A legal receptionist has an important job – collecting, nurturing, and qualifying leads potentially worth thousands of dollars that come into a given law firm. Keeping these important responsibilities in mind, how should a legal receptionist answer the phone?
The normal professional phone etiquette rules apply to legal receptionists, but there are also a few additional best practices to follow in this specialized branch of the receptionist field.
A solo or small firm attorney might be tempted to use an automated answering service to ensure (s)he doesn’t miss a call that could be worth thousands, but automated answering services are a mistake for attorneys.
“If you’re a solo practitioner or part of a small firm, you might feel you need to use an automated answering service to save some money and human capital, but it’s worth the extra money to have a real person answering the phones, taking messages or politely directing callers to the appropriate party.
Automated phone answering systems can raise time barriers, frustrate callers and make your practice seem impersonal…Remember that each phone interaction with your firm will leave the client with an impression: positive, negative or neutral. If callers get an automated message that instructs them to “Press 1 for this person and 2 for that person,” it may be a big turnoff.” – Noble McIntyre, Senior Partner and Owner, McIntyre Law
Instead, opt for a virtual legal receptionist, a trained receptionist who works from a remote office location and answers the calls that come to your law firm according to a script or list you provide. A virtual receptionist can direct callers to the right party, take messages, give basic information about the firm to callers, screen calls, schedule and manage appointments, and help qualify your leads.
Click here to try a virtual legal receptionist free for 30 days (up to 1,000 minutes)
Once you’ve selected a virtual legal receptionist to work with, let’s address the question: How should a legal receptionist answer the phone?
How should a legal receptionist answer the phone?
- Quickly. A legal receptionist should always answer a call before the 3rd ring, but picking it up on the 2nd is even better! Legal clients want to find representation fast, and a speedy answer gives them the impression that your law office is the right choice for them.
- Warmly. Many legal receptionists make the mistake of confusing professional behavior with coldness or a lack of friendliness. Legal clients are often going through a tough time and a friendly receptionist can help them make the decision to work with your firm over others who may not have been as warm.
- Clearly. The greeting shouldn’t be left to chance – create a standard greeting that is friendly but clear in offering information. “Hello, you’ve reached Legal Law Firm. This is Pam, how may I help you?”
- Knowledgeably. A legal receptionist doesn’t need to have a law degree, but (s)he should know enough about your practice to answer basic questions for callers and to know who to transfer callers to with deeper questions.
- Personally. Your legal receptionist should place importance on making each call experience as personal and friendly as professional standards allow. This means referring to returning clients by name, remembering small details about the client that are unrelated to their case, and offering to go above and beyond to get a client the help they need. This simple touch can make the difference between a client choosing your law firm or another to work with.