A lawyer’s time is precious. Time management often determines the outcome of a case, especially for solo and small firm attorneys. Yet many attorneys become bogged down with answering phones, keeping track of messages, or overseeing an on-staff receptionist. Some savvy solo and small firm attorneys, however, have discovered a simple, cost-efficient way to find extra time: hiring a virtual legal receptionist.
Many business owners are presently surprised by the professionalism of a modern answering service. Lawyers across the country have found virtual reception services remarkably helpful. Virtual legal receptionists provide phone answering services from a remote location, and the best attorney answering services employ cutting-edge technology to ensure legal clients can’t detect that they’re speaking to a remote receptionist. In addition to cheerfully, respectfully answering incoming calls, today’s virtual receptionists can answer clients’ questions, transfer live calls, forward messages via text or email, and convey the kind of sincere interest that wins new accounts.
Following are the top five benefits lawyers say they receive from hiring a virtual legal receptionist:
1. Increased happiness and job satisfaction. “Only about half of lawyers are very satisfied or satisfied with their work,” states the introduction to the Syracuse Law Review’s Symposium on Lawyer Happiness. Rates of depression and substance abuse are significantly higher for attorneys as compared to the average American. “The increasing pace, pressure, and competitiveness of modern practice,” including “intensified demands for instant responsiveness” are major factors in dissatisfaction among lawyers, according to the Syracuse Law Review piece. Hiring a virtual receptionist relieves some of these demands and pressures by providing reliable and instant responsiveness, allowing lawyers to spend more time performing the tasks they find fulfilling.
2. Increased efficiency. Virtual reception services make lawyers more efficient. Confident that incoming calls will be handled professionally, attorneys with virtual reception services are no longer tied to the office. Even when a lawyer is in court, attorney answering services can forward phone messages via email or text messaging. The best virtual reception firms can also provide a complete record of every message they’ve sent, providing a helpful reference.
3. Lower labor costs. Switching from a full-time, in-house receptionist to a virtual legal receptionist is cost-efficient because virtual reception services are charged only according to the time actually used. In other words, you’re not paying for a receptionist to sit at the desk all day–you’re only charged for the moments that a receptionist is actually handling a call. The answering service company pays for their virtual receptionists’ benefits such as workers comp, saving you even more money. Furthermore, virtual receptionists never get sick, never ask for time off and are never late.
4. A better office environment. Solo and small firm attorneys often hire a virtual receptionist service to cover the phones during especially hectic times and end up retaining their services for multiple reasons. First, employing a virtual receptionist means you’re not paying paralegal rates for reception. Second, employee happiness within solo and small law groups often improves when attorney answering services are enlisted. This is because paralegals and other employees can focus better on their most important work when they’re not interrupted by having to answering the office phone.
5. With a virtual receptionist, you’ll never miss a call from a prospective client. This is the most important benefit of hiring a virtual receptionist. As solo and small firm attorneys are well aware, potential clients often call down the phonebook listings; if they reach an answering machine or an automated service, they simply move onto the next listing. Prospective clients do not want to reach an answering machine. They want to feel someone is working on their case immediately. Instant responsiveness distinguishes today’s most successful lawyers from the rest of the pack.
Hiring a virtual receptionist ensures every potential client will speak to a live person. Remote live receptionists act as a professional, responsive “face” for your business. For this reason, a virtual receptionist is a powerful tool for obtaining new accounts.
Many benefits come from hiring a virtual receptionist, from improving your time management to boosting your firm’s long-term success. And, ultimately, it can bring lawyers and their employees peace of mind and increased job satisfaction.