In this feature we look at why call answering services for solicitors are vital if you are serious about growing your law firm.
As a former solicitor, having worked inside law firms since 1991, and since 2003 working in my consultancy business on growing law firms full time, I have called a lot of law firms, and tested a lot of my clients call handling.
With that said, let me now explain why you should 100%, unequivocally and immediately outsource your call answering.
1. How Most Solicitors Deal With Call Answering
Initially the call comes into reception, where the receptionist, or two or more in larger firms, are not only dealing with telephone calls, but often clients attending the law firm, staff asking questions, photocopying etc.
Invariably, when a call comes in, they are already doing something else and the call goes unanswered.
What happens next?
The ring around the office for the secretaries to pick up the telephone.
Are those secretaries sitting there, doing nothing at all, waiting for the telephone to ring?
No, certainly not.
So again, a potential new prospect is left waiting.
And think about that new prospect for a moment.
To get a new prospect to pick up the telephone to enquire about your services costs anything from £50 to £500 in marketing and administration costs.
Will that prospect wait for the 20 to 50 seconds it takes for you to answer the telephone?
Not in this day and age.
They will hit the back button on their browser and head off to the next law firm in the list. If they answer the telepone quickly, they will win the instruction, as the poor prospect cannot bear to go through the process of calling another solicitors practice to be ignored…
Even if the prospect is the most patient, and someone does finally pick up the telephone, the next thing to delay turning that caller into a client is that your fee earners go out of their way to avoid talking to the prospect because they are busy, in the loo, at court etc, so the prospect has to wait for a call back. Again, they will not wait, and why should they?
You might think that I am exaggerating the point, but I can assure you from having called over 100 law firms in the last few years, I am not.
One of my favourite things to do is to call my new clients main telephone number when on my onboarding call with them.
Let me share with you how this usually goes…
ME: “How are you at answering your phones?”
SOLICITOR: “Oh, we never miss a call.”
ME: “OK, let me test that.”
Phone rings, rings and rings, then either rings out or goes to answerphone.
SOLICITOR: “Well, that never usually happens, it was a one off.”
ME: Repeats process, same outcome.
SOLICITOR: “Well, if we do miss a call we call back anyone who leaves a message.”
ME: “But most people will not leave a message. If the first call with their prospective solicitor goes to answerphone, what do they think their customer experience is going to be like the if they instruct them?”
SOLICITOR: “We don’t have a call answering problem.”
ME: Tear more hair out. “You very much do, but let’s not argue the point. Let’s just try diverting it for two weeks to a call centre and see if your enquiry volumes go up.”
TWO WEEKS later and enquiry volumes are up from 33 – 50%.
SOLICITOR: “OK, let’s keep the call answering service going then.”
Like I say, this is far from a one off.
If you do not believe that you have a telephone answering problem, try calling your office line at various times of the day.
Bear in mind also, that a call centre will answer the telephone usually at least between 8am to 8pm, so that if you are not at your office, they can be booking in prospects to speak with you when you are next back in, automatically, without any input from you, saving you thousands in lost prospect income!
2. How Solicitors Should Deal With Call Answering
You obtain a new telephone number just for your website (it costs peanuts).
This telephone number redirects to the call centre for all new enquiries.
All existing clients continue to use your usual telephone number.
The call centre receive all enquiries, take down the details on a special form on your website so that you can track what they are doing for you (and have the prospect details in front of you when they are transferred).
Good prospects are immediately transferred to the right team for conversion, sales calls are completely avoided saving your team time, effort and energy.
You receive more prospect enquiries than you were doing with your old in-house call answering system, and more importantly, convert more of those enquiries into new clients because they are dealt with efficiently and professionally from the start.
Which Telephone Answering Service For Lawyers/Solicitors
There are many companies offering these services for lawyers, some huge ones with big budgets, some smaller, independent ones.
I find the smaller independent ones are far more flexible and more cost effective.
If you would like to be introduced to the one that I have vetted and recommend, please click here to request an email introduction:>>