A virtual reception service can take the strain in a law firm a�� herea��s how

The benefits of using a virtual receptionist for legal firms large and small should not be underestimated. With overflow call handling you can be sure to never miss a call again

AUKLawyer

“callers who get no reply on their first attempt will not bother to try again.”

Whata��s the cost of a missed call to your business? A recent survey carried out by BT Business showed that the average lost revenue from an unanswered telephone call to a small enterprise (defined as having between 1 and 49 employees) was A?1,200. When it comes to small to medium-sized UK law firms, that cost may well be even higher, bearing in mind the amount of money involved in a typical transaction.

In general, small to medium-sized enterprises in the UK are losing some A?90million every year through missed calls. A missed call equals a missed opportunity, and the majority of callers who get no reply on their first attempt will not bother to try again. Instead they will take their business to a rival firm, whose receptionist was able to pick up the phone.

Virtual reception services are growing rapidly in popularity in the UK, as business owners seek out cost-effective solutions to call handling. In a legal environment such services could be immensely beneficial, ensuring that no call goes unanswered, thus no opportunity is missed, ever again.

Read on to discover the benefits a virtual receptionist can bring to your practice a�� both large and small.

A virtual receptionist will work around your schedule

AUKFrustratedCaller

“Even if a potential client does leave a voicemail, by the time you are able to get back to them…they may have taken their business elsewhere.”

One thing you are guaranteed of as a lawyer is that you will never get bored and bogged down in routine. Whatever your field of expertise, as a lawyer no two days, let alone weeks, will ever be the same.

In a typical weekly schedule, you may be in the office handling paperwork for part of the week, spend some of it in court, and the rest of the time meeting clients a�� either in the office or visiting them at their location. Then therea��s travel time a�� whether driving or taking the train, there will be many occasions when answering your telephone will be impossible.

Even if a potential client does leave a voicemail, by the time you are able to get back to them (for example, after a long day in court) they may have taken their business elsewhere.

One solution, of course, is to hire a receptionist, but in terms of sole traders and businesses with only a handful of employees, the costs in terms of recruitment, salary, pension contributions, training, supervision, sickness cover and physical desk space, may seem to outweigh the benefits.

Even if you did hire a receptionist, he or she is only one person and can only physically answer one telephone call at a time. Like everyone, they also need their lunch breaks and holidays; an unhappy employee who feels they cana��t take the breaks they are legally entitled to will struggle to provide the best service and would soon end up understandably stressed.

Thata��s where a virtual reception service comes into play. By using a reputable, UK-based virtual receptionist service such as Answer UK, you can eliminate set-up costs and the ongoing expense of having a full- or part-time employee entirely, whilst knowing that every call will be answered, politely and professionally, every time.

Answer UKa��s virtual receptionist service is proud of its clear pricing structure a�� you will be charged by the volume of calls received, with a current special offer (correct as of June 2016) of 89p per message. For that price, you will receive the services of a dedicated account manager and a professional team of virtual receptionists who will answer every call exactly as directed.

Among the services a virtual receptionist can provide are:

  • Information on business opening hours
  • Location information prior to clients visiting the business a�� car parking facilities, public transport links, access for visitors who use wheelchairs or have restricted mobility
  • Further information about services provided, particularly if cost is a factor
  • Provide, confirm, or expand upon information about the business as part of the potential clienta��s decision-making process

In 2016, do people still call businesses as a primary mode of contact?

AUKOnThePhone

“many potential clients will not have the time to read about the full range of services your practice provides in detail..,. often it’s easier to get all the information required in a five minute phone call”

It can be easy to think, in 2016, that telephone calls could soon become a thing of the past, and that clients are more likely to visit a website to garner any information they may need before making a decision about a business.

However, a recent study conducted by Google found that the telephone call is still a hugely important factor for the majority of people when choosing a business or service across all sectors a�� from restaurants to dentists, entertainers to lawyers. There are a number of reasons for this, including:

1) To get a fast, accurate answer and/or easily accomplish a goal (59%)

Many potential clients will not have the time to read about the full range of services your practice provides in great detail in order to furnish themselves with the information they need to make a decision. Often, it is easier to get all the information required during a five-minute phone call, rather than spending half an hour searching through multiple pages of a website to gather everything they need to know themselves.

2) To speak to a real person (57%)

Automated messages are the bane of many peoplea��s lives. Most of us will have tried to contact, for example, our energy supplier, only to have become frustrated at getting lost in an automated answering system. Multiple menu options can be confusing and it is often necessary to call more than once to get answers to more than one question.

Nobody likes speaking to a robot, and this is where virtual reception services can really help. All calls received by the team at Answer UK will be answered immediately, by a real person who has access to commonly-requested information, as well as the ability to forward calls or messages as necessary, either as an SMS or an email, depending on client preference.

When their call is answered promptly and professionally by someone who is ready to help, an instant positive impression of your practice will be built in their mind.

3) To answer questions that arena��t covered by the website (54%)/To achieve something that cannot be done on the website (44%)

A lot of essential information, for example about fees for legal services, are not readily available on websites, and many people distrust sites where such information is published, because fees will vary on a case to case basis for a number of reasons. Whether you want your virtual receptionist to provide fee information or need them to take full details so that you can provide a quote, with Answer UK how this type of call is handled will be tailored to suit your individual needs.

Having to rearrange an appointment at short notice is also much easier on the telephone, because it is always best to have an instant answer. In this and many other scenarios, making a phone call is simply more convenient.

Why do people call businesses?

“A virtual reception service will check that they have the latest information about opening hours, as well as about availability of staff members.”

The Google report looked at why potential clients called a business directly from a search. Not surprisingly, most of this was to glean information that was either not available on the business website, or needed to be checked for accuracy.

The principal reason for telephoning a business was to check opening hours. If clients are travelling a considerable distance to visit your legal practice, or for example, if you specialise in family law and appointments need to fit around childrena��s schedules and/or the availability of childcare, they will want to know that the information they have about opening hours is accurate.

In terms of businessesa�� own websites and web directories such as Yelp, it is not uncommon for opening hours to quickly become out of date. A virtual reception service will check that they have the latest information about opening hours, as well as about availability of staff members.

When calls are made

The research phase of the client decision-making process is when a lot of calls are made. For example, a client searching for a music lawyer may ring around several entertainment law firms to gather information prior to making a decision about which firm to sign their new management contacts with.

In terms of clients contacting local businesses, for example, trying to find a solicitor to draft a will, 76% of the survey respondentsa�� reasons for making that telephone call was to schedule an appointment.

Answer UKa��s virtual reception services team can either take and pass on messages regarding appointment scheduling, or can offer diary management services so that clients can book their appointments straight away a�� the choice is yours, and will be discussed in detail by your dedicated account manager.

Advantages of virtual reception services for sole trader

Virtual reception services are an excellent choice for sole traders in the legal field.

“Virtual reception services are an excellent choice for sole traders in the legal field.”

Many UK lawyers consider setting up their own practices, often opting to become sole traders. The LexisNexis Business of Law blog provides some useful information for those who are thinking of setting up on their own, including ensuring you are properly equipped to manage your paperwork, and to speak to a qualified accountant about whether it would be best for you to set up as a sole trader, LLP, or company.

We would like to add the importance of making sure your admin work is properly taken care of. Whilst everyone has no-doubt seen the movie lawyer in a constant state of disarray, who never-the-less manages to come good in the end, few actually want to be him.

Virtual reception services are an excellent choice for sole traders in the legal field. Whether you work from a home office or rent office space, you wona��t have to worry about finding the desk space for anybody else. You will also be able to focus, for example, on keeping your paperwork up-to-date without being distracted by the phone ringing.

Remember, with Answer UKa��s virtual reception services you pay based on the volume of calls answered, so you can help to keep control of your overheads and can even pass these savings on to your clients.

Advantages of a virtual receptionist in larger firms

AUKHappyCaller

“you can set up an overflow call handling service so your calls will still be answered quickly, professionally, and in a friendly manner”

Larger law firms can also benefit from the services of a virtual receptionist. With Answer UK you can set up an overflow call handling service, which means that calls will still be answered quickly, professionally, and in a friendly manner when your own receptionists are busy, off sick, or away from their desk.

Our virtual reception services are offered on monthly rolling contracts (after an initial seven-day free trial) and you are able to change your pricing plan and call answering options at any time a�� so, for example, if your trusted reception manager is signed off sick for a month, your virtual receptionist team can answer all of your calls for the duration of their sick leave, returning to regular overflow call handling once your own receptionist is well enough to return to work.

This is a much more affordable and reliable alternative to using a temp agency; a temp drafted in to cover sick leave may struggle to pick up all the nuances of the business quickly enough, and you may lack the time to train them. If you have already been using our overflow call handling services then your personal account manager will check in with you to make sure that any necessary additional information is passed on to your call handling team. This also means that your own receptionist wona��t have to worry about mistakes being made while they are away, and can concentrate on getting better.

If you are new to our services, your Answer UK account manager will talk through all the information you want your virtual receptionist to handle when they set up your account.

Book your seven-day free trial

At Answer UK we offer a seven-day free trial a�� you dona��t even have to give us any payment details. After this seven-day period, we will provide your virtual reception services on a rolling monthly contract, with no hidden costs and the ability to make changes at any time.

To book your seven-day free trial, contact us today on: 0330 700 1222.

 

Sources:

Google Survey: http://ssl.gstatic.com/think/docs/click-to-call_research-studies.pdf

LexisNexis Business of Law Blog (Top 10 tips for going solo): http://businessoflaw.lexisnexis.co.uk/ten-tips-for-lawyers-going-solo/

 

The importance of first impressions in business:

The importance of first impressions in business: how a UK answering service or virtual receptionist can help convey the best image of your company

"In business, a missed call represents an opportunity that you may never get back"

“A missed call represents a missed opportunity that you have no hope of getting back…”

Whether in your business or personal life, there is nothing more frustrating than a missed phone call. Wea��ve all been there; waiting and waiting for a much-anticipated call, whether from a customer, a supplier, or a friend making plans for a night out, only for the phone to ring in the five minutes when we step away from it.

It really does feel like a�?blink and youa��ll miss ita�?. Whilst in your personal life this can be frustrating, you will usually be able to get back in touch with your friends and catch up with them later in the evening, or apologise profusely for that missed call from your partner without the consequences being serious.

In the business world, however, things can be somewhat different. A missed call can cost you a lot more than a round of drinks at the pub or a special dinner; all too often, a missed call represents a missed opportunity that you have no hope of getting back. You may well have even been in the other persona��s shoes yourself; trying to find a cleaning company for your office, for example, if the first doesna��t answer the chances are youa��ll have moved on to the second name on your list before the first company even registers that a call has been missed.

There has been a slew of recent reports that show a worrying trend: missed phone calls are costing small and medium-sized businesses in the UK (SMEs) millions of pounds a year. In fact, one report, published in 2014, showed that a single missed call could cost a business an average of A?1,200, rising to an average of A?9,000 if the business remains out of contact for 24 hours*.

If you run an SME in any field, youa��ll know what an impact such missed opportunities can make to your bottom line. Thata��s why, in many cases, employing a virtual receptionist from a UK telephone answering service could help.

Modern business trends have seen a move towards flexibility, mobile working, and a�?hot deskinga�?. This of course has numerous advantages a�� shared parental leave or childcare, the ability to work when you choose, a better work/life balance a�� but for many small business owners it also presents the problem of multiple missed opportunities.

This, in turn, can have a negative effect on your work/life balance, and could in fact see time that you wanted to spend with your family a�� school sports day or music recital, a trip out with the kids a�� being taken up by feeling you need to be a�?always availablea�? to clients and potential clients, so that you can afford to pay for your daughtera��s football club or your sona��s piano lessons. Then the kids end up feeling unhappy because they feel Mum or Dad is spending too much time on the phone and not paying attention to their achievements. . .

The problem with a�?always availablea�?

garter

“A virtual receptionist is an excellent way to ensure that you never miss a call and allowing you the downtime that you need”

Any self-employed person or small business owner is likely to have experienced problems with the need to feel a�?ever availablea�?. This can result in holiday time not really being a break at all a�� and as well as the effect this can have on anyone you are holidaying with, it can mean that when you do answer that client call, you might unintentionally be giving a less than professional impression.

After all, what would your impressions be if you called a supplier only to hear, for example, their children arguing in the background, or the noises of a busy hotel bar in Spain?

A virtual receptionist is an excellent way to alleviate these problems, to ensure you never miss a call whilst also, and equally as important, allowing you the down time that you need.

Herea��s an example:

Mandy has worked very hard since being made redundant, and has set up a successful and growing recruitment consultancy. However, although the business is growing Mandy is not yet in the position to take on a full-time receptionist.

After years of hard work to build her business, Mandya��s friends think she needs a well-deserved holiday, and book a week away in Portugal. Mandy is really keen to spend time with her friends, who have supported her as shea��s grown her own business, and would really enjoy some relaxation time.

However, she is concerned that her business will suffer if she is away even for five days, so takes her mobile and tablet with her wherever she goes. That means that while her friends are enjoying a relaxing trip to a spa or a day exploring the town, Mandy is sat beside the pool taking phone calls from candidates and clients, without even the chance to dip her toes in the water.

The result? Mandy is left frustrated and far from relaxed; her friends cana��t understand why she wona��t join in; and her clients are likely to sense her mood when they call her.

Now imagine a different scenario: Mandy engages the help of virtual receptionist services. After shopping around, she chooses a company such as Answer UK, with a two week free trial followed by a rolling monthly contract. She gives detailed instructions about how calls are to be answered and what should be done in various scenarios.

After doing a test run, Mandy is able to enjoy her holiday with her friends, safe in the knowledge that all of her business calls will be answered in a professional and friendly manner at all times. She returns from her holiday refreshed and ready to take her business to the next level, knowing that she can cancel her virtual receptionist contract at any time. But in fact, shea��s so pleased with the results that she is able to enjoy a better work/life balance and spend more time with her friends in the UK, and to invest both time and energy into developing creative strategies to ensure her business keeps on growing.

What are the concerns about a virtual receptionist service?

AUKReceptionDesk

“Answer UK’s answering service is different. For a start our call centre is based in London, and there will be no background noise…”

All of this sounds great, and there are many Mandys out there who could benefit from a virtual receptionist or virtual PA. But some businesses still have concerns.

A lot of people are put off by the concept of a a�?call centrea�?. When buying car insurance or trying to sort out a problem with the bank, for example, the call centre experience can be frustrating as it seems to be impossible to speak to the person you need to, and there can often be a lot of distracting background noise.

AnswerUKa��s UK answering service is different. For a start, our call centre is based in London, and there will be no background noise from other virtual receptionists. You will have a dedicated account manager, and the virtual receptionist who picks up your calls will be furnished with as much information about your business as you need, so that they can answer and, when necessary, provide information or direct calls exactly as you want.

Every call will be answered:

  • Professionally
  • Promptly
  • Happily

by a virtual receptionist who knows exactly how to handle enquiries.

Herea��s another example of how it could work:

Ahmed is a successful local accountant, who has run his business with his wife Aamaal as receptionist and PA for many years. However, Aamaal has recently experienced health problems that have meant she has had to cut back on her working hours.

Not wanting to replace Aamaal completely, because he knows she loves her job and is keen to get back to work when shea��s well, and unable to pay for an expensive temp to cover her work, Ahmed engages the services of an Answer UK virtual receptionist.

Now, Ahmed knows that Aamaal is very particular about how the telephone needs to be answered, and he prides himself on the professionalism and efficiency of his company. He is also so busy himself running the business and taking care of his wife during her illness that he has no time to train someone up to Aamaala��s exacting professional standards.

When Ahmeda��s son suggests using a virtual receptionist service, he is initially a little sceptical. But he agrees to try his sona��s suggestion and contacts AnswerUK to enquire about virtual receptionist services.

Afraid he will encounter an anonymous call centre or a hard sell, he is delighted to discover that not only does he have a dedicated, friendly and helpful account manager, but hea��s also able to try the service for free for a month, with no obligation to continue if he is in any way unhappy.

His account manager takes the time to ensure she has all the relevant information, including how Aamaal likes the telephone to be answered, when to pass a call on to Ahmed, when to take a message, and when to answer a question herself.

She also takes important details such as office hours, directions to the office, and where best to park, so that every virtual receptionist who answers a call can direct that call appropriately, or provide helpful information as required. Because Ahmed is out of the office a lot, he likes his messages to be sent by email so that he can instantly access them, and this is noted by the virtual receptionist service team.

The montha��s trial is a success, and Ahmed decides to keep going with the service on a rolling contract. When Aamaal is ready to return to work, she is very impressed by the virtual receptionist service, and agrees to keep going with the contract. She can immediately see the benefits of an overflow call handling service, meaning that she never needs to worry about a missed opportunity when she is busy on another call again.

Never miss a call again

Allopurinol price philippines

AUKOldOffice

“You are likely to care that your staff don’t feel under undue pressure and stress. An overflow call handling service can be an excellent option for busy times…”

Whether you run a one-person operation like Mandya��s, a small family business like Ahmed and Aamaala��s, or a larger company, there are many benefits to be gained from an overflow call handling service or a virtual receptionist.

Even larger companies can and do benefit from these services. Whatever line of business you work in, there are likely to be times when you have more calls than your staff can physically handle. As a conscientious and caring employer, you are likely to care that your staff dona��t feel under undue pressure and stress. An overflow call handling service can be an excellent option for busy times, or, for example, if you have run a particular promotion or recruitment campaign that is likely to generate a higher volume of calls than usual.

The benefits of a virtual receptionist cannot be underestimated; maybe your workforce is enjoying a team-building day or staff party (where it would be mean to say the least not to invite the hard-working receptionists), maybe flu is sweeping the office. . . In any and all of these circumstances, a virtual receptionist service can effortlessly pick up calls.

Herea��s a final example of how these services could work in a larger organisation:

Steve is the director of a successful estate agency, and thanks to his growing business, he is able to take on more staff. He instructs his HR department to advertise for three junior positions in his offices across Scotland.

The HR department know by experience that this will generate a lot of telephone calls. Steve already uses a virtual receptionist service in his regional offices, because they receive a high volume of calls. So he speaks to his account manager at AnswerUK and gives specific instructions for those calling for a job application package.

He instructs that his virtual receptionist should establish which office each candidate is applying to work in a�� Glasgow, Dundee, or Inverness a�� and send them out the relevant application information. When it comes to interviewing the candidates, the virtual receptionist service is able to provide useful information including how to get to each office by car or public transport, where to park, and who to report to.

Should a candidate be unfortunate enough to experience a delay on their way to interview, Steve can also instantly receive this information by text message thanks to his virtual receptionist, so that he can continue with other work whilst waiting for the candidate to arrive, whilst the candidate is given a fair opportunity in, for example, the case of a broken down train.

With the help of a UK answering service, you need never worry about missing an important call, and with it an opportunity, again. You can enjoy your work/life balance, focus on your childrena��s sports match or dance recital, or just get on with other important aspects of running your business.

To book your free 7-dayA�trial with AnswerUKa��s virtual receptionist services, call us today on 0330 700 1222, orA�fill in your details on the homepage for a callback!

 

*http://www.itproportal.com/2014/11/19/phone-uk-businesses-lose-millions-due-missed-calls/#ixzz49PwADmDw