The holiday season is almost upon us. Yes, we can’t believe it either! The run-up to the holidays can bring excitement, but also a sense of panic. You want to relax and enjoy your holidays, but there’s so much to prepare.
We know that the holiday poses its own challenges for attorneys and firm owners. Work doesn’t stop during the holidays. You can find you’re still qualifying prospective clients and working on cases at a time when you, your colleagues, and fellow attorneys are all trying to take time to rest and recharge with loved ones.
But we believe that celebrating the holidays is essential. In an industry built on hard work and consistent availability, you need time off with friends and family to recharge your batteries. But it is impossible to relax if you’re worried about how many calls you’ve missed with no one at the office.
5 ways to prepare for the holidays
1. Set expectations
Great communication helps to set expectations with your existing clients. Some clients panic when they can’t reach you for an answer immediately and they don’t understand why. If you are upfront and honest about your availability, then they’ll be less likely to call you while your office is closed and if they do, they’re more likely to be patient and understanding.
Draft a message to all your existing clients to let them know what dates you will be away. This message can also help you build relationships with them – you could find out about their holiday plans, send warm wishes, and give them a quick update on their case. It doesn’t have to be much, but clients are happier when they feel like your priority.
2. Get the right support
Business doesn’t stop over the holidays, and some tasks still need to be done. This is where your support team comes in. If you don’t trust your wider support team, you won’t be able to relax.
Support looks different for each firm and there is no one-size-fits-all model. Your support team should be ready to listen to you, understand the specific needs of your firm, and implement bespoke solutions. And this isn’t only during setup. Your firm’s needs will change, especially around the holidays, and your support team is crucial in maintaining consistency while your in-house team is enjoying their time off.
Speak to your answering service, marketing agency, or legal service provider before your holidays. It’s important to discuss your hopes for the holiday period so that they know exactly how to support you. If you’ve picked the right team, you should leave this conversation reassured that they will look after your firm while you are away.
3. Set up your holiday script
Using an answering service over the holidays is almost essential at this point. If you’ve never used one, you may wonder what took you so long. With the ability to take messages from clients, intake and qualify potential clients, sync new contacts with your CRM, and much more, an answering service provides a warm and personal welcome for your callers.
Whether you use an answering service as year-round support or just during the holidays, we recommend setting up a holiday script for your virtual receptionists. A holiday script can be as detailed or general as you want. Your scripts are customized for your firm and can be set up to automatically replace your regular script from the first hour of your holiday. You can tell us which holidays you close for and how long – either using our defaults or customizing based on your firm’s opening times.
Learn more about custom scripting.
4. Create a consultation calendar
There will be occasional callers over the holidays who don’t just want their details taken. They are feeling anxious about their legal issue, and they want to feel like they can solve it. If you can’t sketch out next steps for them, they might hang up and try your competitor instead. This is where offering a consultation slot, even one several weeks ahead, could secure you that potential client.
If you haven’t already, provide your legal answering service with a consultation calendar which they can offer to callers once they have been qualified. You can select your preferred availability and remove all slots from your holiday dates. After your time off, you could come back to a calendar busy with new appointments and consultations. This isn’t just for attorneys who offer free consultations, your answering service can even take payment for consultation slots to reduce no-shows.
Did you know that LEX Reception clients can use Setmore’s Premium calendar for free? Find out more.
5. Simplify your return-to-work
We’ve all felt the sharp shock of the first day back after the holidays. There’s the sinking feeling when you see your full email inbox, the scramble to follow up with leads that came in, check-ins with clients – all this when you’re readjusting to a different pace. Don’t feel guilty or push yourself too hard, it’s natural to find work a bit overwhelming after a holiday. Instead, plan ahead to make the first day back a relief.
One of the best ways to do this is a legal CRM, fully integrated with your answering service. Storing all your contact data is the simplest way to stay up-to-date on all your client interactions. Add in a virtual receptionist intaking potential clients, and you have a perfect match. You’ll return to a CRM filled with new contacts, properly organized and ready for you to begin consultations.
The holiday period is meant to be a chance for you to rest, relax, and connect with your loved ones. You can’t do this if you’re constantly glancing at your phone, or worrying about losing clients.
Plan for the holiday you want.
If you need legal answering support with calendar booking and CRM integration, speak to the LEX Reception team on 800-800-9995 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We can begin taking your calls immediately after you sign up, so you get consistent cover.