Are you still answering your law firm’s phone with, “Law Office”? If so, we are begging you to stop! Seriously, we’re on our hands and knees over here.
Aside from not answering at all, answering the phone with “Law Office” is one of the most common mistakes we see in the handling of law firm phones.
You’re giving yourself an opportunity to be forgotten. As potential clients move down their list of law firms that might be able to help them, at least 25% of those firms will answer the phone the same exact way. This can lead to confusion and your potential client forgetting who they just spoke with. You don’t want your firm to be forgotten in a sea of law firms, right?
Now that we’re clear about what not to do, let’s talk about why and how to answer the phone in a better way.
Establish A Relationship Right Away
An important part of the client/attorney relationship is a feeling of trust and mutual respect. Whether you realize it or not, that relationship starts as soon as someone picks up the phone for your law firm! We all know that first impressions matter, and that first phone call is your chance to give a killer first impression. Don’t blow it with poor customer service, answering with a generic greeting, or by missing the call altogether.
Start your client relationships off on the right foor by answering the phone with a greeting that is friendly and announces the name of your law firm. Immediately, your client knows they reached who they intended and the call starts off with some positivity. It also helps to mention your own name so that the potential client knows who they spoke with should they need to reference it later.
Small talk is okay, but try to get straight to the point of what the caller’s needs are. Be friendly and upbeat while keeping them focused on their needs so you can understand exactly what they need help with. This avoids wasting anyone’s time and gets the potential client the help they need sooner rather than later.
Collect Your Law Firm’s Callers’ Information
Nearly nine times out of ten, law firms fail to collect full contact information from their callers. This is alarming; those callers are your leads! Leads turn into clients – don’t let them walk away.
Every call that ends without collecting information from your caller is money out the window. You are now at their will and can’t follow up to sell your legal services to them.
Not to mention, if they call back, you have no record of what happened during that initial call. Did they explain their case? Ask a question about pricing? Neglecting to record that information can cause your firm to look unprofessional and disorganized, or can frustrate your caller because they are now repeating theirself. Making this mistake has great power to turn potential clients off of your firm.
Instead of leaving your business to chance, set up an intake process that you go through for every caller. The information collected can differ between types of calls, but it’s important to set up a process for every call you may get. Document this process so that anyone who may answer the phone understands their responsibility when taking a call.
Ensure The Phone Is Always Answered
74% of potential clients contact law firms by phone but more than one third of those calls go unanswered. Partner that with the statistic that 80% of callers whose call is unanswered will not leave a message, as well as the fact that potential clients wait 3 business days on average for a response, and you’ve got lost business adding up!
The best way to capture all the business that comes your way is to always answer the phone. We understand that this isn’t possible for a busy solo attorney managing their own phones because of things like court, client appointments, and consultations. However, those reasons exemplify the necessity of dedicating someone else to your phones. Interruptions and cost/benefit aside, outsourcing your phone management is pertinent to capturing every caller and converting more callers into clients when you’re too busy too answer.
Hiring an in-house receptionist is expensive and bouncing calls between attorneys eats up valuable time that could be spent on cases. Instead, consider hiring an answering service to provide your callers with a better experience and gather all of the information you need from each potential client.
BONUS: A Few Of Our Favorite Law Firm Phone Greetings
If you need some inspiration on ways to cheerfully introduce your law firm on the phone, we’ve got you covered! Check out some of the below examples of great greetings when answering the phone.
- “Good (Morning/Afternoon), thank you for calling (Law Firm Name). How may I direct your call?”
- “Hello, you’ve reached (Law Firm Name). How can we help you today?”
- “Thank you for calling (Law Firm Name). My name is _____, how may I help you?”
- “Happy (Day of the Week)! You’ve reached (Law Firm Name). Who do I have the pleasure of speaking with?”
- “Thank you for calling (Law Firm Name). Are you calling with a new legal matter we can help you with?”