Your receptionist has 7 seconds to make a positive impression on a client. Answering the phone is one of the most underappreciated yet effective means of turning leads into clients. At Attorney Business Consulting, we know what it takes. If you think your receptionist could use some tips on how to answer phone calls, check out our guide below.
- Not Smiling
This may sound somewhat strange, given that the person on the other end of the line can’t see you. The science, however, is fairly clear. When you smile, your body responds physiologically as if you were happy. Your receptionist’s mood will be elevated. That, in turn, will make them sound friendlier and more positive while they are talking. It is counter-intuitive, but the results speak for themselves.
- Misunderstanding What You Do
No one is saying that your receptionist should have a law degree, but the person who fields your calls needs to have a firm grasp on what you are doing at a conceptual level. They ought to be able to answer a few basic questions about what you can do for a client. When they are out of their depth, they should know who to transfer to.
If your law practice covers multiple areas of law, your receptionist should send them to the right person, every time. Wasting a potential client’s time is one of the easiest ways to lose them. Your receptionist should know who does what, and how to send clients to them.
- Being Too Formal
When someone is calling a lawyer, there is a very good chance that they are having a tough time. Whether they have been accused of breaking the law, or they have been in a car crash, they are probably stressing out about something. A friendly receptionist will put a caller at ease. It is a good idea to look at it from the client’s perspective: would you want a law firm who does things by the book, or would you want a team that has empathy in a difficult situation? For a lot of people, the answer is clear.
- Not Standardizing
Your receptionist’s greeting is not something that you should leave to chance. It may prove beneficial to create a standard way to answer the phone. Something like, “Hello, you have reached the _____ Law Firm. This is ________, what can we do for you?”
- Taking a Long Time to Answer
The phone should ring no more than two times. Remember, the person calling your law firm is probably having a very stressful time. Waiting for a secretary to answer the phone does nothing but induce more stress. Answering the phone promptly shows a great amount of care and professionalism. It can soothe the client’s mind.
- Not Having a Scratch Pad
People are going to give information to your receptionist, in one way or another. When someone calls in and has to repeat the same information a few different times, they are going to get frustrated. Retaining that information is key, and something as simple as writing everything down is a good way to transfer information from the receptionist to the people who need it. Try to jot down names, dates, and what happened.
If you have any questions about how to answer phone calls, contact us today. We are confident in our abilities to boost your law firm’s business, because we have used many of these tips to help our own receptionists. Our consultants are seasoned professionals, and we have the insight and experience you need to flourish in a tough environment.