- Why CRM for attorneys is so important
- The difficulties facing small firms and solo practices
- Is an attorney answering service the solution?
Q: How can I improve my client relationship management as an independent attorney?
A: Client relationship management can be uniquely challenging for independent attorneys and small firms. The issue is rarely a lack of care, but rather, a lack of time and resources. Adding the right attorney answering service to your practice can improve your CRM both directly and indirectly.
As the old adage goes, “the customer is always right”.
While that may not be entirely true, it does highlight the importance of the customer. Fundamentally, a business can only run if people are willing to pay for the products or services they provide.
The legal industry is no exception. In fact, attorneys may face even greater pressure to manage their client relations well, as they are often dealing with personal and intimate matters that require trust.
But without an attorney answering service, attorneys frequently find themselves too overwhelmed to properly handle CRM.
Busy with the heavy workload of running a firm on their own, they simply run out of time and energy. This results in less client satisfaction, ultimately hurting the firm’s bottom line.
If you’re a solo attorney or the owner of a small law firm, you’ve probably faced this struggle yourself.
This article is here to help you find a solution, retain your clients, and successfully grow your firm.
- What is customer relationship management in legal practices?
- What are the unique CRM challenges facing small firms?
- Is an attorney answering service the answer to these issues?
- Which attorney answering service is right for you?
Customer Relationship Management
Many businesses think the key to growing is to focus all their energy on attracting new customers and investing in lead generation. This is only part of the picture though.
Customer relationship management plays a critical role in growth as well.
CRM determines what kind of reviews and reputation a business gets. In the age of the internet, potential customers check to see what other people think of a business prior to spending their money.
Why is CRM important?
A business that lacks good CRM is going to have dissatisfied customers. When a potential new customer wants to find out more about this business, their first impression will likely be from these dissatisfied people.
This disrupts marketing efforts. It doesn’t matter how many new eyes your business reaches if none of them actually make a purchase.
But CRM is important for more than its impact on bringing in new customers. It’s also critical for customer retention.
With more small businesses springing up than ever before, you can count on the fact that your existing customers are aware that they have other options.
To keep their business, you need to go beyond offering them something they want. You need them to feel a sense of personal connection to your brand.
This is all the more important in the legal industry.
CRM for Attorneys
Attorney CRM has a special significance because of the nature of legal work.
For starters, being on retainer provides stability and predictability for law firms. Rather than have to constantly court new clients, attorneys can trust that they will be paid consistently.
This also frees them from having to engage with marketing to the same degree. Marketing is still important, but having consistent clients means less time spent on marketing and more on legal matters.
But perhaps most important is the personal nature of legal counseling and representation.
Unlike a consumer good, legal services require a personal connection. Your clients need to feel safe if they are to trust you with their important legal issues.
With trust in authority figures decreasing according to Pew Research Center, attorneys can’t rely on their titles to instill confidence in their services.
Without proper CRM, attorneys don’t achieve that trust. Even if they are experts in the field, that lack of personal connection can prevent a client from sticking around.
The Difficulties Facing Small Firms
Unfortunately, smaller firms and independent legal practitioners face an uphill battle with their CRM.
In most cases, CRM is actually more important for small legal practices. They have smaller marketing budgets and less time to dedicate to their marketing strategies.
This means they don’t reach the same number of potential clients. While they can still be successful with their marketing, they likely won’t have the same influx of new prospects larger firms see.
This means that client retention is all the more crucial. Keeping the clients your firm already has offsets the smaller marketing budget, allowing you to stay profitable.
Despite the increased importance though, small firms are often less effective with their CRM.
When a firm is operated entirely by a single attorney or a very small team, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.
You have to handle all the business operations, legal work, and customer service. Sometimes, something has to give.
Incoming calls from clients may be answered in a state of stress, leading the caller to feel less important, like their legal concerns aren’t your top priority.
They may even meet with a full voicemail, preventing them from expressing their concerns.
While it’s understandable why these things happen, it doesn’t change the end result: you lose clients.
An attorney answering service can help.
Is an Attorney Answering Service the Solution?
As an attorney, phone calls take up a lot of time and focus. The right attorney answering service helps small firms operate more efficiently and build better CRM.
When you bring on the best CRM for small law firms, incoming phone calls are always met with an attentive and professional answer. This makes clients feel cared for and heard while also allowing you to focus on your work.
When callers need to speak with you directly, the answering service provides them with assurance that you will call them back. This eliminates their confusion and keeps them from feeling ignored.
Additionally, an attorney answering service takes care of every call and helps you engage with your clients in a more thoughtful and focused manner.
By keeping calls from going through when you’re distracted, you’re given the opportunity to return calls when you have time to give them your full attention.
This ensures each client interaction is more positive, building an emotional connection and increasing your client retention.
Not all lawyer answering services are the same though. Many use automated voices and confusing menus that ultimately undermine your client satisfaction.
There’s a better alternative.
Which Attorney Answering Service is Right for You?
Virtual receptionists are professionally trained receptionists who answer your incoming calls remotely. These receptionists help solve all of the above-mentioned issues with CRM.
By taking care of each call in a calm, helpful tone, they ensure every client feels important. This builds client satisfaction and trust in your firm, helping you retain clients.
Virtual receptionists also handle your voicemail and messages, passing along important information so nothing slips through the cracks. Your clients will never feel ignored simply because you missed a message.
When clients need to speak with you directly, your virtual receptionist will help you schedule call-backs at a time that fits your busy schedule.
The same goes for an attorney after-hours answering service. They can receive calls outside of your normal working hours and schedule call-backs at a suitable time.
You’ll be able to speak with clients when you’re fully prepared and at your best, building a positive personal connection with each conversation.
The best way to find out if the service meets your needs is to search for attorney answering service reviews. Read experiences from other law professionals and use this to help inform your decision.
Using the best CRM for lawyers is an especially important part of running any small firm. That doesn’t mean it’s easy though.
Between the endless operational tasks and your legal work, it’s incredibly challenging to dedicate yourself fully to customer service when calls come through.
That’s where a virtual receptionist plan from Alliance Virtual Offices can help. You gain access to a friendly receptionist who answers your calls for you.
This ensures each client feels important while freeing you to focus on your work. The end result? You will boost client retention while reducing your stress with a virtual receptionist.