This is part two in our series “Being Remote: Lessons to Take Back to the Office.” You can read part one here.
Business phone technology is an overlooked area of any attorney’s business. Most assume that by having a phone number, they are set. Like all areas of business, however, there is a better way, and attorneys who have this “better way” setup are not only functioning in a way that maintains the appearance their physical office is open right now, but they have also avoided the disruption to their business, client intake, and handling of potential customers that many others scrambled to fix during the first few weeks of shelter-in-place.
The “better way” business phone setup for attorneys is simple. You have:
A professional appearanceA live receptionist who answers your main line, knows you, know your business, and understands client intake
Control over your scheduleEither via screened calls, so you can choose who you want to speak to, or via the ability to redirect calls automatically to your partner when you're in meetings, working without disruption, or on-the-go
The ability to answer and make business calls from anywhereA crucial, and often missing aspect to the “traditional” law firm’s phone setup
You may be thinking, “I have one and two right now with my personal receptionist” or “my phone technology checks off items two and three.” And to be fair, that is a great start! But only attorneys who had all three of these services were able to keep focus on running their firms this past month, instead of scrambling to fix things.
These are the same attorneys who go on long vacations or travel overseas and don’t worry about interruption to their business. Attorneys who stay at home semi-regularly, with their client or opposing counsel never knowing they just dropped their kids off at school. These attorneys simply have it better, because they have more flexibility and control over their life and law firm. All from a simple business phone setup.
The business phone is your lifeline for adding potential clients to your pipeline.
In the digital age, the average person is more desperate for human connection. When a client is calling an attorney, that feeling is amplified. They want to hear a real person on the other end of the phone, and they want to feel both heard and supported by them. A professional law firm receptionist is invaluable for making these connections. They are also an expensive commodity for the modern firm.
As an attorney, however, you have a lot to do. You’re juggling work and life, and being on call for each client just isn’t possible. Unlike a doctor however, you can’t make rounds, and your clients aren’t in a room waiting patiently. Having a receptionist fielding your calls will satisfy your client’s needs for being attended too, while also allowing you to be in control of your schedule.
Additionally, the proper phone software can allow you to make changes to your call handling on the fly. If you need to adjust and redirect your calls to a partner you can do so on the backend. Or if you’d like a more personal touch you can send a quick email to your live receptionist and let them know how you’d prefer your calls handled.
This one simple measure ensures you continue adding clients into your pipeline without sacrificing anything.
The ability to take calls anywhere
This is the secret ingredient many attorneys phones are missing. Having control of your schedule, and having a live receptionist are nice, but they are both only at the top of their game if you can also make and take calls from anywhere. The technology exists for attorneys to go out and grab their coffee and lunch and breath of fresh air, and also still take the call from that opposing counsel or judge they have been waiting for. Amata’s own 3CX technology allows making and taking calls from your business phone line. And you’re not sacrificing you physical office device to do so. The number will ring to all devices, and you simply choose where to pick up from, cellphone of office phone.
When you’re in complete control of the calls you take and don’t take, you can also be in control of where you’re sitting walking and being, with no one else knowing anything different. Making an important call from the Chicago Riverwalk has never been easier than it is now.
By having a professional receptionist you have not only great client intake and by having control of your schedule you increase your billable hours (because being interrupted decreases your billable income more than you may realize). And you keep your firming running at the level you're used to even during these strange times.