What Makes A Good Call Center Or Virtual Receptionist?

Virtual Receptionist Service

A virtual receptionist service can help a small law firm run more efficiently and take over a significant share of the work. What’s more, it can improve your brand image and grow your business exponentially.

Many large firms have high-quality virtual receptionists to more efficiently use their resources and outperform their competitors. For many small firm lawyers as well, the benefits of a call center greatly outweigh the initial investment that’s necessary to set it up.

However, not any virtual receptionist company is the same as the others. In fact, you need to be careful when you’re choosing your call center agent. If you pick a company that does not have experience in providing in the legal niche, you may end up paying them and getting next to nothing in return.

What’s more, a bad virtual receptionist can even damage your law firm if they are inattentive and not empathetic to potential clients.

More often than not, the receptionist is the first person that your prospective clients talk to. If they leave a bad impression, the client will simply call another law firm and schedule a meeting with them. A neutral impression is better, but your firm should be aiming for better than neutral. You don’t want to lose any potential clients, and you should always leave a positive impression of your firm.

A great receptionist does that for you. They should be able to carefully listen to your client and assure them that their case will be dealt with. When the call ends, the client should feel relieved. They should be confident that your firm will solve his or her issue and feel no need to contact anyone else. Especially other attorneys.

Continue reading to find out what makes a good call center or virtual receptionist. Hopefully, our article will help you find the best service for you.

Non-stop availability

This almost goes without saying.

Your firm needs to be available to potential clients 24/7. No one knows when they will suddenly find themselves in need of a lawyer. It might be 2 PM, but it may as well be 4 AM. In any case, you should have someone ready on the phone, when your potential client calls.

Of course, your law firm doesn’t have to be open non-stop, but if you want to maximize your potential client base, you should have a call center that works round the clock.

While an all-night service might be a bit more expensive, the initial investment often pays for itself within the first few months, depending on your firm. That is because a late-night call is usually made in panic, right after an accident or arrest happens.

If the potential client is calling at this hour, they probably are looking for a real person to talk to.  Maybe they have already called other law firms and no one answered. If your firmresponds to the call, your receptionist can give the caller peace by scheduling a meeting as soon as possible. This way, you will gain a valuable new client, thanks to the non-stop availability of your receptionist.

Multilingual support

A good call center offers support in at least two languages. Although English is the official language, not everyone speaks it well enough to describe their predicament. In such cases, it is vital that your receptionist can provide support in another language (usually Spanish is the most helpful).

Of course, it’s impossible for your firm to provide support in all the languages in your country. Still, you should at least try to offer your services in the second most spoken language in your area. Naturally, the language needs vary depending on the specific location of your firm.

Multilingual support is particularly important for law firms in border states and counties.

Calmness

Earlier, we mentioned an example in which your receptionist deals with a panic call made at 4 AM. Although that rarely happens in reality, that’s almost the perfect storm to test your receptionist. If the caller happens to speak little English as well, your receptionist will need to have exceptional mental toughness to deal with the issue.

A high-quality call center agent will remain calm and patient under the most intense pressure. They need to control their emotions and respect the customer, regardless of any personal issues they may be facing.

Communicative and approachable

Virtual Receptionist or Call Center Service

In the introduction, we talked about the importance of your receptionist. They are the front line of your law firm and the first person people will associate with you as an attorney. In fact, for most clients, the receptionist will represent the only contact that your client will have with your firm before they meet you.

This means that the receptionist needs to be friendly and compassionate. They need to keep a smile on their face and approach each customer with the same enthusiasm.

Flexibility

Call center agents also need to be flexible. They should be able to deal with all types of clients, however challenging their personalities might be, and consistently provide support to them. They should be able to deal with angry clients just as well as with chatty, upbeat people who just can’t stop talking. This requires an incredible dose of flexibility.

Furthermore, your call center agents may have to work difficult hours as well. You should be able to rely on them on holidays, weekends and whenever your clients may call.

Impeccable organizational skills

Impeccable organizational skills are another requirement for high-quality call center service.

Your call center representatives need to be able to handle multiple tasks, while they talk with your prospective clients. In addition to that, they need to meet deadlines, submit client requests and utilize the call center software to optimize your business.

All of that requires them to be incredibly organized.

Speed

A great call center service is characterized by speed and efficiency. However, it should be quick without sacrificing the quality of the work.

An agent should be able to quickly accept calls, process the client requests and forward them to you. Speed in handling issues is important as it allows your agent to efficiently finish the call and turn his attention to the next client. You never want your prospective clients to wait on the line longer than is absolutely necessary.

75% of people think it takes businesses too long to answer their calls.

Memory

No call center agent will be able to provide good support to your clients unless they’re very knowledgeable about your firm. That is why they need to memorize large amounts of information and reproduce them without any errors, whenever the client asks about your law firm. Moreover, they need to understand your brand and act in accordance with it to promote your business at every opportunity.

In case they can’t solve a client’s issue, which will undoubtedly happen from time to time, they should always know where to send them for additional help. If they don’t refer the client to the right person, chances are you will lose that lead.

Luckily, this is something that can be learned. However, it should be learned quickly. If your agent isn’t able to quickly memorize all the necessary information, your firm may suffer.

Price

Price of Virtual Receptionist Service

Of course, no call center service is great unless it comes at a fair price. Thankfully, most call centers now offer different pricing packages. You should be able to find a plan that suits your business needs relatively easily.

Before you decide which call center/virtual receptionist service you will purchase for your business, you can always contact the companies in question and schedule a free trial or ask to talk to their receptionists over the phone.  Reach out to multiple call centers to compare prices.

This way, you will gain a first-hand impression of the service that they provide and see for yourself what exactly they can offer you. But bear in mind that some companies may refuse to let you do this.

There you go! Now you know what makes a good call center or virtual receptionist and you can find the best service for you company.

 

Are there any other aspects of call centers/virtual receptionists that you look for?  What does your call center do best?  Which call centers do you use?  Please leave feedback in the comments.

An Advanced Guide To Free SEO, Part 2

In part 1 of our advanced guide to free SEO, we explained how you can optimize your law firm’s website using free on-page techniques. Now, we will focus on off-page optimization methods that will drive traffic to your website. Continue reading to find out how you can improve your website metrics without spending any money.

Start building backlinks

Advanced Guide To Free SEO - Backlinks

When you finish the keyword research and create some engaging content targeting specific keywords, according to the guidelines provided in part 1 of our advanced guide to free SEO, you need to start promoting your legal practice on the Internet.

One of the best ways to increase your Google ranking is through the practice of backlinking. Backlinking is when another website links to your website.  An easy way to do that is by guest posting and creating content for other websites.

While you might be thinking that it’s better for you to focus on publishing articles on your own website, that’s not always the case.  Backlinks can drive significant traffic to your law firm’s website. (more…)

An Advanced Guide To Free SEO, Part 1

Last week, we brought you a beginner’s guide to digital marketing for lawyers. Now, we will go a step further and delve into more nuanced SEO strategies and techniques that can help grow your law firm.

Our article will explain how you can use the basic SEO principles to your advantage and outrank your competitors. Bear in mind that the following techniques are free if you do it yourself, and still not too expensive if you outsource.

This is part 1 of our advanced guide to free SEO and it will cover the on-page techniques that you can implement to optimize your site. Continue reading to find out how you can organically improve your ranking in the search engines and drive more traffic to your law firm’s website. (more…)

A Beginner’s Guide To Digital Marketing

SEO Is A Process

As law firms became aware of the importance of SEO, digital marketing experts started sharing their tips and tricks to optimizing their legal practices.  Some of these tips and tricks have turned small firms into local powerhouses, while others have not.

Sadly, the promise of instant success is an attractive one. Inevitably, this led to a real explosion of SEO guides, tips and tricks that guarantee  immediate results for the small firm lawyer.

However, we’re here to talk some sense into you.  As the old adage goes: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

That is not to say that search engine optimization can’t deliver remarkable results for attorneys. There is no doubt that a properly designed and executed digital marketing strategy can double or triple your business revenue. But these successes will not happen overnight.

SEO is a Process

SEO Is A Process

The first thing that you need to understand about search engine optimization is that it is a continuous process. You can’t simply perform SEO once and just forget about it. That will bring little to no results for your law firm, and it’s not worth the trouble.

Instead, you should lay out a long-term SEO strategy that will positively affect your ranking in the search engines and generate more traffic and revenue.

However, before you start creating any specific digital marketing strategy, you need to take a step back. Search engine optimization begins with thorough and time-consuming research.

Research What Other Law Firms are Doing

In order for you to create a marketing plan, you first need to research your competition. You need to acquaint yourself with what they’re doing and what they’re not doing.

By researching what they’re doing, you’ll be able to see what content is attractive to your audience and what you should be aiming to replicate. But it’s arguably even more important to find out what your competitors aren’t doing, because it will allow you to identify all the missed opportunities that you can use to your advantage.

In other words, the importance of good research cannot be overestimated. This is the foundation of your future SEO strategy and everything that you do later will depend on it.

Don’t rush it.

Create Useful Legal Content

Content Marketing

Once you’ve done all the necessary research, you need to start working on your law firm’s image. In other words, you need to start creating attractive content that your prospective clients will find useful.

For example, if you’re offering legal services, consider opening a blog that deals with the most common legal issues, such as problematic divorces, inheritance issues, personal injury questions, etc.

This step often means that you need to provide helpful insights and share your knowledge with your audience for free. Many lawyers are reluctant to do this, as they refuse to share their hard-earned knowledge free of any charge. However, this is a common mistake.  

You should try to produce regular and insightful content, but understand that this content is only meant to provide your potential clients with a taste of what you’re offering. But even if you share everything that you know with them, they will likely trust you as an expert on the subject who is more equipped to handle their legal case than figuring it out themselves.

However, instead of writing everything you know, focus on laying out a few general tips and ask the reader to contact you for more information.

Start Building Relationships with Prospective Clients

This points expands on the previous one.

If you want your law firm to succeed, you need to start building relationships with both your clients and your competitors.

Firstly, you need to allow your clients to create meaningful bonds with you. You can do this by sharing personal stories in the form of a blog or by acquainting your prospective clients with your employees.

The benefits of this digital marketing method are multi-layered.

Your employees will feel more valued and respected within the firm and they will be encouraged to continue their good work in the firm. This can create a ripple effect and boost the morale of the entire workforce.

In addition to that, when you write a blog about an employee and his journey to the current job with your firm, it’s very likely that the employee will share the article with his or her friends and family. It’s possible that they will mention the piece to someone they know and that process can go on and on. Eventually, a short piece of writing can bring you many new clients.

Talk to people

Talk To Your Clients

Another easy way to bond with your clients is to just talk with them. You’d be surprised how few lawyers know anything about their clients other than their legal case.

Allow your clients to feel attached to your brand. Let them know that their thoughts and opinions matter. Make them feel like they’re a valued member of your community. Even if they don’t actually work in your law firm.

Good relationships with potential clients are invaluable to a law firm that’s only starting out. You should understand that people are likely to share their positive (and negative!) experiences with others. That’s a form of free publicity that is especially important for lawyers.

Now, it’s true that it is almost impossible to assess the precise value of word-of-mouth marketing. However, that’s an area that most business owners simply do not use enough to promote their business.

Invest your time (and money) in digital marketing

Invest in digital marketing

We mentioned earlier that there are a lot of shady SEO companies that promise instant results. Still, that shouldn’t stop you from investing in professional SEO or digital marketing services.  There are many qualified digital marketing companies out there, and I’ve previously given my personal recommendation.

Unless you employ inexperienced SEO experts, your investment will probably pay off in the long run. As we mentioned earlier, search engine optimization is a process that can last months and months, but it’s proven to work.

You just need to be patient, and invest your time and money. However, even if you can’t afford to spend money on professional SEO services at the moment, you can still improve your firm and generate more traffic to your firm’s website. But that means you will need to spend more of your time on it.

If you can’t invest in SEO or you don’t want to invest before you try it out on your own, check our blog next week. We will present you with a more advanced guide that explains how you can perform SEO on your own, with little to no financial investments.

 

 

Answer1 Review: Virtual Receptionist and Answering Service for Lawyers

Answer1 Logo

Answer1 is a major player in the virtual receptionist/answering service market for lawyers.  Along with Ruby Receptionists, they are one of the top tier businesses in their industry.  Started in the 1980s as a traditional answering service for local businesses, Answer1 was one of the first virtual receptionist companies to adopt Voice Over IP (VoIP) and centralize their operations to serve the entire United States.  Today they are one of the giants of the industry, and you may have seen their advertisements across multiple mediums in legal marketing (podcasts, magazines, etc.).

This review will take a closer look at Answer1’s services and how they compare to the other giant in the legal answering answering service space, Ruby Receptionists.  Let’s dive in: (more…)

PPC: What are Negative Keywords in AdWords?

Negative Keywords for Lawyers

Paying for advertising your law firm with Google can be profitable.  In fact, even an attorney with little to no marketing background may bring in new clients by using Google’s AdWords.  However, there is a way to maximize your return when you decide to use Pay Per Click (PPC) marketing.  This blog post will cover one of the main ways to improve your law firm’s PPC campaigns: using negative keywords.

What are Negative Keywords in Adwords?

Negative Keywords allow you to exclude certain search terms from showing your ad.  This way the clients who are actually looking for your legal services will see your ad, and you won’t waste your ad money on people who aren’t looking for a lawyer. (more…)

Legal Marketing: The BluShark Method vs. The Ben Glass Method

BluShark Digital Ben Glass

Ben Glass and BluShark Digital are two well-regarded legal marketing professionals/businesses who offer different styles of marketing help.

Ben Glass written multiple books on the subject of legal marketing, and maintains a paid-members-only group online to help attorneys with their marketing efforts.  He also offers a digital marketing package that you can buy that contains a number of useful marketing materials you can use with your firm.  Ben holds conferences, blogs regularly, and manages a large legal newsletter.

BluShark Digital, on the other hand, is one of the top legal SEO companies in the United States.  It actively manages the marketing programs of several successful law firms across the country, and the company’s founder appears on different legal marketing podcasts frequently.

While these legal marketing titans may seem similar, their marketing programs couldn’t be more different.  This article will take a closer look at the different styles and try to recommend which might be better suited for your firm. (more…)