By Bernadette Bennett, head of the legal sector at Legal Futures Associate Moneypenny
Valentine’s Day is a celebration of love in all its guises – whether with friends, your significant other and, believe it or not, your clients.
With love in the air, it’s timely to put client relationships in the spotlight and consider whether they really feel special and valued. Are they getting the client care they deserve? And will they keep using your firm?
Bernadette Bennett is the head of the legal sector at Moneypenny, a business focused on providing the highest levels of client care with telephone answering and live chat services for more than 1,000 UK law firms, including many of the Top 200. With a team of 95 legal receptionists handling over 2 million legal calls each year, Moneypenny knows how to give clients exactly what they want.
She said: “Client relationships are at the heart of professional services, so legal firms need to consider the client journey in its entirety, including every touchpoint they encounter. How calls are answered tells prospects and clients a lot about a firm, such as whether they’re accessible, friendly and professional. When callers’ needs are prioritised, it puts relationships on a positive footing. When they’re not, it can cost firms valuable business.”
Worryingly, industry research suggests a very distinct gap between how well firms think they deliver client care and what clients think. 80% of lawyers say they deliver above-average service compared to 40% of their clients.
Bernadette added: “To improve the client experience, firms need to put themselves in their clients’ shoes and look at their business through their eyes. Over the last five years, we’ve seen an increase in firms doing just that by using outsourced telephone answering to improve the client experience and free up in-house resources to focus on other aspects of service delivery and client care. Client-centric legal firms show clients they matter by ensuring every interaction is treated with the highest levels of care, professionalism, and efficiency.”
For legal firms focused on improving client care, here are Moneypenny’s top six call handling tips to make clients feel loved this Valentine’s Day and beyond.
1. Ditch voicemail
It’s a universal truth; clients hate voicemail. Our research shows that 54% of callers who reach voicemail hang up, which could mean a missed opportunity to solve a client’s issue or secure more business. Plus, your team hates voicemails, too – only 33% of people listen to voicemails from known contacts, which means clients may not be getting called back at all! Avoid making clients feel unimportant by ensuring a friendly and professional person is always at the other end of the phone.
2. Answer calls promptly
Phones that ring out are a turn-off. 35% of people hate calls not being answered, and 34% are put off by annoying hold music. When you consider that almost 2 in 5 (38%) people say they would go elsewhere following a poor call, it’s clear just how vital prompt call handling is to happy client relationships. Outsourced support can take the burden from in-house teams, ensuring that every call is answered. Show your clients that you know their time is valuable, too.
3. Show empathy
The most healthy client relationships are based on understanding. Make sure client care is empathetic and that those on the front line answering calls and live chats have sensitivity, patience and knowledge in abundance. This is especially important for legal firms, as it can put nervous, vulnerable and stressed clients at ease, provide greater insights into clients’ needs, and shape future service delivery. Well-trained call handlers with solid customer care skills will make all the difference.
4. Be available when they are
Excellent communication skills underpin all successful relationships. Today’s legal clients want accessibility on their terms and are increasingly contacting firms outside traditional office hours. Firms must be available when clients want them, whether 8 pm or 7 am. An outsourced telephone answering service is an affordable way to extend opening hours and provide a 24-hour service, allowing clients to speak to a person to leave a detailed message even if solicitors aren’t available there and then.
5. Ensure VIP treatment
Your clients are your business. Outsourcing telephone answering to a partner with a dedicated team of legal receptionists makes it easy to offer a VIP experience. When a call comes through to Moneypenny, a receptionist answers exactly as if based in your business and just as knowledgeable as any in-house team member. We know if the person ringing has called before as our technology shows their name, so there’s no need to ask again who they’re calling for or why. Our receptionists can also ask prequalifying questions to aid efficient lead capture and look up cases to establish where calls need to be transferred to. Seamless call handling shows clients they are valued.
6. Make a positive impression every time
First impressions matter, but it’s each one after that that helps to nurture, grow, and maintain client relationships. Keep clients feeling valued and supported by ensuring consistency in all aspects of client care – from how calls and live chats are answered to the efficiency of your website and how successfully your team delivers their services. Consistent client care can be guaranteed by calling on the expertise and support of a knowledgeable outsourced partner.
To learn more about Moneypenny’s legal sector expertise and how they can improve client care for your firm, visit: https://www.moneypenny.com/uk/legal-answering-services/