Why Law Firm Receptionists Can Ruin Your Marketing Efforts

I don’t hate a lot.

I always remember telling my children not to use that word – it is too strong.

My other mind blowing advice as a father was telling them to drink more water; it fixes everything.

“I have a bad stomach” – drink some water.Why Law Firm Receptionists Can Ruin Your Marketing Efforts

“I have a bad head” – drink some water.

“I’ve burned myself” – drink some water whilst running your hand under the tap.

Parent of the year, me.

I called to arrange for a quote for some double glazed windows recently.

I have used the company a couple of times before; the owner used to live opposite me.

This was my conversation:

“Hello, I would like someone to come around to quote for some double glazed windows.”

“OK, have you used us before?”

“Yes”.

“Who came round to quote for you?”

“I have no idea and I don’t mind who comes, I would just like a price as soon as possible please.”

“Well, I need to know who to send out. Hold on while I find out who you saw last time” sigh follows as she realises she now needs to pull up the database because this useless customer doesn’t know who came to quote for him 6 years ago…

I duly held.

Some minutes later I was proudly told that “Steve” had come around, so he would have to be the one to come around again.

Several minutes of my life lost whilst the receptionist dealt with their internal procedures.

All that she needed to say was, “OK Mr Jervis let me take your telephone number and someone will call you back to arrange a visit.”

What I hate is the ‘business prevention police’ who usually lurk on reception desks, not only in double glazed window companies but frequently in law firms too.

If I have done my job correctly and made my clients telephone ring, the last thing I want the potential client to hear is any of these:

  • What’s your reference number? I am a new prospect, I do not have one and this isn’t a very friendly start to my experience of your law firm…
  • Which fee earner do you want to speak to? I have absolutely no idea. I don’t know which of your ‘fee earners’ deals with my type of legal challenge. To be honest, you lost me at ‘fee earner’. That has to be one of the most disgraceful terms in existence. It tells me as a client what you want from me (my money) and your solicitor what you want from them (make me money).
  • Ring ring, ring ring, ring ring, break in ringing (whilst redirected to 5 other telephones), ring ring, ring ring, ring ring (whilst the other people on the back up call list fight not to answer the telephone)…. Hangs up.
  • Which office are you trying to speak to? I have no idea, I just have a legal matter and want to talk to someone about it.

Bad telephone answering systems cost law firms thousands of pounds in lost business every month. In my experience of ringing lots of law firms, all first contact is not fit for purpose, unless they use a call centre to handle new enquiries.

If they do that, have one telephone number across their website and other marketing materials which goes to the call centre (existing clients still use your old telephone number), then the new client telephone answering process improves dramatically, as do the number of new instructions each month.

I have a supplier database of call centres, live chat providers, website designers, copywriters etc which I call The Legal Syndicate.

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