There is more to professional phone answering than just being warm and courteous. It is also essential to ensure that your receptionist picks each call within the first three rings. Most importantly, your clients need assurance of receiving the much-needed assistance with inquiries, appointment booking, follow-ups, and more. If you lack an in-house receptionist or your criminal defense law firm receives more calls than your switch-board operator can handle, professional answering services can come in handy.
Dive right in, and let’s unveil the secrets behind reliable call answering services. We will discuss how virtual receptionists practice emotional intelligence to ensure unmatched customer satisfaction and also how they collect client data to help organize your to-do calendar.
Ready? Let’s get started!
Legal Answering Service Overview: The What, Where, When, Why, and How
If you are new to seeking legal answering services, here is an overview that will help you find a dependable service provider and set realistic expectations.
What Is An Attorney Answering Service?
An answering service can be best described as a specialized call center focused on meeting a specific industry’s needs. Criminal defense firm’s answering services will therefore focus on matching the needs of your firm, ensuring you:
- Never miss a call, grasp new business opportunities.
- Give each caller a live human voice to interact with.
- Avoid interruptions when busy.
- Maintain a good image through consistency and professionalism.
- Dodge the overhead costs of maintaining a team of in-house receptionists.
- Provide outstanding customer support to new and existing clients.
Where Are Virtual Receptionists Located?
Answering services for criminal defense firms can be situated anywhere globally, including right here in the United States. However, virtual assistants are trained to give clients the perception of someone answering calls from your company’s reception desk. If you find excellent service, no one will know that your criminal defense firm has outsourced call answering services.
When Are Legal Answering Services Available?
Attorney answering services are accessible 24/7/365. You can choose from a range of service packages designed to suit different law firms’ needs and objectives. If you so wish, you can have an agent ready to receive your calls even during the holidays and weekends.
Why Does Your Criminal Defense Law Firm Need An Answering Service?
Criminal defense lawyers are busy all year round. If they are not in court representing a client, they are possibly doing intense research and strategizing how to represent another client. When your team is busy doing what they do best, the last thing you want is to distract them with calls from both clients and telemarketers.
Additionally, maintaining an in-house receptionist is not cheap. Even if your law firm can manage to hire one, you may still need extra assistance for call overflows. You need an answering service to ensure the client calls you cannot answer are always picked. This will, by extension, help to expand your client base and keep existing clients happy.
How Will An Answering Service Benefit Your Criminal Defense Law Firm?
There are more than a few key benefits your law firm will enjoy once you invest in the best answering service. Apart from the fact that your firm will doll up its image and take full advantage of new clients who make their first contact through calls, you will also allow your team to focus on practicing law. The last thing you want is for your highly-paid attorneys to spend the better part of their days taking client calls, scheduling appointments, and jotting down messages.
With an answering service, your team will only receive urgent calls. The virtual assistants will then update their work calendars, allowing them to contact and address the needs of other clients when they are not busy. This ensures that your lawyers and advocates can focus on the tasks at hand and follow a to-do list for enhanced productivity.
Understanding How Virtual Receptionists Practice Emotional Intelligence When Interacting With Customers
Unlike other law firms, criminal defense firms are more prone to receiving calls from clients who are frustrated, scared, or in a panic. It makes it essential to give an excellent first impression to keep the customer at ease and offer assurance that they will receive dependable assistance.
The first trick that helps with stress management is to ensure clients don’t spend time sitting on hold. It is also necessary to transfer them to the right department the first time. Frustrated customers who are already at the end of their fuse are likely to drop the call and run to your competitors the instant you start taking them round in circles.
Here is how professional virtual receptionists practice emotional intelligence to build strong customer relationships and, by extension, increase your positive reviews and client loyalty while expanding your customer base.
Find Out What a Customer Needs
Again, criminal defense law firms receive calls from excited, frustrated, confused, or even agitated clients. Some clients don’t mind a friendly chat, while others want you to go straight to answering their questions. Skilled virtual assistants are trained to gauge the situation to determine the best way to respond.
In the absence of body language, understanding how a client feels requires the receptionist to practice reflective listening. This is a technique only mastered by the pros. It allows them to understand what a customer is saying and interpret the message in detail. In return, an expert can devise a suitable and helpful course of action.
Provide In-Depth Information
Irrespective of the mood of a customer, he or she requires specific needs addressed. While a virtual receptionist may not be able to address these needs directly, providing context and in-depth information about a particular topic puts the client to ease, creating a smoother and more satisfactory customer experience.
In this case, transparency means everything. Reliable virtual assistants always aim at providing accurate information. When scheduling an appointment, for instance, the professional will outline the due steps of booking a date and time. Clear information assures clients that they are in good hands.
Even a client who comes up with a question from outer space requires quick answers that quickly resolve specific problems. Fortunately, a professional answering service will have proficient virtual receptionists who don’t depend solely on their script.
Experts take it upon themselves to expand their knowledge of the industry. Again, this may not put them in a position to directly provide the services of criminal defense lawyers but can equip them with what it takes to ensure clients don’t remain on hold for longer than necessary. A shorter hold time will enhance the overall quality of the customer support your criminal defense law firm provides.
Personalize Each Call
Callers come with all sorts of moods and emotions, making their overall needs as different as day and night. While an upset caller needs an empathetic answering agent at the end of a line, a frustrated one requires quality support. It takes connecting with a caller to ensure they feel heard by the end of the call.
More often than not, going off-script is necessary. This gives the caller a sense of talking to an authentic representative of a criminal defense firm.
Don’t get me wrong; a script is still a valuable tool that gives each call direction. It gives a proper reflection of your company’s brand and ensures that certain basic needs of the customer and the law firm are met. Even so, strictly following the script may sometimes cripple the odds of creating a personal connection with the caller.
Trained virtual receptionists solely use the script as a guide. They then personalize the call to create real conversations with customers and, by extension, prevent sounding robotic.
When searching for the right answering service for your criminal law firm, it is always a good idea to do several mock calls with the agents before signing any contracts. The idea is to evaluate their communication skills and reasoning to affirm that they can also provide stress management and demonstrate empathy when interacting with your customers.
Competent agents provide answering services that show that your law firm cares about its clients. The virtual receptionists have high emotional intelligence (EI), which enables them to show that they are human. By using empathetic phrases and asking questions, they can get through to different clients and provide dependable assistance.
Answering Service Client Data Collection and Reporting
A well-established answering service for criminal defense law firms will offer a whole range of services under one roof. These services include:
- Live online chat support
- Overflow call support
- Message taking
- Appointment scheduling
- Call forwarding/ transfer
- information collection, and more
Each call will generate information that is crucial to your customer retention efforts. This information will help you understand your customers’ needs and know how to address them for your firm to expand its client base and maintain the best possible image.
Some of the data calls generate include:
- A caller’s name
- Client phone number/caller ID number
- Date and time of a call
- Messages based on the needs of each caller
Even the best virtual assistants can only provide as much help to your customers. In the end, you need a report that compiles the information gathered during each call. This will allow you and your team to meet the needs of clients who want to schedule a consultation, seeking legal representation, book appointments, and more.
Without debate, the data collected from calls is only helpful to your firm if you can receive it promptly and take action. The best answering service will allow you to choose how you want to access this data.
Here is how you can opt to receive client data from calls:
- Through real-time reports
- In a raw data form
- Through call recordings
- From CRM software you can access at any time, from any location
- Through pop-up notifications on a mobile app
- Through SMS and text messaging
- Through encrypted or standard email
Generally speaking, answering services provide client portals that allow criminal defense law firms to review their account usage, update agent scripts, and even run reports. These portals are windows that make it easy to access, manage, and modify your account depending on how you want virtual receptionists to represent your firm or interact with your customers. However, the best answering service will also provide a sure means of delivering urgent messages to ensure no lost opportunities.
Is There A Limit To The Number Of Phone Calls An Attorney Answering Service Can Handle Each Day?
No. The beauty of investing in legal answering services is their ability to handle high volume calls 24/7/365. For you to enjoy dependable assistance, consider the volume of calls your firm receives on average and choose a service package that suits your needs.
It is perfectly okay to choose a service package that is just right for your criminal defense law firm. In case you exceed the minute allowance within the package you choose, all additional call minutes are charged as per your base rate.
Do I Need After Hour Call Answering Services?
Legal issues don’t wait for regular office hours. They can pop up at any time of day or night, forcing people to seek legal representation during the oddest of hours. With an answering service, you can ensure that your criminal defense law firm converts each new caller into a new client.
I Have An In-house Receptionist; Do I Still Need Attorney Answering Services?
Yes, you do. Unless you have a whole team of in-house virtual receptionists, you still need a legal answering service to handle call overflow.
Clients today are more demanding and most of them will hang up if their call is not answered by the 4th ring. Moreover, most people seeking legal assistance will run straight to your competition if they are directed to voicemail. An answering service ensures that you don’t miss opportunities for failing to answer client calls.
Operating With a Criminal Defense Law Firm Answering Service
Good first impressions don’t just happen— at least not over the phone. In this case, how each call is answered and the quality of assistance a virtual receptionist can provide will determine the kind of image that is left in the mind of a caller. For your criminal defense law firm to provide exceptional customer support, find an answering service that not only picks calls within the first three rings but also upholds practices that make clients feel heard and valued.