You’re looking at hiring an answering service for the first time and you’re wondering, how can I control what they say? The answer is a call script – questions and responses for your virtual receptionists to follow when they speak to your callers. 

We’ve been helping our legal clients connect with customers for twelve years, and in that time, we’ve learned a lot about what makes a successful flow. This guide will help you plan your own scripts, whether you’re working with a virtual receptionist like LEX Reception, or helping your in-house receptionists ensure a consistent phone experience. 

What is a call script?

A call script is the guide that tells your receptionists what to say when they answer your calls. It is sometimes called a call flow. It’s how an answering service matches your practice’s tone and terminology. In short, it’s how we sound like you. 

At LEX, we are often told by clients that their legal customers think we are their in-house receptionists. This is only possible because we work hard to develop great call scripts with each and every client. 

Why is it important?

A call script is your first impression. A good call script helps your callers to understand your firm and what they can expect from working with you. In law firms, you’ll receive a lot of calls from people who are stressed, upset, or pressed for time. By asking the right questions, you’ll give them confidence in your practice and leave them feeling more positive than before. 

A call script also helps you get the best from your receptionists. With all the information they need at their fingertips, they can focus on the customer and their needs. 

How do we use them at LEX?

During setup, we spend a long time working with our clients to make sure their call flows work well for both their practice and our receptionists. 

We have some template scripts which create a strong base for you to edit, add branding, and include specific questions for your practice area. Our client account managers are experienced in optimizing scripts and they know what has worked for previous clients to help guide you through the process. 

What qualities does a great call script have?

  • A simple flow – Don’t provide too many options as this will get overwhelming for your leads. Identify the top 3-4 reasons that your customers will call you, ensuring that one of your options is a general catch-all that allows you to take a message when a caller doesn’t fit your main scenarios. 

“Are you a potential new client with us or are you calling regarding a current case?”

LEX legal receptionist
  • Natural phrases – Some people find calling a lawyers’ office intimidating and the best way to combat these nerves is with warmth and approachability. Our receptionists are experts at putting callers at ease, but the script needs to support them by keeping the questions and pacing as natural as possible. If you’re not sure whether it is easy to follow or not, read your script out loud to test its flow.

“May I take a phone number for you, in case we get disconnected?”

LEX legal receptionist
  • Detailed information – You’ll often receive calls from people asking for email addresses, your office address, or your opening hours. By adding detailed and up-to-date information about your firm, our receptionists can answer these questions immediately. The more information your receptionists have available when they take a call, the better they can represent your firm. 

“Our office is located at 1 Example Avenue, Portland, Oregon and we are open from 8:30-5:30, Monday to Friday.”

LEX legal receptionist
  • Transparent and trustworthy – When a lead calls, you’ll want to get as much information from them as possible, but some people will be hesitant to provide lots of personal data. That’s why it helps to include the reasoning behind each question, so that our receptionists can make callers feel secure.

“May I have the opposing party’s name to complete a conflict check?”

LEX legal receptionist
  • Next steps – A successful call should leave the caller feeling relieved and confident that they have support on their legal issue. By providing them some next steps, you can reduce the chance that they’ll reach out to other firms with their case. 

“I will give your case details to the attorney, and if your case qualifies, they will reach out for more information or to arrange a consultation.”

LEX legal receptionist

Beyond new client intake

Your call script should be flexible, beyond being ideal for intake. A law office will get lots of different types of callers, from new leads, to opposing counsel and court staff. Your call flow should be able to make each one feel understood and avoid unnecessary repetition for contacts you already have in the system. 

This is where decision trees are so effective. A current client will not want to have their contact information taken again every single time they call. Each type of caller requires different questions, and you can specify these in your call flow. 

It is always good practice to add an ‘other’ option for opportunities and contacts who may not fit within your usual template. This will often involve just taking a message for the attorney to review later. 

Time-of-day scripting 

It helps to have multiple scripts for different times of day, as the actions you’d want a receptionist to take during work hours are completely different to those for after-hours.  

In your daytime script, you might want to enable call transfers for verified callers. This lets the receptionist know to pass them straight to an available attorney, speeding up the call for a better experience. 

We would recommend only making call transfer options available during your working hours. While clients may hope to reach you in the evenings, it’s important to be able to truly switch off. If you’re expecting an urgent call out-of-hours, you can always check your messages in real-time with our mobile app and call them back. 

Out of hours, the best practice is to keep your scripts short and to the point. You’ll want your receptionists to take a message with enough detail for you to follow up when you are next in the office, without keeping the caller on the phone for long.  

Top tips

  • Take the time to listen to a recording of your script in use. Are there any questions that confuse the caller, or anything the receptionist has to repeat? This will help you streamline your flow in the future. 
  • Remember that your customers may not describe their case using the correct legal terminology. Try to include some common phrases that might signal a good potential customer for your practice area, even if they don’t know the legal term for their case type.
  • Scripts shouldn’t be static! As your firm grows, your scripts should grow with you. You can edit your scripts at any time, and we would recommend looking over them every month or two to make sure they still reflect your customers’ most asked questions.

The LEX Reception team are experts in creating and refining custom scripts that work for your law firm. To find out how we could help, call us on 800-800-9995. If you’re already a LEX client and you’d like to update your call flows, speak to your account manager or book a call.