesses, maybe. If you choose one that operates like a call center, probably. Choose a niched answering service that specializes in your type of small business and it’s highly unlikely.

Back Office Betties specializes in small law firms and, unless your client is standing in your office when they call, they will not even know the difference!

What should I look for in an answering service?

When looking into hiring someone to answer your phones and assist your business, you want to be sure that the company you are contemplating will offer everything you need.

Can they set appointments? Can they fill out a client intake form? Are they able to send your phone messages to you immediately? What about email management? Do they integrate with your current processes? Can they set up new, more effective processes?

The best way to make sure that these things can all be taken care of is to ensure that you are actually hiring a company that offers virtual receptionist services. Virtual receptionist services are elevated answering services, and can really let you get back to the work that only YOU can do.

Before hiring, check out their reviews

Now that you know to look for a niched virtual receptionist, head to some review sites and see what other businesses in your field have to say. Google reviews are always reliable, but there are also many niched review websites, such as Lawyerist, that can give you a firm grasp on what your colleagues think of any specific company.

Take advantage of a free trial!

Once you’ve narrowed it down to c0uple of companies you would like to potentially work with, sign up for the free trial. A great virtual receptionist service will offer one long enough to actually see the benefits of their service. Back Office Betties offers a 7-Day Free Trial to give you a really firm grasp on what we can do to help you save time and money, while upping your productivity.

 

Good luck on your journey to hiring an answering service!

 

Avoid this #1 Bar Complaint

Client satisfaction keeps us all in business. When we fail to meet the needs of our clients, they complain. In the case of Law, clients can file their grievances with the bar. By making this one mistake, you put yourself and your firm at risk. Read on to find out more about this number one bar complaint and how you can avoid it.

Number One Bar Complaint

Per this statistical analysis found in the files of Mitchell Hamline School of Law, “The most common complaint nationwide is a ‘failure to communicate.’ Attorneys must communicate with their clients…”

Read that again. The number one complaint nationwide is a failure to communicate.

Page 648 of this journal reinforces the rule that states:

A lawyer shall: (1) promptly inform the client of any decision or circumstance with respect to which the client’s informed consent, as defined in Rule 1.0(e), is required by these Rules; (2) reasonably consult with the client about the means by which the client’s objectives are to be accomplished; (3) keep the client reasonably informed about the status of the matter; (4) promptly comply with reasonable requests for information; and (5) consult with the client about any relevant limitation on the lawyer’s conduct when the lawyer knows that the client expects assistance not permitted by the Rules of Professional Conduct or other law.107

Keeping your clients in the loop should be a no-brainer, but sometimes your workload is too heavy and you just do not have the time to answer every call.

So how do you avoid this complaint?

Avoiding the Number One Bar Complaint

Clearly, your clients just want to be in the loop on their law-related matters. We’ve listed out a few ways to help ease the communication frustrations below.

  1. Use your support staff.

    Clients don’t always need to speak with the attorney. Often times, they just want to know a status update. This is a great opportunity to have your receptionist return the call and provide a quick update such as, “We have not heard back yet, but expect to have a reply within four weeks. We will call you as soon as we receive an update.”

  2. Protect your time.

    Your time is precious. Don’t get bogged down by stacks of phone messages! Have your receptionist set up return calls. Many of our clients use a time blocking system and return calls during a specific block of time each day.

    • Tip: Use a timer at meetings. Let clients know that out of respect for their time and your schedule, you will be setting a timer up to avoid accidentally running over. This sets the tone with the client that your time is also valuable. The meeting will start and end on time, saving you from time vampires.
  3. Set expectations.

    If you are unable to promptly return a call, let the client know when they can expect a return call, then follow up on time as promised.

If you already have a receptionist, consider passing these tips on to them so they can help you help your clients. If you haven’t hired a receptionist and are finding yourself feeling overwhelmed by the volume of calls you receive, give Back Office Betties a try with our free trial.

 

Betties Book Brief

Want a massive social following in your business?  Who wouldn’t!

Back Office Betties had the great pleasure of reading One Million Followers by Brendan Kane and we just had to share it with all of you!  Kane gives great insight on how to take advantage of many different social media platforms.  His growth hacks for your business and your brand make this book a must read.

Betties Take-a-Ways

This book has a wealth of knowledge!  Here are our top 5 take-a-ways pertaining to Facebook:

  • Facebook is used to share more content than email or any other online social platform. No matter how many followers you have, Facebook only shows content to 2-5% of your audience.  What’s the determining factor?  How engaging and relevant your content is.  Your content must resonate with your audience.
  • Create ads specifically to get more likes/followers on your page. Be careful not to limit your demographics when testing ads.  A great example was given about Chatbooks in the book.  They wanted to target mom’s 45 years or older who liked scrap-booking, photography, and motherhood in a Mother’s Day ad.  Instead of age targeting, they used a broad range on age and found that younger people were sharing the ads with their moms to start a conversation.  This in turn created an organic reach to the intended demographic.
  • Have a great headline with a great hook point. Ask yourself, if your potential customer is walking down the street and passes a newsstand with 100 articles, what headline would they stop to read?  It should be relevant, interesting, and meet the needs of your audience.
  • If you do ads on Facebook, do not raise the spend limit if the ad is doing well.  Facebook will reset the cost in auction and your costs will increase.  Instead, duplicate the ad and create a new one.  It’s recommended to have a budget of $11 to $25 daily on ads.  For the most part, your page ads should not cost more than $0.10 per ‘like’.
  • Use the 80/20 rule when posting.  Make sure 80% of the time your content is share worthy and 20% of the time your asking for a sale or promoting your business.

Believe us when we say this is just the tip of the iceberg on all the information given.  It also features in-depth interviews from marketing experts, celebrities, and influencers.  This book could be helpful taking your firm to the next level you’ve been wanting!

Back Office Betties

Social Media: Content is King!

 

Mastering the art of social media can be tricky, especially when you’re not sure what to be posting. What should we be sharing? How do we keep our customers engaged? These are the questions that can keep a person up at night!

Well…. maybe not that extreme, but it can be stressful trying to run successful business and your social media accounts.

5 Things You Should Do When Posting

Check out these quick tips for posting good social media content:

  • Post information that you think is valuable to your customers. In order to do that you must know and understand your customers. Who are they? What are their demographics? Why are they following you? Don’t be afraid to ask them directly what kind of content they want to see more of!
  • Share posts with a variety of information. Share articles you were featured in, press releases, or links to your blog posts. Also post articles you find interesting, videos, photos, or stories. Stay engaged and be willing to branch out on your topics.
  • Try not to over post or under post. This is a fine line to walk, and it’s all about balance.
  • Prepare a social media content calendar. Planning will prevent the day to day stress of trying to figure out something to post so you can focus more time on the quality of your content.
  • Begin or end your posts with questions. This will get your followers engaged and potentially generate comments. Which will further help you learn more about your customers/ followers.

Social media doesn’t have to be scary or intimidating. It’s just another tool at our disposal to network and market. Offer content that you yourself would want to read.

Most importantly, have fun with it and keep it interesting!

Back Office Betties

Your Social Media Accounts

Personal vs. professional social media accounts… how do we navigate managing all of our profiles!? The answer… very carefully. On our professional accounts we carefully choose the pictures we post, we write and rewrite captions, and we make sure what we share aligns with our company morals and values. If you think your personal profiles should be treated any differently, you’re wrong.

Even though your personal social media account may serve a different purpose – staying in touch with family, friends, etc.; it is still a reflection of you and your business.  People want to connect to others and create value in their relationships, this includes business as well.  Trust value is a big component of consumers.  According to Edelman Trust Barometer, 63% of people agree with this statement: “A good reputation may get me to try a product—but unless I come to trust the company behind the product I will soon stop buying it, regardless of its reputation.”   And it doesn’t just stop at the company level.  Consumers are more likely to do their research on people within companies due to the unlimited access of information they have at their fingertips.

Social Media Tips

The following are a few tips for how you can avoid damaging your image via social media:

  • When it comes to supporting causes, the more controversial it is, the more conflict-ridden it will be. We’re not saying to never support a controversial cause, but beware that it may impact business, even if it is only on personal social media accounts.
  • Avoid sharing any snaps that are inappropriate and may involve alcohol, nudity, or profanity. It tends to not land well with customers.
  • Try not to post too much. Posting several times a day is annoying and comes off like you have nothing else going on. This goes for your personal AND professional accounts.

As your business thrives, there will be an eye on you within your social media platforms.  It’s important to keep your content light, fun, but still professional and appropriate.

Back Office Betties

Building Your Audience Through Social Media

Learning how to grow your social media presence can be kind of a mystery, especially when running your business social media isn’t your main job… running your business is! Regardless of how intimidating it may appear, it’s important to be working towards continually building your social media audiences. Should it be your main goal in life? Of course not. But it can be a huge factor in growing your business, and it’s free to use it! So why not utilize it?

Quick Tips for Building an Audience

The following are a few sweet and simple ways you can expand your social media presence and start growing your followers:

  • Use hashtags. This is especially helpful for Instagram! And not just two or three, go for at minimum 10, and put them in the comments to make them less obnoxious to your followers.
  • Add links to your profiles. This could be links to anything- your website, a cause you are supporting, an article your brand was featured in, etc. Any link that shares a little more about your brand and your values is what you want to be sharing.
  • Have consistent visual branding. What’s your brand aesthetic? What vibe are you trying to send? Be consistent so your audience understands what you are all about. Plus, consistent visual branding is just attractive to the eye. You audience will also remember you.
  • Run a giveaway! This is a great way to spread the word about your brand. Something as simple as “To enter this giveaway follow us and tag two friends in the comments” is going to get people excited about you and really expand your audience.
  • Reply to comments on your pictures and messages. Get to know your followers, don’t be afraid or hesitant to engage with them! This also sends the message to your followers that you care about them and that you are listening.

Start with Basics

Obviously, there are a ton of ways you can analyze your social media accounts by reviewing data, apps, and analytics to understand what you can be doing better.  But when you are a small business owner, just start with the basics! It doesn’t always have to be a science, sometimes it just involves putting in a bit more effort and engaging your audience a little more.

Don’t be afraid of social media, it is nothing more than another tool to grow your brand and interact with others.

Are You Unstoppable?

March’s Book Brief highlight is Unstoppable by Dave Anderson! This amazing book is all about how your mindset, when coupled with action, can greatly change your performance in your career. Dave Anderson breaks down the 4 different types of employees:

  • The Undertaker: Performance is below baseline, and they achieve nothing meaningful. This can include high achievers who win by violating values.
  • The Caretaker: They do just enough to get by and collect a paycheck.
  • The Playmaker: These people have what it takes to become Game Changers but aren’t quite there yet. Playmakers are more motivated by external factors, excessive affirmation, and personal glory. They have to celebrate every win and are more wrapped up in their own success rather than the success of the team.
  • The Game Changer: They are intrinsically motivated, they do ordinary extraordinary well, and are great cultural fits. They are committed to self -improvement, they want feedback from others, and they don’t see themselves as victims but products of their daily choices and efforts.

Are You A Game Changer?

So clearly, we should all be striving towards being Game Changers, but that can be easier said than done, especially without guidance. Well,

fortunately for us, Unstoppable provides a roadmap to Game Changer status:

  • Start with the “why”. What do you want to do? Do you want to inspire others? Do you want to help others succeed? What motivates you and pushes you? What inspires you?
  • Live life in the zone. Know where you excel and spend time in this zone perfecting those skills. This is called the zone of excellence. You should spend more time in the zone of excellence. When you leave your zone, snap back into it faster.
  • A.P.E– Attitude, Passion, and Enthusiasm. Having a good attitude, passion, and enthusiasm for what you do will determine how well you do it. The more A.P.E you have, the more dedicated you will be.
  • Have mental toughness. Have faith that what you are fighting for is worth every ounce of effort. Faith is what gets you back up when you fall. Faith turns criticism into helpful feedback. It’s what keeps you moving toward your goals!

Being a Game Changer isn’t easy, nothing that involves practicing discipline over your mindset is. But having discipline is what turns unexceptional into extraordinary, and there is no other way we should be living our lives!

Back Office Betties

Know Your Position When Playing the Game

It is human nature to always be searching for something better, the proverbial ‘grass is always greener on the other side’. We might have fooled ourselves into believing that a constant search for success is what will eventually get us there, but this mindset is what is limiting us in our businesses.

Basketball pro Bill Walton believed hyper focusing on your weaknesses does nothing but chew up time that could be spent sharpening your strengths. The truth is, there are just some things we aren’t good at, and we never will be. But there is a silver lining; there are things we are great at that other people aren’t. And it is these things we should be focusing on.

Stick with What You Know

So how do we do this? It is as simple as sticking with what you know, and really pushing yourself towards improvement in those areas. This was a lesson I learned the long and hard way, but when I finally realized I don’t have to be good at everything, I was really liberated. You have employees and coworkers for a reason! Each person has a set of unique skills and abilities, and like a puzzle, they can fill the gaps you can’t.

In the game of basketball, one person isn’t responsible for every position on the court. If so, there would be no game, it would be constant failure, especially when competing with teams who operate like a well-oiled machine. So, it’s silly to think different rules apply when it comes to our businesses.

Push yourself outside your comfort zone with your strengths. Be more than just “good” at your strengths… be great!  If you’re point guard, then be the best point guard you can be, and stop trying to master the role of playing the forward. You have what it takes to be successful, so start applying those skills!

Back Office Betties

Teamwork: What Every Law Firm Needs

In the spirit of March Madness, we are focusing on teamwork!  There is a lot we can learn from professional basketball teams and their strategies to create a more cohesive unit.

Teamwork Strategies

Here is how you can practically apply basketball teamwork strategies in your law firm:

Have a leader: Every great team must have a leader who is out there on the court with them. Think Steph Curry or Lebron James. Be a servant- leader, who leads by example and inspires others.

Start the day with a huddle: Huddling is not just for sports teams, it applies to any and every type of team. It gets the group ready, prepared, inspired, pumped, and excited to tackle the day.

Practice drills: This strategy is particularly helpful with customer service-related interactions. Practice makes perfect and performing practice drills together can allow for peer to peer constructive criticism making it a great learning experience.

Regularly do team building exercises: For a professional basketball team, just about every exercise is for team building purposes. That is how they become so in-tune with one another. If you want your firm to be more cohesive, to know one another better, and to increase communication; then give them fun activities (not related to work) to complete together. This will help everyone to relax and reveal personality traits, strengths, and weaknesses.

Learn from failed teamwork: Failure is okay! It’s when we don’t learn from it that it becomes a problem. You may face times where you don’t work together and didn’t have the awareness that you hoped for. Maybe more strategy is needed! Take what you learned from your failures and apply it for the future

Working as a team is important in every firm, no matter how big or small. If you want your employees to fit in with your business culture and reflect company goals and values… start with trying some teamwork strategies!