How Do Answering Services Work? Why Attorneys Should Outsource to An Answering Service
How do answering services work for attorneys? Here’s what you need to know about the true cost of hiring a receptionist vs outsourcing an answering service.
Phone struggles mean business struggles.
Indeed, check out these statistics:
- 80% of business conversations are over the phone.
- As much as 80% of callers hang up without leaving a message if someone doesn’t answer.
- 71% of customers end a business relationship due to rudeness or ineptitude over the phone.
Clearly, polite, well-handled phone calls are essential to the success of any business. They facilitate business operations, ensure new clients come through the door, and keep existing clients happy.
However, phone calls are also time-consuming.
Which can be problematic for attorneys trying to manage their daily schedule. With more work than time, it can be hard to pay close enough attention to phone calls. It can help to have someone do it all for you.
Enter the world of answering services. But what are they, how do answering services work, and what would the benefits to a busy attorney be?
How Do Answering Services Work?
Let’s take a quick first look at how answering services work.
Attorney answering service companies have been around for a while now. Businesses and organizations who need to be contactable have long relied on them to facilitate incoming call traffic (we’ll address why they choose to do so in the benefits section).
As the name suggests, the basic role of an answering service is to receive and screen incoming calls.
They’ll answer the call, screen it, solve basic problems, receive orders, and take down messages, set up appointments, and so on. Imagine a receptionist, but one that’s available at all hours of the day and that doesn’t turn up late for work.
Two types predominate: live and automated services, respectively. You can probably guess how they differ. Live services put a customer in contact with an actual person; automated services provide a robot.
In general, live services are preferable. There are fewer miscommunications, problems are resolved quicker, and they can perform any task necessary (unlike automated services).
Top 5 Benefits of Outsourcing to Answering Services
Now we know how they work, let’s turn to why an attorney might be interested in them. Here are 5 benefits of outsourcing to an answering service.
1. Better Than a Receptionist
Attorneys often have a receptionist to help manage their calls.
But there are pitfalls to this approach. Firstly, it’s expensive. Receptionists need to be recruited, receive training, go on payroll and get a proper salary.
Indeed, the average salary of a full-time receptionist is roughly $31,000 per year. But that doesn’t include payroll taxes and benefits.
Next up, if they’re sick, or away, or have simply finished for the day, then there’s nobody to take the calls for you (but you’re still paying them).
Answering services suffer none of the above issues. You pay directly for the service you require, get fully trained and professional call-handlers that can be available 24/7. Oh, and multiple calls can be handled at any one time.
2. Improved Customer Service and Professional Image
We’ve already seen how a mishandled phone call can be disastrous for any business.
Customers will literally look elsewhere to spend their money. That would be a major problem for an attorney who relies on their reputation to gain clients. They can’t afford to either miss a call or mishandle it.
Answering services provide fully trained professionals to deal with phone calls. Attorney-specific services mean they know the ropes of your business already. These guys understand your job role and what’s required of them as a result- without the training required to bring them up to speed.
You can guarantee a great customer experience over the phone.
Even an automated service means someone is ‘manning the desk’ at all hours. You won’t get the same customer service, but at least there’s something responding to calls.
3. More Time Available
Any form of outsourcing frees you up to focus on your core tasks.
Sure, phone calls may be a central part of your role as an attorney. But there will be some calls that are more important than others; some that only you can handle, and others that simply take up time and mean you’re unavailable for the important ones.
Using an answering service means your time is suddenly yours again. You can turn your attention to existing clients and cases. All the while in the full knowledge your other calls are being handled by friendly, professional people.
4. Manage All Your Needs
There might be certain things you simply can’t do.
For instance, we’ve already established that answering services are available 24/7. You can’t take calls when you’re sleeping. But they can. You’re open for business at all times of the day. That’s good news if you’re looking to expand and take on more clients. Everyone’s needs are being met: yours and your clients’.
That might be particularly important for international clients, or those who travel a lot. You might not be available, but the client can still get in touch.
That’s not all though. What if you need someone to take calls in another language, such as Spanish, and don’t speak it yourself? Answering services often cater to this too. Bilingual answering services are increasingly common.
Hiring an assistant to receptionist means you’re somewhat committed to them.
You can’t just fire an employee for no reason. Even if they’re no good at the job, you have to go through certain procedures to terminate the contract.
That isn’t the case with answering services. Here, you can end the contract whenever you wish. If it isn’t working out, or if the situation changes, then simply stop paying for the service.
Time to Wrap Up
There you have it: an answer to the question of how do answering services work and a look at the benefits of using one as an attorney.
Phone calls are a vital part of running a successful business. As an attorney, you can’t afford to miss important calls. This is where answering services become invaluable. They’ve been answering the calls of businesses and organizations for decades and solving their problems for just as long.
If you’re in need of some call-handling support, then an answering service may be exactly what you need. Hopefully, this piece has explained exactly how they’re so beneficial.
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