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How Law Firms Deal with Call Overflow

How law firms handle call overflow

More than 42% of law firms consistently lose leads due to their call overflow practices. When lines are busy, many law firms allow calls to go straight to voicemail. Some won't answer them for three or more days.

Unless someone answers the phone immediately and stops the lead from shopping around for other law firms, there is a high chance that the lead will look at other options. The firm that stops the lead's shopping process will be the firm that ultimately gets that client. 

To maximize intake success, the intake hold time must be less than three rings.

Knowing that, how can law firms handle call overflow while keeping lead loss minimal?

Firm Capacity Determines Firm Options

A law firm’s method for handling call overflow is largely determined by available manpower and technology.

Here are some ways law firms deal with call overflow:

A firm without an intake specialist may rely on call queue technology to handle overflow. The practitioner only answers one call at a time while overflow goes to voicemail. Practitioners can track overflow by manually inputting information into their Case Management System/Custom Relationship Management software (CMS/CRM). This strategy results in massive lead loss and substantially raises the cost to acquire new clients. Small firm lawyers might think this method is cost-effective, but in many cases, it prevents them from taking care of revenue-generating job responsibilities while failing to provide the experience leads need to stop the shopping process. Alternatively, firms can hire a dedicated intake specialist or partner with a legal call center.

Firms with receptionists or dedicated intake specialists answer the phone and warm transfer qualified leads to an attorney, letting them know what to expect from the potential client. These firms also use call queue technology. The call goes straight to a receptionist or intake specialist who qualifies the lead. That person can only qualify one lead at a time, however, so many leads will still go to voicemail. This can lead to a steady loss of leads over time, substantially raising the cost required to acquire a new client and causing your firm to miss out on vital business. 

Further problems arise when leads call in after-hours, on weekends and holidays. In-house intake specialists will either be unavailable or require expensive overtime and holiday pay.

Firms partnered with legal call centers are set up to deal with a high quantity of overflow. This partnership offers a number of advantages to legal practices:

  • No leads get sent to voicemail; all calls are answered by a legal intake specialist within three rings
  • Calls can be easily warm-transferred to attorneys 
  • Alerts can be sent by phone, email or text, depending on the method that works most effectively for the attorney
  • Lead loss rates become substantially lower 
  • Call tracking can be integrated directly into your CMS/CRM, which prevents leads from slipping through the cracks

Attracting leads and convincing them to call your firm costs money. Unfortunately, lead loss occurs frequently in firms due to call overflow. Every lead lost raises the total cost of acquiring a new client. If the cost to acquire a customer, or CAC, is too high, it doesn’t matter how many leads you are able to respond to - you will lose money. On the other hand, when you successfully qualify and convert each quality lead, the initial acquisition cost becomes money well spent. 

Do not allow call overflow to destroy your practice. Instead, partner with a legal call center to lower lead loss and thus the cost of customer acquisition. A legal call center is ideally positioned to handle call overflow and convert leads 24/7/365. This partnership could transform your ability to respond to leads and substantially increase your overall conversion rates.

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Tags: Call Answering Best Practices, Law Firm Growth Strategies

A Blog for Law Firms:

On the Alert Communications Blog we're publishing articles dedicated to helping your law firm improve client intake and increase marketing ROI. Our team of experts regularly research, report on, and write about topics that help us super serve the legal industry, and specifically the personal injury and mass tort sectors.    

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