You have many balls to juggle as a criminal law attorney, and you must keep these balls in the air for as long as possible to keep your practice going and build your business. Customer acquisition and answering calls are some of the things that take up your time, which could be outside the scope of your education and major activities such as developing defenses for clients.
Answering services help you with customer management tasks to relieve you of the burden of keeping communication lines for current and potential clients. Best Call Center is an answering service dedicated to providing the best customer service for criminal attorneys.
We do more than answer calls. We help you generate new leads and customers, making them feel appreciated and more likely to do business with you. We create a win-win situation for you and your clients.
A Common Challenge Attorneys Face
Criminal attorneys have to spend their time in multiple settings handling different activities. They are often pressed for time, and it is hard for them to give themselves entirely to providing outstanding customer service to their clients, or at least be personable enough to attract new clients and keep the existing ones.
Some attorneys would prefer to haggle with prosecutors and negotiate plea deals rather than handle client conversations. Whichever scenario, poor customer service give the impression of unavailability, which is something very few clients will understand.
Whether it is an unanswered call or a voicemail message that gets lost in the fray, your clients and potential clients will feel let down by your practice and choose to go elsewhere.
You could also be giving the impression that you are tired or overwhelmed whenever you respond to calls, especially those that interrupt your workflow, which causes prospects and clients to lose trust in you.
Customers appreciate when they can feel they have your attention, and they do not feel as if it is a bad time to call. They will leave as happy people if your conversation can solve or offer a solution to their problem.
Customer service tasks, particularly responding to calls, can be draining and distracting from other tasks you should be handling, which is one reason you could be offering subpar customer service.
How do you keep a level head, grow your business, and keep your clients satisfied, without feeling overwhelmed?
The answer is hiring an answering service for criminal law attorneys.
Call Answering Services for Criminal Attorneys
Between legal research, litigation, mediation, strategizing, writing briefs, negotiating agreements, defending clients, and keeping up-to-date with laws, regulations, and policies, attorneys could compromise quality customer service.
Delegation is the name of the game if you intend to make the most of your practice without being overwhelmed physically or financially. Customer service is one of the activities you can outsource to a professional, and most people choose to hire a receptionist.
However, hiring a receptionist can be complicated since the receptionist cannot be available 24/7. Employing a receptionist also comes with additional costs such as purchasing office equipment and paying benefits to your employee.
The extra requirements for having a receptionist can affect your business and still fail to provide a return on your investment. You could miss calls during after hours or while your receptionist is engaged in other activities like another call or another service such as responding to an email.
While you could hire several people in-house to handle different customer service fronts, you will have to invest heavily in furniture, technology, and the infrastructure required in facilitating the operation of an in-house team.
You will also have the additional role of monitoring and supervising the team to ensure that you meet your goals.
You can outsource customer service to an answering service to reap the benefits of effective customer service without digging deeper into your pockets.
Here are some of the benefits your practice will reap from outsourcing your customer service to an answering service:
- You reduced the number of calls and inquiries you would miss, both from potential and existing clients. Communication is the most crucial element of your business, and you need to be available when your clients need you. For example, John is arrested for a DUI at 11:00 pm. He tries several attorneys but keeps reaching voicemail. Even if he got recommendations from friends and family about how excellent your services are, he has a more pressing need, which will push him to the next attorney until he or she finds one who can help. In this case, you will have missed an important client.
- Clients also appreciate reliability and consistency. When your clients know they can reach you when they have concerns about their cases, it only increases their satisfaction in working with you. Satisfied customers can be crucial to your business as they could refer their friends, family, or colleagues to you.
- A calling service can help you gather more prospects, including their information: call answering services collect valuable information from people who inquire about your business or services. With such information, you can learn more about the kind of people that call you and structure your services to meet their needs.
- An answering service speaks volumes about your customer service. When you receive your calls and reply to your client's inquiries, you become a trusted business. Customers appreciate working with you and feel a personal connection to your business. Directing them through automated messages and voicemail can give them the impression that you are too busy and should just take their business elsewhere.
- Answering services can save you a lot, compared to hiring an in-house receptionist or setting up an in-house call center to deal with all your customer care needs. Building an in-house team is a great idea if you have the resources to hire the equipment and office space, pay the employees, and facilitate training in some cases. However, if you do not have the resources, or would rather outsource, then call services are great. You can outsource your answering services at a fraction of the cost and reap similar or more benefits.
- As you capture more customers who would be lost due to unanswered calls, your business grows. You will attract more clients while maintaining the reputation of available and efficient customer service.
- Dealing with calls and messages can be overwhelming, and you could feel that you are dedicating more efforts towards activities that do not build your business, such as planning your cases. Your productivity will soar when you do not have to solve every part of the customer service matrix. You will have the peace and time to dedicate your efforts towards delivering criminal defense services and keeping up with the changes in your profession.
- Using an answering service directly improves your return on investment. After investing your efforts in marketing your legal practice, an answering service will help you connect with potential clients as they contact you. Without a reliable answering service, you would miss these leads and end up wasting your marketing efforts.
- You also have better control over the calls you will take and when you want to take them. For example, a client looking for general information might distract you from the task you were working on, yet they could have received the information they need through a receptionist. A call answering service will screen all the incoming calls and only present those that need your attention.
Outsourcing a part of a business you have taken time to build, or have worked in for most of your time can feel like losing control. It is even possible to think that you do not need help because you still have clients and are earning enough to cover your needs.
However, there are cases when you need a little help to focus on more important tasks.
Answering services are composed of diverse staff, including virtual receptionists, live chat specialists, legal technology solutions.
Virtual receptionists handle the following:
- Answering calls
- Transferring calls
- Taking messages
- Screening and forwarding the necessary calls
- Collecting information about the callers and their queries
- Responding to basic questions from callers
Live chat specialists help capture leads that come through your legal website. They engage with web visitors through real conversations and helpful responses. This way, you can convert web visitors into clients.
Legal technology solutions are not staff but are technological advancements that can make a difference in your customer service. They help you improve communication, relationship management, and scheduling.
When Do You Need an Answering Service
It might be hard to decide that you need an answering service when you are used to handling everything in your business. But when you take stock of your business growth and leads that slip past your business, you might just see the importance of outsourcing your customer service. Here are some indications that you need an answering service:
- You are missing a lot of calls
- You are still relying on voicemail for clients to leave a message (which nearly 70% will not do)
- You do not have the resources to hire a receptionist (or want to avoid the related expenses including employee benefits, sick days, and vacations)
- You receive calls after business hours but cannot receive them because you are not in the office
- You are spending more time on customer service than you should, and it is affecting your revenue and growth
- You need help with your appointment booking
- You want to add a human touch to your customer service but do not have the time to deal with each call that comes to your legal practice
- You want to avoid the hustle that comes with hiring an employee, including supervision, monitoring, and replacement
- You want to give your legal practice an air of legitimacy, especially if you are just starting. Most people are more likely to avoid a business that seems inexperienced or too small to handle their case.
- You want to access your calls in case you miss important information during the call. Answering services provide call recording, which would be expensive for most businesses, thus allowing you to review your calls and have protection if a client has a dispute. You can refer to the call to solve such a conflict.
- Receiving calls disrupts your workflow and that of your staff, making it harder to achieve the goals you have.
- You want to improve your client outreach to follow up on existing clients or find new clients.
First impressions matter when your business depends on your clients. As a criminal lawyer, you are constantly dealing with people who are fighting for their freedom or that of their loved ones, and it means a lot if they can find you when they are in need.
Answering services allow you to be a hero to your customers while allowing you to be efficient at offering criminal law services.
What an Answering Service Does
An answering service does more than a receptionist does. They offer a wide range of services designed to make the most of the customer service in your legal practice.
Call filtering services allow you to select the calls you want to take, and when you want to take them. For example, you could choose to outsource a general inquiry and receive a call from a client you are already working with. You could also schedule first consultations with an answering service or redirect you to you, depending on your preferences.
Your business needs and goals should inform the choice of calls to filter. Once you have these figured out, you can decide the calls that require your attention.
After-hour support services allow your business to capture calls that come after business hours. After-hour support is an essential service for that attorney who wants to respond to the needs of people arrested at night or have an emergency that requires your attention.
24-hour support services allow your business to operate all the time, every day. You can receive calls that come during off-hours, weekends, or holidays. The service allows your customers to reach you any time they need.
You can choose to have both after-hour support and 24-hour support services depending on the call flow in your practice. If you receive calls at any time, including the weekends and holidays, then 24-hour support will work.
Call overflow management is an essential service during peak times. You can hire an answering service to provide call overflow management to respond to a surge in calls. Call surges are common when you have had a hard marketing campaign.
The answering service handles most of the queries and only forwards those that require your attention. With call flow management, you can focus on your work regardless of the increasing call volumes you are receiving without worrying about lost leads.
Call recording is an essential component of an answering service. It allows you to go through your call transcripts and analyze your productivity, effectiveness, and profitability. It can also help you address concerns that customers raise by reviewing the recorded calls.
Appointment management services to remind clients of their pending appointments and, in some cases rescheduling them. As a lawyer, you have to deal with several missed or canceled appointments, which is not monitored, could affect your productivity and lead to wasted time. You could also turn down prospects because you failed to receive the call from another lead who wanted to cancel or reschedule.
In addition to the services above, an answering service can provide the following:
- Appointment booking
- Scheduling meetings
- Taking messages
- Managing emergency calls
- Supporting your marketing efforts
- Providing customer service
- Reminder calls
Answering services offer different types of service packages and pricing. You might also find a business whose answering model does not blend well with your legal practice. That is why you need to understand the crucial steps to hiring the right answering service for your business.
How to Choose a Criminal Law Answering Service
Now that you know the importance of an answering service and the services you can get, you need to choose the business that will serve your needs. Most answering services provide a free trial period, which can allow you to determine the best provider.
You could even test two answering services simultaneously to determine which one works well for you without wasting much time. Here are the tips for choosing the best answering service:
Evaluate the pricing and the services provided against your budget. You do not want to overpay or choose the cheapest provider at the cost of your business. Therefore, understand what prices different providers offer, whether the services are necessary for your business, and the flexibility in these providers’ pricing.
For example, if you need after-hour services to capture calls and messages that come after hours, but you can handle other calls, you will have to choose a flexible provider to not pay for more than you need.
The size of your legal practice will also affect the types of answering services you need. For example, if you are starting and lack an extensive portfolio, you might have a few calls coming in. However, if you are a larger practice with a solid portfolio and serve clients in more than one location, you will need a denser service package.
Check the specialization of the answering service. A generalist is likely to provide just general information to your clients, which could kill more leads than it captures. Therefore, hire a company that specializes in answering services for attorneys.
Staff in a specialized firm understand your industry's technicalities and will provide relevant information to your clients.
Besides having dedicated staff, you have to ascertain that the answering service you hire has the infrastructure to work on your call load. Ensure they have dedicated physical spaces and staff who will not have to worry about the neighbor knocking at the door or the next-door barbeque while taking your client's call.
The infrastructure should include backup services and power to ensure that you are working with a resilient answering service that will not be interrupted by factors like natural disasters.
The best answering service is also one that understands your needs and those of your clients. This will include factors such as location in case your clients need direction.
Ensure you receive a written agreement with all the terms, services, pricing, fees, and conditions that bind you and the calling service. The document will guide both of you when working together to solve disputes or disagreements that arise and end the relationship.
Ensure that the answering service has invested in security measures to ensure that the data and information your clients provide is safe. Attorneys work closely with individuals who might reveal their personal information. You do not want your practice to be the defendant in a privacy breach lawsuit. Therefore, you have to ensure that the answering service takes measures to prevent data breaches.
Ask or check whether the answering service incorporates technological advancements that help improve customer engagement without eating into your business profits.
Find an Attorney Answering Service Near Me
Customer service is one of the most important parts of any business, including a criminal law firm. You need to attract and keep customers before you can apply your professional skills in criminal law to defend your clients.
One of the things clients look for when working with you is the quality of your customer service. Your experience will not matter if you lack in communication or interpersonal skills.
Instead of jeopardizing your business on your first impression, you are better off working with a professional customer service business to help you with all your call answering needs.
Best Call Center is an answering service provider dedicated to helping attorneys get the most from their customer service. We help you with different call answering tasks, call screening and forwarding, message taking, 24/7 support, appointment management, and call recording.
We customize our services depending on your needs, meaning that you do not have to pay for what you are not getting. We communicate with your customers based on your business needs and guidelines you provide.
Take charge of your customer service today. Contact us at 800-385-4656 for a consultation.