Bernadette Bennett, Commercial Manager – Legal at Moneypenny , explains why it’s a good call for organisations to focus on answering the phone – and doing it well – during unprecedented times.
Over recent years, we’ve seen huge investment in digitalisation. The options for communicating with legal professionals have diversified to include platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp and SMS. These are all key elements in a digital revolution that has put the customer service function right into the palm of a client’s hand.
During uncertain times though, it’s human nature to want to reach out for support and we instinctively return to what we know best. We want human connection and confidence we’re being listened to and understood. With a global pandemic upon us, this has never been more true.
Now more than ever, it’s vital not to lose sight of the tools that were relied upon prior to new innovations – the ones that enabled firms to become established in the first place, build solid foundations for success and develop loyal, long-lasting relationships with clients. Primarily, the telephone.
With such emphasis placed on emerging channels, it may be a surprise to learn that the phone call remains the most lucrative method of business communication. Not only that, its popularity is on the up and new research reveals that businesses receive 34% more enquiries by phone now than they did five years ago.
As COVID-19 continues to spread and society finds itself in a lockdown situation, the phone takes on an even more critical role. It provides a lifeline for people that have been left feeling panicked and in need of reassurance. Those firms that engage with clients and stand shoulder to shoulder with them now will be remembered for it.
There are several drivers behind the exponential growth in telephone communication, all of which demonstrate exactly why it should continue to be considered as a firms’ fundamental secret weapon – especially at present.
The main reason for consumers reaching for the phone in favour of other channels when contacting a firm is the requirement for a quick response. People are time-poor and aside from face-to-face interaction, the phone is the next best thing for those seeking instant gratification.
This also explains why 69% of callers  who reach a voicemail just hang up, validating the requirement for lawyers to not only consider the service they provide when answering the phone, but also what occurs when they don’t. Outsourced telephone answering services provide firms with overflow support or out-of-hours’ resource and the peace of mind that no caller will go unanswered and potentially into the hands of a competitor.
The Human Element
Society has adapted to digital communication but there’s no replacement for human interaction. The introduction of alternative methods has simply rendered ‘real life’ conversation even more valuable. 40% of businesses say that in an online word, their clients seek the comfort of speaking to someone and 31% believe that consumers don’t trust websites. A phone call offers assurance and familiarity that you only get from speaking with a human being.
Also, remember that when lodging an enquiry with a firm, a caller doesn’t necessarily expect to solve their issue within the first dialogue. A conversation with someone and the reassurance that their query is being dealt with or passed onto the relevant individual is usually enough to make them feel valued and confident in the service being delivered.
There are 51.8 million smartphone users in the UK  and this figure is projected to grow by an additional 2 million by 2020. Two thirds of society have become accustomed to life with a mini computer in the palm of their hands and the ubiquity of these devices is driving a phone call renaissance.
Calls convert ten times quicker than clicks and are typically much more valuable conversions . The smartphone is also enabling customers to research firms and instantly make contact from the same device. Google reports that 70%  of mobile searchers use the click-to-call function to make enquiries when they would have previously used an enquiry form online, which is having a direct impact on sales.
By ensuring it’s easy for clients to get in touch by phone– and delivering a quality experience when they do – firms can convert leads, uphold reputation and maximise client relations.
Moneypenny  handles more than 2 million legal calls and live chats each year for more than 1,000 legal firms in the UK, including 60 of the Top 200.