Competition is a constant in the legal industry. For the average lawyer, finding success means going head to head against people and practices who are every bit as hungry as they are. This is a field where doing well is generally synonymous with doing better.
This idea obviously applies to the courtroom, but it's just as pertinent to the administrative side. Enter the virtual receptionist for lawyers. The solution is a low-key but highly effective way for firms to streamline business processes, put a professional face forward, and cut operational costs — any one of which can determine law firm performance relative to competing organizations. When taken together, firms gain a true competitive edge.
The Changing Legal Landscape
Consider all the changes the legal world has undergone in recent years. Day-to-day courtroom matters are largely the same as ever, but the world beyond the courthouse moves so fast it can be hard to keep up. Business models, pricing schemes, and the basic tools needed to survive are in constant flux, leaving legal professionals to roll with the punches or cede business to practices that can.
Much of this change can be traced back to the intertwined forces of technological advancement and consumer expectation. Because the internet and smartphones have made various transactions easier than ever, consumers expect a similar level of polish and ease anywhere they do business. Accordingly, younger consumers — the first ones to grow up with the modern level of technological convenience — are less patient with bureaucracy and rigidity than are previous generations, as noted by the University of North Carolina.
Taken together, these factors give law firms a particularly steep challenge: simplifying and modernizing an industry that is bound and forged by hundreds of years of bureaucracy.
But by focusing on pain points within their control, firms can compete on the basis of experience. Even better, the right tools often reduce operational costs, effectively allowing law practices to save money on one end and generate revenue on the other. While it may seem like a small change at first glance, a virtual receptionist for lawyers can help with both — and pay off in a big way.
In an industry where small competitive advantages have big impacts, that's more than enough reason to consider a move — preferably before the competition forces it.
Staying Competitive with a Virtual Receptionist for Lawyers
The ability to project competence and confidence is a cornerstone of the legal profession. Depending on the case, most legal work is done behind the scenes and with limited client input, making it quite difficult for clients to discern quality of service by conventional measures. For example, a lawyer with excellent legal skills but subpar conversational skills may find themselves unable to attract and retain clients. It's much the same story at the firm level, where a practice's inability to express the competence it displays in the courtroom outside of it may cost it in terms of client attrition.
Considering this, imagine a young potential client facing their first encounter with a criminal court or civil complaint. The first firm they call doesn't have a system at all. The phone simply rings and rings — until the caller finally hangs up. The second firm's phone rings once, then kicks them to a voicemail message promising to call them back if they leave a number — which they don't, since they aren't sure if this firm is suited to their specific problem.
The third firm, meanwhile, welcomes them, tells them which button will take them to which specialty and attorney, and asks them to briefly hold until their call can be answered. Encouraged that this practice can meet their needs thanks to the virtual receptionist, the caller is confident that this firm can help them.
This story has a bit of a Goldilocks vibe to it, but it also illustrates the ways a virtual receptionist for lawyers can improve client experience from the onset. The statement "You know you've done a good job when nobody notices" applies here: Instead of irritating a potential new client, the company subtly provides them with exactly what they need easily and promptly. Even if the client doesn't rave about the awesome IVR that saved them stress (and they might!), they also won't complain about the call to their social media following.
The Benefits of the Cloud
The benefits of a virtual receptionist don't stop at the intangible, however. For firms themselves, a lightweight, simple service that can be mapped, configured, and recorded from any authorized computer is far preferable to wrangling a complex on-premises IVR, especially if the system is spread over multiple firm locations. Adding new offices, configuring extensions, and making other material changes is as easy as tying in a web browser. Since it's cloud-based, there's no need to house bulky servers or wireline racks in the office, and processing of the service's voice-recognition feature is handled by the provider, making it much easier to change prompts.
On the operational front, meanwhile, an automated assistant can reduce the need for dedicated call-routing staff. At personal injury and collections firms (among numerous others), these personnel can account for a large chunk of administrative or support payroll. Bringing in an automated system that handles the job of an entire team allows firms to phase out less efficient operational costs or put their staff on tasks better suited to human attention.
Between all of these factors, the benefits of a virtual receptionist can be substantial for the legal industry. Used in conjunction with other UCaaS solutions for law firms, the technology provides financial and experiential advantages that keep everyone in the legal process happy — clients, lawyers, and ownership chief among them. In an industry where small competitive advantages have big impacts, that's more than enough reason to consider a move — preferably before the competition forces it.
Ready to sharpen your competitive edge? Let Vonage law firm solutions provide the solutions you need.