There aren’t enough hours in the day. It’s something we all complain of and for many, the pandemic has exacerbated the issue. The rise in ‘e-presenteeism’ that’s come with remote working, the shift in consumer communications and the commercial pressure to ‘bounce back’ presents a triple threat and it’s leaving many solicitors stressed and burnt out.
Mental Health Awareness Week magnified the issue and the need for long-term changes to promote and protect workplace wellbeing. But how can we ensure the client experience and bottom-line doesn’t suffer in the process – particularly when demand for conveyancing and family law services is currently sky high?
Bernadette Bennett, Head of the Legal Sector at Moneypenny, which provides telephone answering and live chat support to more than 1,000 legal firms across the UK, shares her advice.
Know when to be unavailable
This feels counterintuitive particularly when solicitors want to capitalise on demand, but you can’t do it all. Sometimes you need to be unavailable in order to get work done. Review your diary and consider which times each day or week need to be set aside for focused work. Notify your in-house or outsourced switchboard teams that you’re not to be disturbed so they can pick up all calls, take messages and if briefed properly, actively manage new enquiries while you’re busy elsewhere. You can then return calls when you’re free.
Don’t be limited by the 9-5
In a 24/7 age, consumers do not feel the constraints of traditional 9-5 office hours and will reach-out to professionals at all times of day and night. Smart phones have put the research process into the palm of their hand and given them the means to contact solicitors at all hours, from anywhere. Outsourcing call handling and live chat eliminates the worry of providing round-the-clock in-house resource and can offer a consistent 24/7 service using clients’ preferred channels. It also means you can be speaking to new clients and potentially winning new work while you and your team sleep.
Use other tools to give you space AND win you work
Make your website a more valuable resource for clients and prospects so you don’t have to call on your inhouse resources. A well-timed live chat pop-up can help to turn website visitors into potential new clients, answer FAQs and capture salient information so that when you do pick up the phone, it’s a pre-qualified lead. It can also help to keep volume away from the phone – which means less noisy distractions. The instant nature of live chat has made it extremely popular with consumers and enquirers tend to offer more personal information through this medium than any other marketing channel. This presents an opportunity to build rapport, improve client understanding and drive service innovation.
It’s no secret that when you feel in control of your workload you are more productive and therefore, typically, happier. Striking a balance between a culture of wellbeing, commercial success and loyal clients is the only way to future-proof business and protect your mental health in a post-pandemic world. There are only 24 hours in a day – use them wisely and you’ll reap the rewards, financially and emotionally.