Benefits of Hiring a Virtual Receptionists for Lawyers and Small Law Firms (Overview)

Are you a sole legal practitioner struggling to handle your day-to-day tasks while at the same time handling all your incoming calls, messages, emails and inbound activities?

Perhaps you are operating in a small law firm and your firm does not have the means to hire a full-time receptionist to handle your customer service tasks and calls although you really need someone to help you?

No matter your setup, this article is intended to have you think about the benefits of hiring a virtual receptionist for lawyers or your small law firm. We will look at what a virtual receptionist is, how it is crucial for your law firm to respond to your leads and make a great first impression, how you can grow your practice, avoid leaving money on the table or even directly burning marketing cash and more.

This article is divided into the following sections:

  1. What is a virtual receptionist service?
  2. Increase your chances of building a pipeline of potential prospects
  3. Responding to leads is crucial for your law firm success
  4. How has virtual receptionist services evolved over the years?
  5. Grow your business by responding to your leads
  6. Don’t leave money on the table by neglecting your inbound communications
  7. Improve your law firm’s reputation with a virtual receptionist for lawyers
  8. What are the benefits of hiring a virtual receptionist?
  9. Hiring a Virtual Receptionists for Lawyers Takeaways

Let’s get started…

1- What is a virtual receptionist service?

Benefits of Hiring a Virtual Receptionist For Lawyers And Small Law Firms

A virtual receptionist is someone outside of your law firm who will handle your customer service and answer your incoming phone calls or emails. 

A remote customer service agent

A virtual receptionist is, as the name suggests, a virtual collaborator. In other words, this person will be working remotely and managed by a virtual receptionist service company.

A virtual receptionist service provider is therefore an organization specialized in providing customer service to businesses such as call center services, receptionist services, communication management, calendar booking and other.

Typically, when you hire a full-time receptionist, whether you have a lot of incoming calls or inquiries or very little, you must assume the fixed cost of paying for your receptionist, training and giving the person all the office facilities and tools to work.

Scalable and affordable services

When hiring a virtual receptionist for lawyers, considering that you will have a commercial relationship with the virtual receptionist service organization, you can structure your service fees based on your law firm’s specific needs.

Most virtual receptionist service organizations will offer you flexible fee arrangements based on volume, something like a pay-as-you-go type of fee arrangement.

This gives you the flexibility of scaling your customer service operations as your law firm grows or even scale back when volume goes down.

If you are running a solo law practice or operating a small law firm where you do not have the capacity to permanently hire a receptionist and free up your lawyers’ time to deal with new prospects and leads, then you should consider engaging the services of a virtual receptionist service organization.

2- Increase your chances of building a pipeline of potential prospects 

Benefits of Hiring a Virtual Receptionist For Lawyers And Small Law Firms

If you are a sole legal practitioner or operating in a small law firm, you are constantly torn between responding to new leads and handling your current caseload. 

On the one hand, you want to work on your current client files as your time can be billable but on the other hand you need to keep your business going forward by finding new clients, speaking to leads and spending the time with prospects.

You must find the right balance between taking the time to engage with new leads and prospects while making sure you take care of your clients.

Your goal is to have more time to handle billable activities

Working on your current client cases is important to keep your clients happy by delivering their written plea, preparing an examination, representing them in court and so on but also because you can perform billable work.

Billable work means you can be profitable and you need that to pay for your law firm’s operating expenses.

By retaining the services of a virtual receptionist for lawyers, you can free up your lawyers’ time to spend more time on billable activity and only take the time to speak to leads when they have been pre-qualified.

You want to build a pipeline of new clients and convert them

Responding to a new lead or prospect is crucial to building a pipeline of prospects you can eventually convert into clients of the firm.

If you are not responsive to your leads, you can potentially lose them. Forever!

You want to have a constant stream of clients coming in giving your law firm oxygen to run and grow the business. 

If you don’t take the right amount of time to deal with your leads and prospects, you will be leaving a lot of money on the table and potentially in the hands of your competitors.

Can you be billable more often and while catering to your leads?

With a virtual receptionist, you can not only be responsive to new customers calling your law firm but you can also free up your time to do more billable work.

A virtual receptionist for lawyers can handle your inbound calls, text messages, online chats, inbound emails and handle all other channels through which potential clients engage with your law firm.

This can take up a lot of time in your day if you think about it.

Not only is it time consuming for you to speak to your prospects but it will also distract you from working on your files.

If you do not have an internal operational setup to respond to inbound inquiries, triage them, pre-qualify and qualify a prospect with a lawyer, then you can benefit from the services of a virtual receptionist.

3- Responding to leads is crucial for your law firm success

Benefits of Hiring a Virtual Receptionist For Lawyers And Small Law Firms

According to the 2017 Clio Legal Trends Report, 2 of 3 clients say that the number one factor influencing them to retain the services of a law firm is whether or not they responded to their first phone call or email right away.

You lose 67% of the leads you do not respond to on time

Let’s take a step back and better understand this factual statement.

67% of clients calling your law firm will hire you if you answer their initial call or email! 

That is staggering…

By implementing a process where you respond to your clients quickly, responsively and in a timely fashion, you are statistically going to give yourself 67% more chances to have a client hire your firm for legal services.

As a result, unless you have done so, you should think about how you can efficiently respond to your callers.

Offload your customer service tasks for higher lead conversion

The best structure is one where you are not spending “lawyer time” to handle all incoming calls and inbound inquiries.

That’s an expensive time spent on tasks that could be handled by others.

By working with virtual receptionist for lawyers, you are effectively offloading the time spent by your lawyers with new leads to a dedicated agent.

This can be a much more cost sensible approach for your law firm.

4- How has virtual receptionist services evolved over the years?

Benefits of Hiring a Virtual Receptionist For Lawyers And Small Law Firms

The virtual receptionist industry has evolved significantly over the past years.

They are experts in the field of customer service

Today, virtual receptionist firms employ qualified professionals responding to calls, employ call center facilities and best practices, leverage technologies to handle their job efficiently.

Virtual receptionist service organizations operate a call center type of organization as their core business rendering them highly efficient in managing inbound calls, responding to emails and professionally engaging with prospects.

This puts them in a much greater position than a law firm in handling the customer service aspect of the business.

They leverage latest technologies including AI

Some virtual receptionist service organizations also use artificial intelligence to provide services using the latest state-of-the-art technologies.

With dedicated virtual receptionist software technologies they use and their highly specialized service offering, virtual receptionists today can provide you with great customer service support and services eclipsing what they used to offer in the early 2010’s.

Just like other industries were transformed and disrupted with the evolution of technology, the virtual receptionist industry has evolved where you can benefit from great services at affordable prices. 

5- Grow your business by responding to your leads 

Benefits of Hiring a Virtual Receptionist For Lawyers And Small Law Firms

Answering your inbound calls, emails and inquiries will immediately result in increased client conversion ratios and more revenue to your law firm.

You can grow your law firm business by ensuring you answer all your incoming leads.

First contact with the client is crucial 

The first contact a client makes with your law firm is crucial for it to be handled properly.

You can resolve your chronic problem of having to deal with constant interruptions, lack of time and overwhelming work by hiring a virtual receptionist to handle your inbound calls and activities.

Consider outsourcing your customer service tasks

If you do not have the budget or operational capacity to have a full-time resource handle the  communication with your prospects, you should consider outsourcing that to a virtual receptionist service company.

A virtual receptionist can provide you with a high quality customer service and immediately engage and interact with those reaching out to your law firm.

This can project a more professional image of your law firm and increase the likelihood that a lead converts into a client of yours.

6- Don’t leave money on the table by neglecting your inbound communications

Benefits of Hiring a Virtual Receptionist For Lawyers And Small Law Firms

By not responding to your incoming calls, emails and messages from your leads, you may be leaving money on the table and burning cash in multiple ways.

Sort of a triple whammy!

You lose 67% of leads that you do not respond to on the first call

Without a structured setup where you can immediately respond to all incoming communications, you will lose 67% of potential clients such as those who get turned off by you not responding, or those that do not leave you a message or even those who decide that it’s not worth it hiring a non-responsive law firm when you took too long to get back to them. 

You can quantify how much you may be potentially losing if you know how much is your average revenue per case.

You lose precious lawyer billable time

The other way you are leaving money on the table is that you are investing expensive time and money to handle a task that can be done by others for a fraction of the cost.

According to the 2017 Clio Legal Trends Report, the average lawyer will be interrupted 6 times a day and lose 23 minutes for every interruption.

This results in an average lawyer losing 138 minutes in a day, that’s 2 hours and 18 minutes, every day!

If your lawyer’s average billable time is $250 per hour, you are essentially spending $575 per day speaking, dealing and interacting with leads.

That’s quite expensive.

You burn your marketing money

The third way that you can be potentially burning money by not responding to your leads is your marketing money. 

If you are paying for online advertisements such as a pay-per-click advertisement, paying third party service providers to generate leads to your website, paying for webinars or even offline marketing campaigns, by not responding to your calls, you are effectively burning your marketing money.

You’ve invested money to get someone to call you but you do not pick up the call! That’s bad for business.

There is no point for you to spend more time and energy on more marketing and demand generation if you are unable to deal with the incoming activity that results from it.

This is a business mistake 101!

7- Improve your law firm’s reputation with a virtual receptionist for lawyers

Benefits of Hiring a Virtual Receptionist For Lawyers And Small Law Firms

We all have heard that the first impression has a direct impact on how we perceive someone’s trustworthiness. 

First impression is key

There is a large body of research that shows when we meet someone for the first time, we make judgments about their trustworthiness and competence in a fraction of a second.

Consider your law firm having a persona and this persona can have an impact on your potential clients giving the cues to trust you or not.

This way of assessing someone’s trustworthiness is baked into our genetic makeup, that’s how it is, we must live with it and leverage it to our advantage!

Consider your prospect’s journey to become a paying client

Imagine a potential client’s journey as they start interacting with your law firm.

You have spent a lot of money building a great law firm website, you implemented law firm SEO strategies to get good ranking on search engines and have developed a strong web credibility and customers are calling in.

If you do not respond to their calls, all your effort is gone to waste! 

All that effort leading your prospect to call you or send you an email is entirely futile in the end.

You will potentially lose prospects forever and give more chances to your competitors to convert them into paying clients.

What you want to do is to convert as many clients to paying clients for your law firm. Period. 

Improve your law firm reputation by answering all incoming communications

Having a live person immediately respond to a call, a chat or other incoming channels of communication will drastically improve your chances of converting a lead into a paying customer.

This immediate responsiveness will directly and positively impact your law firm’s reputation and send signals to your prospect that they can trust your law firm.

Send the right first impression signals to your leads

If a client is led to believe that you are not able to answer your calls or take a lot of time to answer calls for new business, then you’re either not interested in getting new business or you don’t care too much about your clients.

Either way, it is a dangerous territory for you to navigate.

By outsourcing your customer service heavy-lifting to a virtual receptionist service provider, you can dramatically improve your client conversion rate and preserve your law firm’s reputation. 

8- What are the benefits of hiring a virtual receptionist? 

Benefits of Hiring a Virtual Receptionist For Lawyers And Small Law Firms

A sole practitioner or a small law firm can potentially benefit from the services of a virtual receptionist.

Better manage your law firm

If you are constantly struggling to balance the time you spend between working on current client files and speaking to leads and prospects to grow the business, you are a good candidate to think about how the services of a virtual receptionist may help you on a day-to-day basis.

You can better manage your time and even save money by hiring a virtual receptionist to offload your initial customer service heavy-lifting.

So what are the benefits of hiring a virtual receptionist?

Here is our top 10 benefits of hiring a virtual receptionist:

  1. A virtual receptionist can immediately respond to incoming calls, emails, chats or other channels like web forms and so on
  2. You can have a virtual receptionist evaluate if your law firm services are relevant to the caller
  3. You can send a great first impression signal to a client calling your firm for the first time and help build a level of trust needed to convert them into a paying client
  4. A virtual receptionist will save you money as you are paying less for a low value task although crucial for your firm
  5. You will save money by not having to hire a receptionist, train them and give them office tools and facilities to do their job
  6. Your virtual receptionist can see your law firm’s schedule and help you book consultation meetings
  7. You will not lose time speaking to prospects that will ultimately take up your time and not hire you
  8. You will free up your lawyer’s time by minimizing constant interruptions
  9. Your lawyers will engage with a prospect when that prospect has passed the initial gates therefore improving the chances of converting the lead into a paying client
  10. You will not have to worry about customer service and can even get your messages outside of business hours

9- Hiring a Virtual Receptionists for Lawyers Takeaways

Benefits of Hiring a Virtual Receptionist For Lawyers And Small Law Firms

Lawyers are highly busy individuals and need to squeeze more time in a day to handle their client matters, do billable work, manage their administrative tasks but also spend time with new leads and prospects to continually grow their law firm business.

Lawyers are way busy to handle everything!

Lawyers constantly struggle to find the right balance between spending time on profitable and billable activities and responding to incoming leads, calls, emails, messages and you name it.

According to the 2017 Clio Legal Trends Report, 2 of 3 clients say that the number one factor influencing them to retain the services of a law firm is whether or not they responded to their first phone call or email right away.

Imagine, that’s 67% of new leads lost potentially for ever. 

Worst, your leads may be lost to your competitors!

Based on the same report, the average lawyer gets interrupted 6 times a day and loses 23 minutes for every interruption. 

That’s a total of 2 hours and 18 minutes of time lost in a day!

Hiring a virtual receptionist can be a good fit for your law firm

Hiring a virtual receptionist for lawyers to outsource your customer service activities to them can be a great fit for your law firm.

You can ensure that you respond to all your incoming calls and emails professionally and have those calls screened for fitness.

Once your pre-qualification is done, you can take the time in-house to really qualify the lead and turn them into a paying client.

You should consider hiring a virtual receptionist to complement your solo law practice or small law firm operations.

With a pay-as-you-go type of fee structure, you will not have to assume high fixed costs of having to hire and train a receptionist or a customer service agent and provide them office facilities to do their job.

Leveraging a virtual receptionist for lawyers, you can tap into qualified personnel, fully trained and enabled to handle your inbound leads while controlling your costs and giving yourself the option to scale as your volume increases.

We hope that you enjoyed this article.

Have you used a virtual receptionist for your law operation? How was your experience? We would love to hear from you. Drop us a comment!