As a criminal defense attorney, each day, you receive an unlimited number of calls. Although the number looks terrific, what is more impressive is more calls are missed. If you are running a business, the last thing you want is to have unanswered calls because they are costly. You want to focus on developing defense strategies for your customers and not handling customer acquisition and answering calls. However, to do this, you need a criminal defense answering service for your law firm.
When Does Your Criminal Defense Law Firm Need An Answering Service
As a criminal law firm, you are used to handling almost everything in your law firm, making it challenging to determine whether you need an answering service. However, if you sit down and come up with a list of the number of calls you miss every day from defendants seeking legal advice or representation, you might see how critical an answering service is to your firm. Some of the things that might indicate that you need to use virtual receptionists include:
- You are missing multiple calls, which translate to lost clients.
- You are still using voicemail for customers to leave messages when no one is available to answer their calls.
- You want to avoid in-house receptionists’ expenses or can’t afford to enlist an answering service’s services.
- You need help with appointment scheduling for the clients you are defending against criminal charges.
- You want to spend more time in court fighting for the rights and freedom of your clients and not responding to calls, messages, or emails.
- You want to keep at bay the hassle that comes with hiring permanent employees, like supervision.
- You want to give your criminal defense law firm the legitimacy it requires, mainly if it’s a startup. Many clients seeking legal representation care about first impressions, and they are likely to jump ship if you sound inexperienced.
- You want to review your calls if you missed the point when speaking to a client. Virtual receptionists can record essential calls for future review and in case a client has an issue. You can revisit the call to resolve the matter.
- Responding to the calls in person disrupts you and your criminal defense attorneys from focusing on what brings money to the law firm, using your criminal defense skill for legal representation.
The image you portray to your clients the first time is critical. You must understand that clients’ freedom is on the line when they call your law firm, and answering their calls when they need you means a lot. An answering service promotes efficacy in your firm, keeping clients happy.
Reasons You Should Use an Answering Service
You should consider using a criminal defense answering service because of the following reasons:
1. Strengthens the Reputation of Your Law Firm
An answering service can help your law firm grow to the next level. However, you might not be considering it because you believe receptionists, both conventional and virtual ones, don’t understand criminal law. Hence they aren’t good enough or might not take care of your customers the way you do. The truth is if you find the right answering service, they will treat your callers with the respect and care you want.
The right criminal defense virtual receptionists will have empathy, high levels of sensitivity, and confidentiality that will foster good relationships and bonds among your customers, both existing and prospective. Happy customers you have defended will strengthen your reputation through word of mouth recommendations, online reviews, and referrals. Each caller seeking your representation in a criminal case will receive the best care.
Using virtual receptionists will pay because they will build your criminal defense law firm’s status among your competitors. The high standing will eventually grow into a reputation because your customer service contains the empathy and urgency required in criminal defense practice.
2. Virtual Receptionists Will Answer Calls From Defendants Seeking Legal Representation or Guidance After-Hours
As a person who runs a law firm, you understand that you must invest significant resources in advertising your practice with the current competition in the market. Defendants will not look for you if they haven’t heard of your law firm. Unfortunately, many criminal law firms focus on generating leads through advertisement but fail on the most critical aspect: lead capturing. Every missed call is a lost opportunity hence the reason you should pick up the phone every time it rings.
Many people find themselves on the wrong side of the law at night, weekends, or holidays. If any of these people charged or arrested for a crime know about your law firm, they would ring you for legal help. Unluckily, many law firms are closed at this time, which means the call goes unanswered or straight to voicemail.
According to statistics, 72 to 80 percent of callers hang up when their phone goes unanswered for the first time and never leave a message when the call goes to voicemail. Others don’t respond to emails within 24 hours. This means that all the leads generated through marketing go to waste, and it’s a waste of the firm’s budget. Many of those calling need you to come to their defense at their hour of need. If they can’t reach you, they will jump ship to the next law firm on their list, which will be a lost opportunity.
An answering service will ensure all the money spent on generating business leads doesn’t go to waste by providing after-hour coverage. All your callers will speak to live receptionists regardless of day or time. Clients seeking legal answers will find them, and they are likely to hire you for legal representation. You will capture every lead generated, increasing your customer base and profit margins.
3. Your Criminal Defense Law Firm Can Cope and Perform Well When There is a Surge in Calls and Workload
Failing to receive calls after-hours translates to lost business leads. However, most criminal defendants seeking legal help from your law firm will call during regular working hours. Unfortunately, you can miss receptionists’ competence levels mostly if you rely on in-house or permanent receptionists. Regardless of your traditional receptionists’ competence levels, they can only receive one call at a time. If other clients make calls while the receptionist is on the line with another client, the call will go unanswered.
Call agents from an answering service are different. They help your law firm’s scalability by giving you a pool of minutes to use every day. Even if you don’t receive any calls, you won’t spend any money.
However, if you aired an ad on live TV on the weekend and many people learned about your law firm, you will receive multiple calls at the start of the week. Ten clients might call at the same time, which is where an answering service comes in handy. All these calls will be responded to simultaneously such that you don’t need to worry about lost business leads during working hours.
4. Your Criminal Defense Attorneys Will Not Waste Billable Hours Sorting Through Messages Due to Intake Efficiency
Every criminal defense attorney understands that efficient intake is critical. The right virtual receptionists will promote intake efficacy to the law firm. There is no time your attorneys will have to drop their primary objective, which is getting a positive outcome in criminal cases, to sort through caller messages.
The right virtual receptionists will not only take messages from your callers. They will do lead qualifications by asking questions that are essential to the firm. For instance, before taking a caller message, they might ask the client if they are new or existing. Suppose the caller is new, a call agent will ask more questions like the kind of charges faced to determine if the client is the right fit for the firm. Intake efficiency ensures that you and your criminal attorneys save time prioritizing the clients' call back.
5. Criminal Defendants Chat Live With Receptionists
Webchat has become a prevalent mode of communication for many consumers. In the criminal defense practice area, when a person is first charged or arrested for a crime, they will go online to look for prospective criminal defense attorneys. Many clients will go through various law firm websites to find attorneys who will provide the best defense. If they settle for your law firm as a preference, they will likely use web chat as a communication channel.
Live chat is the preferred mode of communication for criminal cases because it allows the receptionist or attorney to get more information from the caller. The majority of callers also feel more satisfied with customer service if they utilize chat as a communication mode. Webchat is convenient for the clients who opt for it. It also benefits your law firm on the issue of lead capturing. It makes it easy to track down those who reach out to the firm and the reasons for reaching out.
Virtual receptionists from an answering service will simplify web chat communication, enabling you to interact with potential clients effectively. The right answering service will provide your law firm with a code to add a chat widget to your website. They will also offer you and your criminal defense attorneys the option to respond to particular web chats in person and delegate others to the call agents.
Note that some prospective clients will skip your law firm and move on to the next if they don’t find a live chat option. Utilizing an answering service will help you maintain an effective web chat communication channel.
6. They Reduce Your Criminal Defense Law Firm’s Overheads
Hiring a team of permanent call receptionists is costly and time-consuming. You will need an extra workspace, recruit new employees, and invest in a phone system. Even if you make enough money from defending clients, paying salaries for in-house receptionists to avoid missed calls can be frustrating, especially when you have to pay for holiday hours and overtime.
A call answering service will ensure that you lower your overhead costs. With call agents, you don’t need to invest in the extra workspace, pay salaries for full-time receptionists or invest in the state of the art phone system. A reliable answering service will have the latest phone system, well-trained virtual receptionists, and own workspace. The only thing you will be paying for is the time they spend answering your calls.
By relying on virtual receptionists, you will lower the cost of operating your law firm, thus increasing your profits and offering your legal services at affordable prices.
7. An Answering Service Will Do More Than Receiving Calls From Defendants Fighting for Their Freedom
When using an answering service, you expect them to focus mainly on answering calls from people who face criminal charges. However, these operators do more than that.
Reputable answering services in the industry have highly trained and specialized operators who do more than receiving calls. They can provide fundamental support to criminal defendants and process payments on your behalf. This is done safely, with confidentiality and adhering to all firm protocols, freeing up your attorneys to focus on developing legal strategies and winning cases.
Some of the things the right virtual receptionists will do more than responding to calls include:
- Meeting scheduling
- Managing emergency calls
- Call reminders
- Message taking
An answering service will provide a wide range of services at different prices, all aimed at building your law firm’s reputation and staying competitive. However, to enjoy the benefits of using an answering service, you will need to hire the right criminal defense answering service.
Does Your Criminal Law Firm Need an Answering Service?
Customer service is key to the success of every entity, criminal defense law firms included. To succeed, you need to attract people faced with criminal charges and retain them before defending them in court. The first impression, therefore, counts a lot in the success of your business. Fortunately, using an legal answering service can improve your firm’s communication and interpersonal skills, thus enhancing customer service.