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:
24-hour Answering Service and Tech Support
Some people want an attorney immediately. It might be 3:00 in the morning, but to your potential client, the best attorney is the one who will be there for him at all hours. It’s still true that most new clients will call during the day, but if you’re trying to maximize your firm’s revenue, you’ll need to be available–to some extent–24 hours per day. If you’ve got a good SEO fundamentals, the call could come at any time, and the virtual receptionist will pay for itself.
Answer1 offers 24/7 coverage for your law firm. This is common amongst many legal answering services; however, Ruby Receptionist does not have 24/7 support. This is one of the big differences between the two companies. Both offer bilingual support, however.
Staying up to date with technology is a major priority for Answer1. They are constantly working to improve their services and integrate with software that attorneys are using. For example, their receptionists can push intake information directly into your case management software. Instead of receiving a summary of the call, you’ll wake up to the new client’s information already input into your case management software. Answer1 will also schedule appointments for you on whatever calendar app you use (Google, Office, Calendly).
You’ll also have a mobile application (iOS/Android) for your Answer1 account. You can check how many minutes you’ve used for the month, and you can give a personalized message to prospective clients. Clients don’t want to hear that you’re “not available” every time they call, so you can make a personalized status update from your phone explaining why you are unavailable. Here are some screenshots from their client portal:
Law Firms Get the Best Virtual Receptionists
Answer1 has a leveling up process for its virtual receptionists. In the beginning, each receptionist receives training and coaching to develop virtual receptionist skills (i.e. active listening, being empathetic, being engaged in the conversation). When they begin taking calls, each receptionist is periodically scored on their performance with their calls. The ones who score very well are promoted to more sophisticated clients with specialized needs. This process continues until you’re left with a top tier of receptionists who work with law firms. Only the top level of Answer1’s receptionists can work for attorneys, so you’re guaranteed to have the best and brightest of Answer1’s team working for your law firm.
Their receptionists can handle lead qualification to your specifications. For example, if you only want personal injury clients who have health insurance and property damage over $3,000, Answer1 can vet your leads to make sure you only are forwarded those leads. They do not, however, send out your firm’s retainer agreements yet.
Answer1 Pricing and Discounts
As with most call centers, you pay Answer1 based on the number of minutes you use. However, you don’t have to choose how many minutes you want to buy in advance. Answer1 can prorate you to the appropriate buying package based on your use. For example, if you want only 100 minutes for January, but you use 200 minutes, Answer1 will charge you for the 200 minute package without penalty. Similarly, if you purchase 200 minutes, but only use 100, Answer1 will only charge you for the 100 minute package.
Answer1 is surprisingly affordable compared to Ruby Receptionists. For 100 minutes, it’s $2.39 per minute (Ruby is $2.69). 200 minutes is $1.995 per minute (Ruby is $2.545), 500 minutes is $1.498 per minute (Ruby is $2.138), and if you need above 500 minutes, you can set up custom quote for your business.
But also, if you mention Small Firm Legal Marketing, you will receive 15% off. That’s $2.03/$1.696/$1.27 for 100/200/500 minutes respectively.
Answer1 has the prestige of a major name in the answering service market, with the affordability that works for a small firm. They’re available 24/7, have an app for your convenience, and are tech-focused. The only downside I can see here is that they can vet your leads, but they cannot send out your retainer agreements to them. If they call in the middle of the night, you’ll have to either respond to your firm or assume that they’ll hold off on signing with another firm until the morning.
The price is good for the market, and its reputation and popularity speak to its quality. I would recommend Answer1 especially if you don’t want to work with a smaller call center (which might have an even cheaper price, but unknown quality).
Do you use a call center for after hours? Have you heard of Answer1 virtual receptionists before? Do you check your email at night for new leads? Please post your feedback in the comments section below.