A legal answering service acts as an extension of your team. They’re your partner, covering for you when you’re not available and pushing your existing workflow into overdrive.

So how do you make the most of your answering service? Here are five important steps to take:

Define success

The first and most important step is defining your own success. What do you want out of this partnership? Can the service deliver that?

Choose a few key metrics related to your intake process. You could look at calls answered after hours, consultation appointments set, or leads captured. Set a quantifiable goal for each one—something ambitious, but still achievable.

The point is to be sure you know what success means for your partnership with the service. Establishing that from the get-go will help you stay on track.

Customize your call flow

What, exactly, do you want your virtual receptionist to say when they answer your phone?

This isn’t just about the wording of your greeting. Your call flow is like a Choose Your Own Adventure story. What your caller says at each point along the way determines what happens next.

The customized call flow is there to capture and qualify leads, so you know which people are most likely to become your next clients. The flow also acts as a gatekeeper, preventing less important (or completely irrelevant) calls from disturbing you throughout the day and night.

Work with the answering service to design a call flow that you think will lead to success according to the metrics you defined. Expect to refine your call flow over time as you see it in action. Before long, you’ll have it working the way you want.

Integrate your software

A legal answering service can do a lot more than just take messages. You can integrate it with your law firm’s overall workflow to build a solid intake system that runs with or without you.

If you’re using a software application for practice and case management, integrating your legal answering service with that system is a must. Caller details will be automatically added to your records, so you can track inbound leads precisely. All this is designed to save you time, so you have the freedom to focus on your cases. 

The sooner you start integrating your answering service, the sooner you’ll get back precious minutes of your day. Let the software keep you on track. 

Communicate your marketing plans

A legal answering service helps you maximize your marketing. When you run an ad campaign, for example, you have to be ready for the leads you generate—otherwise they could get voicemail. And 80% of people just hang up when that happens. 

Communicating your marketing plans with your legal answering service helps ensure you can handle a big influx in leads—after all, that’s the goal, right? A new campaign might warrant a tweak to your call flow or additional minutes added. Whatever you decide, making your answering service part of the conversation will help you all stay aligned.

Iterate continuously

Like many facets of running a business, adding an answering service to your team is not “set it and forget it.” A good service will work with you to anticipate your needs and customize your account to satisfy them. But the real benefits of this kind of partnership come from continuous iteration.

Using the definition of success you created, monitor your system’s performance regularly. Keep track of how many calls you’re getting and how many of them turn into captured, qualified leads. Follow these leads through to the final outcome.

Use this data to modify your call flow as needed. Try to get better each month. Soon, your answering service will be a true part of your law office’s team.

Looking for a legal answering service to capture valuable leads for your firm? Contact us to get started!