Five Reasons Law Firms Need An Answering Service

Being available to potential new clients is key to growing your business, but it can be hard to help your existing clients, run a successful firm, keep new leads coming in and pay attention to prospects calling at the same time. 

Some firms make do with a standard business-hours-only receptionist and messaging service. Some senior partners carry around the office-line cell phone, so they can try to answer every call. Here are five reasons why having a 24/7 answering service for your firm can help you maximize your firm’s potential and convert more leads.

1. Around-the-clock coverage

A business-hours-only receptionist isn’t going to take a call from an accident victim at 10 p.m. immediately after their accident, and neither is a sleeping senior partner. Accidents don’t stick to a set schedule. If you want to convert new leads, you have to be ready to take every call when it comes in, regardless of whether the office is open or not. 

According to a study done by the American Bar Association, about a third of prospective client calls are not answered by a person at all. That means that roughly 1 in 3 people who call looking for legal help get no response but an automated recording. That is potential income walking out the door. 

Another study by Google that focused on how people purchase things online found that although most people search for businesses online when it comes to making the actual purchase, people want to talk to a real person, especially if the purchase is important to them. This study found that 61% of people will “click to call” a business when they’re ready to purchase goods or services, either because they have a quick question about what they’re buying or just because they want to talk to a live person. Having someone available after hours is essential for converting these potential clients.

2. Lower cost

Hiring an intake brings all the inherent costs of onboarding and training new employees. You have to do everything yourself. Hiring, training, payroll, insurance, benefits, and coverage for time off can all take a large toll on your business, both in terms of lost time and lost money. 

Outsourcing answering duties to a professional service saves your business the time and money required to bring on a new full or part-time employee. While you are busy running your firm and helping your existing clients, an answering service can work in the background converting leads at a substantial cost savings to you.

Many answering services have a wide array of service packages that can be custom-fit to your firm’s needs. Often, these services will pay for themselves after converting only one or two leads.

3. Better organization

The study by the ABA referenced above had a few more interesting statistics to share: on 45% of initial calls to a law firm, the firm did not collect a return phone number. That’s nearly one-half of all potential new clients. And it doesn’t stop there. On 86% of initial incoming calls, no email address was collected. That is a staggering number. 

If you have an on-site receptionist, you’ll likely want them to handle additional duties and responsibilities to maximize their effectiveness while they’re on the job. They’ll probably have standard receptionist duties as well as office management and clerical work, all of which can act as distractions when they’re talking to potential new clients. 

With an outsourced answering service taking incoming calls, you have a professional speaking to new leads whose sole purpose is to convert those leads to clients. They will follow a set procedure, ask the questions that need asking, and get the information you need to convert leads.

Many answering services also provide you with recordings of every call they take, so you can confirm contact information and follow up. Instead of a note on a notepad with a name and a number that was jotted down in a rush, you get the caller’s info presented to you in a clean, easy-to-reference format for every call.

4. Increased volume

One person can only handle so many incoming calls. If a receptionist gets five calls at one time, they have to work with what they’ve got and either place potential clients on hold or take a message and get back to them. This is bad for everyone involved. 

Studies have shown that no one likes being placed on hold when calling a new business, especially one with several competitors that can do the same job. Law firms are particularly bad at this, as the study linked above showed that the law firms in the study put people on hold for an average of over 36 seconds, about seven seconds longer than the national average. 

Information can also get easily mixed up when one person is dealing with several callers. Names and numbers can be incorrectly written, and a set intake or lead qualification procedure can go out the window when you’ve got four lines on hold.

Hiring an answering service means that someone is available to answer all the calls, all the time. Instead of one receptionist trying to keep up with a high call volume day, you’ve got multiple qualified leads ready for follow up, and multiple potential clients that received the professional treatment they deserve. It’s a win-win.

5. Customization

An answering service will let you pick what services you’d like to use and can increase intake efficiency. If you just need someone to answer phones and take down basic contact information during business hours, you have many options. But answering services can usually provide far more value than just picking up the phone.

Part of what makes these services good for law firms is lead qualification. You provide them with a set of questions they need to ask every caller, and they will do just that for every call. They can help you maximize the amount of time you spend on qualified leads and leave the window shoppers to someone else.

They can also help you get feedback on marketing efforts. An answering service can ask questions regarding how callers heard about your firm, helping you determine which aspects of your marketing plan are working and which aren’t. 

If you want to make sure every call to your firm is handled professionally and guarantee more referrals and good reviews, an answering service may be the best option. 

Client Chat Live has been helping law firms get more clients since 2008. Contact us today to see how our live chat will look on your website and to get a free quote. We’re here to increase your firm’s response time and convert more of your website’s visitors to qualified leads.