When you answer the phone, do you say hello? It was Thomas Edison who encouraged the users of his new telephone to answer it with a “hello”. Prior to that, it didn’t mean “hi”, but was used to attract attention or show surprise.
When choosing a phone answering service you should be just as interested as Thomas Edison in how they answer the phone. After all, they are talking to your clients and potential clients and representing you to them.
Read on to learn how to choose a phone answering service for your legal firm.
Why Do You Want a Phone Answering Service?
Choosing an answering service is a strategic business decision. It concerns a key interface between you and your potential and current clients. It’s important to be clear about why you are outsourcing this function.
There are a number of possible reasons for using a service. If you want to cut down on costs you need to understand your current call handling costs as well as the costs of the service. You will be interested what services they can deliver more cost-effectively than you can do, in-house.
If you are interested in increasing your capture of leads you may have very different criteria for selecting your phone answering service. You will be more interested in maximizing the times they respond to calls. You may be interested in better engagement with the potential clients.
What Services Do They Offer?
When you are clear about your aims you can evaluate the services offered by potential answering services. Services may include new-case capture, filtering incoming calls, new client intake process and more.
If you have unique needs they may be able to provide a customized solution for you. This could include the specific call answering script. Don’t be sucked in to pay extra for a customized service if the standard service meets your needs.
Is Client Intake Part of the Service?
Client intake is the process where you capture client details. It is an especially important process for you because client data is so important to you. Getting this right can be the difference between acquiring a new client or losing them.
The client intake process is also a key aspect of the client experience of your business. You could be amazing at customer service or a great lawyer but if the client intake experience is poor for the client none of that matters. The experience must be easy for the client and reflect your customer service standards and values.
Check out the client intake process including the tone and style. Ask to test it out.
Do They Answer Calls When Clients Want Them To?
You may want an answering service so you and perhaps your people can concentrate on other things. These other things might be fee-earning work. You might be great at answering the phone but should you be doing that when you could be fee-earning.
It might be important to you that you get some precious time away from the work. You need to have a break sometime. Will the service provide the service at the times you want?
Also importantly will the service be provided when your clients want it. Do they want an evening, weekends or holiday service? Are they calling when you are not there to answer?
Now Do Your Research
With a clear set of requirements, do your research. Ask around for recommendations. Check reviews.
Balance value for money considerations with the potential to grow your business more profitably. Most of all think of your answering service as a part of your business and part of the client experience.
To learn more about a phone answering service, click here.
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