Top 6 Benefits of a Virtual Receptionist for Law Firms
During the economic boom of the mid 2000s, the hourly rate at some top law firms soared above $1,000. But when the recession hit, clients began to push back, demanding that their attorneys cut their hourly rates or provide discounts.
Clients’ demand for greater value continues, even as the economy rebounds. “Today’s clients are now in the driver’s seat when it comes to shopping for legal services,” according to a 2014 Business of Law Blog post. “Clients want to pay less, they want more predictability in legal spend, and ‘alternatives’ to the billable hour.”
As a result, law firms—especially smaller ones—are under pressure to cut costs and be more efficient. A virtual receptionist, as well as other features of a small business virtual phone system, can help your law firm achieve those goals.
Here are six benefits of a virtual phone system with virtual receptionist for law firms.
- Reduce costs. A virtual receptionist for law firms can replace the need to have an employee dedicated to answering the phone, which is particularly beneficial for small firms. This frees your employees to assist in other ways, such as with legal research, and helps reduce your employment costs.
Also, most virtual phone systems are fully managed and cloud-based. So there’s need to pay for IT support to install and maintain the phone system, and you don’t need to invest in an expensive hardware phone system, either.
Typically, virtual phone systems for law firms often include a bundle of phone minutes in your monthly plan. Knowing what your usage is can help you pick the most cost-effective plan for your firm.
- Give callers important information. With a virtual receptionist answering your phone lines, you can provide key information to callers based on call routing rules. For example, a sole proprietor or small firm might offer one rate for daytime hours and a higher rate for after hours. Callers during the day would be informed of your daytime rate, while callers at night would hear your night hours.
- Give top clients the VIP treatment. Some law firms will always want a person to answer the phones, to present a more ‘human’ front to clients and prospects. But when a human receptionist can’t be available, such as during lunch break or after hours, your virtual receptionist can take over, routing calls automatically based on predetermined rules.
For example, you could set up a VIP list of your most important clients. Should one of those clients call after hours, the virtual receptionist could automatically, and simultaneously, ring the personal smartphones of all your firm’s partners, ensuring that VIP clients rarely if ever get sent to voicemail.
- Let clients call attorneys directly. Virtual phone systems for law firms and other small businesses enable you to give partners and employees their own phone extensions, so clients can call them directly without going through a receptionist (virtual or human) or phone tree. And as mentioned, extensions coupled with call routing rules enable top clients to call an attorney directly with a high likelihood the attorney, or an assistant, will pick up.
- Easily record calls for notes, training and other purposes. In addition to a virtual receptionist feature, a virtual phone system typically offers the ability to easily record calls and share them with others in your firm.
With call recording, you can capture telephone conversations with clients (with their permission, of course). Associates, interns, paralegals and others in the firm can review the recordings later to ensure notes taken during the meeting are accurate.
The recordings could even be used as evidence in court, if necessary. And you can share call recordings with new employees, to help train them on how to interact over the phone with clients and prospects. Call recordings captured by a virtual phone system can also be more secure than recordings made on a smartphone or portable audio recorder, which can be lost or stolen.
- Track time spent on phones easily. A virtual phone system can provide detailed information on your firm’s call history, giving you another way to document billable time spent on the phone with clients.
MightyCall is a virtual phone system offering virtual receptionist, call recording, phone trees, music on hold, and many other professional features starting at $20 a month. For more ideas about how a virtual phone system with virtual receptionist can benefit your law firm, check out these MightyCall blog posts: