The receptionist answering your phones serves as the first impression of your legal practice, but how often is he or she distracted by other calls, in-office clients, or administrative tasks? If your office is like most practices the answer is all too often, but your practice suffers if each incoming call isn’t handled professionally and promptly. Consider the top 3 ways mishandled calls can send the wrong impression and erode a practice’s reputation.
Missed calls or long hold times.
Research has shown that if callers are directed to voice mail or put on hold for more than 30 seconds, more than a third of them will hang up and not call back. This is particularly true when potential clients are calling an attorney’s office. Even though they understand that a legal practice is likely to be busy, they also want to know that their needs will be a priority. If your staff is too busy to answer phone calls in a timely manner, clients intuitively assume that office visits and probably even urgent matters will also involve frustrating delays.
Calls are mishandled, or directed to the wrong person.
No doubt you’ve heard horror stories about a client in distress who called an attorney’s office but didn’t receive a call back until much later or was transferred to the wrong staff person. It goes without saying that time is of the essence when it comes to many legal issues, but if you don’t have a plan in place for calls to be handled thoroughly and quickly, your practice—not to mention your clients— will suffer.
Client information isn’t secure.
Be sure to choose a call center whose agents are trained to be sensitive to client confidentiality. Not all call centers require this of their agents, but your clients and your practice deserve the protection. Professional answering service receptionists will ensure that your operating procedures and practice guidelines are met and that your clients’ legal information is kept confidential. A top answering service will also record all calls and responses and log the information so that you know who called, when, and exactly how the call was handled.
For example, Voice Link of Columbus, Inc. uses secure communication tools that enable legal providers to manage client information confidentially. Attorneys can send secure messages to staff members within their practice, and can also attach dictation on the message.
Phone calls are the first line of your practice’s reputation. How each call is handled is an opportunity to instill comfort and trust in the caller, not frustration and distrust. With a live answering service, clients are greeted by professional agents who answer the phone with the name of the attorney’s practice and follow the practice’s protocols on gathering and giving out information. All calls are answered promptly, no matter the time of day or night.
Outsourcing your calls will ensure that your clients are attended to with care and compassion, 24/7, 365 days a year. Voice link offers 26 years of experience in legal and healthcare answering services and provides customer service that exceeds your expectations. Request information online or call us at (800) 262-2799 for a free consultation.
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