5 Ways To Make Your Law Firm More Efficient With Virtual Receptionists

virtual receptionist law firm productivity lawyer va assistant attorney

Heading into the new year is an opportunity to reflect on the past year to evaluate where you can become more efficient as a business. 

Many lawyers and law firms have already started the process of determining how they can become more efficient in 2021, especially as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Being required to work from home to help stop the spread has offered unique challenges. Aside from watching over a toddler, the next largest challenge is the distraction of receiving constant calls at your home office. The thing is, answering calls to inform and advise new leads or convey information to existing clients are necessary responsibilities for an attorney. 

You may now be asking yourself, “What is an affordable solution that I can start using that will handle my calls and free up my time to focus on billable work uninterrupted?” 

The answer: virtual receptionists. 

Here are five ways a 24/7 virtual receptionist service can free up your time spent on the phone, so you can maximize your law firm's productivity and billable hours. 

1. Share Your Legal Practice Areas And Other FAQs 

Whether someone found your name from a review site, an ad, or a conversation with an existing client, you no doubt receive calls from leads who need help with a legal matter that falls outside of your scope of expertise. 

Maybe you primarily handle family law but not traffic law. Virtual receptionists and VA assistants will ask callers about the type of case that they need representation for, so your calendar is never booked with “bad leads” and distracting you from billable work

When callers reach your virtual receptionists, they can ask questions set by you and answer frequently asked questions (like what counties you work in, if you're accepting new clients, etc.) using your pre-configured responses. You will also receive call summaries via email or text right after each call, and a daily summary is sent at the close of every day for your review. 

2. Schedule Appointments With Leads And Clients 

The best virtual receptionist services integrate with almost every calendaring and scheduling software available on the market. Receptionists can schedule new and existing client calls and in-person meetings on your behalf, and you'll be able to view them on your calendar in real- time. Outsourced receptionists can also reschedule appointments, reconfirm existing meetings with clients, and make outbound calls as needed on your behalf. 

3. Qualify Leads And Perform Client Intakes 

One of the biggest questions to ask new leads is if they're willing and able to pay your fees. Whether it's your hourly rate, a retainer, or a set fee for a package of services (a U.S. trademark application, for example), virtual receptionists can qualify leads by sharing your rates upfront to ensure a call with them won't result in wasted time for your business. 

If you have client intake forms needing to be completed prior to your first meeting, receptionists can complete those with the new lead live over the phone. If your firm uses case management software, like Lawmatics or Clio, to manage these files, you'll see the updated client data appear in the system after each call. 

4. Make Outbound Calls For You 

Outbound calls for web form lead follow-up (people who fill out your online contact form -- just forward those to your virtual receptionists and they'll call them right back) AND to follow up on unpaid invoices that are past due. The best virtual receptionist service can collect payments by credit card and complete your online invoice on their behalf. Much better experience to have a receptionist service do it as a neutral third party, to protect your personal client-lawyer confidential relationships (instead of making the client feel like it's just transactional). 

5. Screen Calls For Urgency And Priority 

Some calls are more urgent than others, and you will want them patched through immediately, as long as you are available to answer them. Maybe the courthouse or a judge is calling, or your client can't make their upcoming trial date. Live call transfer notifications can be provided via phone, text message, or Slack, so you can easily approve or deny the request, and buy yourself as much as 30 seconds to get to a quiet place to talk. If you accept, receptionists will transfer them through; if not, they will take a message and you can follow-up later. 

You may also want to share a list of VIPs who are always to be transferred to you, or bypass receptionists completely, and ring you directly (like your spouse or legal business partner). 

Attorneys And Lawyers Need Virtual Receptionists Now

Start 2021 off right by using virtual receptionists to increase efficiency for your law firm and begin accelerating your growth! Other competing law firms will be using virtual receptionists, so don't get left behind!

samir sampat virtual receptionist va assistant

Samir Sampat is a Marketing and Events Associate with Smith.ai. Smith.ai’s 24/7 virtual receptionists and live chat agents capture and convert leads by phone, website chat, texts, and Facebook. You can follow Smith.ai on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube.

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