Legal Receptionists: How to Reduce the Front-Office Overload

Law firms are unlike most business offices. Their services are so specific to areas of practice and the types of consultation they offer that a single receptionist at the front desk is rarely sufficient. Instead, there are usually several people in the office to help answer the phone. While helpful for the callers, it presents challenges for paralegals, legal assistants, bookkeepers and lawyers with a full workload. Answering the phone can siphon precious hours away from completing other tasks. One solution to thisĀ  problems it to outsource the main switchboard line to an inbound call center service. A professional company can minimize the demands on the onsite office staff, creating the needed time and energy for in-house personnel to work on their primary responsibilities.

Areas of Practice

There are many different types of lawyers. While some attorneys handle general practice, others have a specific focus. Some examples include family practice, criminal cases, civil suits, real estate, bankruptcy and corporate law. People who need a lawyer don’t always know or understand that every attorney may not be able to handle every case, especially theirs. An inbound call center can screen callers and find out what types of services they need. The calls can be sorted and funneled as needed, referring some callers to other law groups or gathering information for an experienced attorney to speak to them.

Collecting Information

When taking an initial call from a potential client, there are several questions that need to be asked before a professional can help. This means that each initial phone call can take several minutes. When a law firm has a busy switchboard, it’s difficult for the receptionist to handle all of these calls at once. Callers need to be put on hold, or worse, go directly into voice mail because staff members are too busy talking to other people. Just as an in-house receptionist would be required to ask certain questions, an inbound call center services professional would have a list of questions to ask so that vital background data can be collected through a screening process. Some typical information-gathering questions include the person’s name, contact email and phone number, type of incident, location of the incident or issue, where the person lives and what harm was caused or alleged.

Providing Information

Aside from gathering basic details from potential clients, the front lines of a law firm can also provide information about the practice and answer inquiries. Callers may want to know about the backgrounds and practice areas of the attorneys, what geographic locations and legal jurisdictions are covered, where the offices are located, how billing works and whether specific services are provided. For example, some family lawyers handle adoptions, while others don’t. Callers with specific questions need a professional response and don’t want to be rushed off the phone by someone who needs to tend to the switchboard or run off to a scheduled meeting.

Taking the Next Step

Once important information is gathered from inbound callers, a next step must be taken. Some callers need to be told that the firm can’t help with their issues, while others require the attention of a skilled attorney to give them legal advice. Using call center outsourcing to separate potential clients from those who need to go elsewhere, the workload on in-house staff is pared down to a more manageable level.

Americall offers inbound call center services to law firms and other businesses that reduces the workload for onsite staff so that they can use their skills and knowledge to help potential clients. To learn more about how Americall can help your company, read more about our call center services.

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