Telephone Etiquettes That May Positively Impact A Law Firm’s Reputation And Business
In today’s highly “internet-worked” society, we work with a “Now” attitude and a timely response is what shapes our next course of action. If you are part of a small legal firm or if you run a one-man show, you may choose to invest in an automated answering system. However, automated messages, such as “Press 1 for service A” or “Press 2 for service B”, are most likely to irritate your customers who are actually looking to hear the voice of a real person and to get their issues resolved as early as possible. So it makes sense when you hire a real person to answer the phones, note down the messages, and advise the callers on what they should do next. You may want to make sure that your answering service staff or your receptionist demonstrates appropriate telephone etiquette and helps your prospective clients as well as existing clients get the answer they need.
Make sure that your receptionist answers the phone before the third ring. Your callers have the real need to call you and so they want their calls to be acknowledged as fast as possible. There may be instances when your receptionist may be too busy to answer a phone, but he/ she should still answer the phone before it rings thrice and may either ask the caller to hold for a moment or redirect him/ her to an automated system. The person answering the phone should demonstrate a warm and friendly gesture and this should be reflected in his/her tone of voice.
You should have your voice-mail activated with your own personal greeting message. This is something which your assistant should not be doing on your behalf. People who are looking to reach you should hear your voice. Make sure your vacation message is short and pleasant and provides updated information. You must indicate your tentative date of return while providing an assurance of follow-up after you return to work. Value your clients’ time. Make sure that a caller passes through very few steps before he/she reaches the appropriate person or gets the desired response. Your clients will not appreciate a complicated and time-consuming process that involves communications at multiple levels.
Whether you admit or not, your receptionist serves as the first line of inside sales even though you may have appointed a separate sales team to promote your practice. The person who serves as the first point of contact to your prospective clients should have adequate knowledge about your firm and its capabilities and he/she should be able to respond to the callers’ enquiries in an appropriate manner. Simply put, your receptionist or answering service staff should be aware of your firm’s practice areas and the specialization areas of your lawyers. Additionally, your receptionist should be familiar with your clients’ names and their specific cases. Your clients will appreciate personal touch and this is something that they expect from your service. And last but not the least, the first “hello” matters a lot and you should make sure that your receptionist or answering service operative makes the first positive impression with a “hello” that fosters a sense of assurance and warmth among your prospective clients.