How to Use a Virtual Receptionist in Your Law Practice
The path to a high-paying first-year associate position right out of law school is no longer a sure thing. Hasn’t been for some time. More new lawyers are hanging out a shingle after they pass the bar. Veteran lawyers, weary of the big law grind, are also feeling their entrepreneurial oats, as are some trend-reversing in-house lawyers who are itching to go out on their own, as I discovered at recent bar association events.
Unlike the high cost and logistics of a brick and mortar office, the bar to entry for starting a virtual practice in a digital world is low. See: 5 Essentials for Starting a Virtual Law Firm. As you grow, add a sixth essential element: a virtual receptionist.
I reached out to the good folks at Ruby Receptionists, a ubiquitous presence in the legal profession, to get some insight. The following was graciously provided by Katie Hurst, Marketing Communications Manager.
Establishing and building trust
Attorney-client relationships are built on trust—a process which begins with the very first phone call. If a potential or current client is unable to reach a real person, or happens to catch you at a bad moment, those poor experiences can damage that trust. Having a real person answering your phone not only creates a great experience for your callers, it continues to build your client’s trust.
A virtual receptionist service—like that provided by Ruby® Receptionists—is a great tool for ensuring every call is answered promptly and professionally, creating a great experience for callers and saving you the cost of an in-house hire. Ruby in unique in that they have created a platform for fueling solo and small firm growth through robust call-handling software, smart proprietary mobile technology and a unique mission to create world-class customer experiences.
Supporting Your Virtual Practice
Stay Connected to Clients Even While You’re Out. Attorneys are often called to court, in meetings with clients, or otherwise occupied—and by having a live person answering phones up to 16 hours a day Monday through Friday, Ruby establishes your firm as attentive and professional. Instead of call routinely going to voicemail, friendly, live voice does wonders for potential client trust.
Delegate the “Intake” to Ruby. Our charming virtual receptionists are great at engaging potential clients and helping clients feel taken care of. For example, if a potential client calls, we can gather information for a short intake form. You get all the vital details (first and last name, info on the case, how they heard about the firm, email address, or whatever info you’d like) in order to have an informed conversation when you return the call.
Keep Callers Informed of Your Status. Our handy Status feature on the mobile app helps keep callers and clients in the loop. Simply update your status to let us know when you’re out of the office in court or elsewhere, and our virtual receptionist will inform callers (“She’s in court until 1pm…. May I have her return your call then?”). It’s just like giving instructions to an in-house receptionist as you head out the door.
Designate Priority Callers. We understand how important it is to be responsive to the courts. Many of our attorney clients set up special instructions for us, because though a client may be able to wait an hour for an update on his case, a judge may be a different matter. For example, when transferring a call to you, we may try your office number if it’s a client, but also try a cell number for potentially urgent or time-sensitive calls from fellow attorneys and people from the courts.
These are just a few of the ways a virtual receptionist can support your virtual law practice.