Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some answers to the most common questions we receive about live, medical, and legal answering services and how they work for your business, office, or firm. If you still can’t find an answer, ask us in an email or on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn and we’ll answer your question.
- What does an answering service do?
- How do I choose an answering service?
- How do I find the best answering service?
- What’s the difference between an answering service and a call center?
- What should I look for in a legal call center or answering service?
- How will an answering service help my law firm?
- Do I need bilingual reps for my law firm?
- How can an answering service help my law firm with advertising?
- What is legal intake?
- How quickly will I recieve the messages from my clients?
- What are the advantages of an answering service instead of a receptionist?
Q: What does an answering service do?
A: It is easiest to think of an answering service as a virtual receptionist. They answer clients’ incoming calls according to customized scripts and gather the necessary information. That information is then forwarded to the client according to specific instructions. In addition to message taking and call forwarding, they can also set appointments, provide answers to basic questions, and handle urgent calls. An answering service can make your life easier by answering your overflow calls, being available for your clients 24/7, and reducing your administrative duties so you can focus on growing your business.
Q: How do I choose an answering service?
A: Choosing an answering service can be a difficult task, but here are a few suggestions to help you make the right choice. You’ll want to compare the pricing of a few different answering services. The pricing should be upfront and simple. Be sure to look out for hidden fees. Do certain services, such as 24/7 availability, holiday answering, and bi-lingual services, cost extra? Many answering services include such services, so it is best to rule out the ones who don’t. You’ll want to see if they have experience with your industry. If they are familiar with your clientele, they will provide better service. The best answering services allow you to completely customize your phone script and call instructions. You should also have access to make changes to your account online. How they handle confidentiality is extremely important as well. Confirm whether or not they are HIPPA compliant. Most importantly, the best answering service will provide you with a positive customer service experience. How they treat you will ultimately determine how they will treat your clients. See if they have a free trial. You wouldn’t buy a car without test driving it first. Choosing an answering service is a financial investment for your company, so be sure to try it out before you commit.
Q: How do I find the best answering service?
A: The best answering service will have specific advantages over others. Their pricing will be upfront and simple. You will know exactly what you are paying and what you are getting with your service. They will also be able to answer your calls 24/7, including holidays, at no additional charge. The best answering services allow you to completely customize your phone script and call instructions. You should also have access to make changes to your account online. How they handle confidentiality is extremely important as well. The best answering service will be HIPPA compliant. Most importantly, the best answering service will provide you with a positive customer service experience. How they treat you will ultimately determine how they will treat your clients.
Q: What’s the difference between an answering service and a call center?
A: It is easy to confuse the two and many answering services and call centers offer the same services and advantages, but it is important to understand the differences so that you know which one will best suit your firm’s needs. An answering service acts as a virtual receptionist. They answer calls according to customized scripts and gather key information from callers. Those messages are then relayed to the right people. They can set appointments, provide answers to basic questions, and handle urgent calls. They are equipped to handle high call volumes as calls are typically only 1-2 minutes in length. A virtual receptionist can provide a more personal experience for callers. A call center, alone, is generally a customer service hub, with their main objective being to provide resolutions to callers’ questions and complaints. The complexity of these calls means that callers are sometimes placed on hold or transferred to other departments while issues are being resolved. Call lengths are therefore longer, averaging 10-15 minutes. Some call centers can also make outbound calls and provide sales and telemarketing services for clients. Many answering services provide call center features along side their receptionist services.
Q: What should I look for in a legal call center or answering service?
A: Not all call centers or answering services are the same, especially when it comes to handling your legal clients. The first thing that you’ll want to look at is whether they have experience with legal intake. The more aware they are with your clientele, the more likely they are to provide better service. Next, you’ll want to take a look at the services they provide. Do they handle appointment setting? Being able to schedule the meetings and clients for you will save you a ton of time. Do they answer calls 24/7? Do they charge extra for weekends and holidays? Are they able to answer bilingual calls? The best answering service will include these services at no additional cost. You’ll also want to make sure that your account and script are completely customizable. You should be in control of how your calls are handled. How they handle confidentiality is extremely important as well. Confirm whether or not they are HIPPA compliant.
Q: How will an answering service help my law firm?
A: There are so many ways that live answering service can help your clients, lawyers, and your personal peace of mind. From the 24/7 services that it provides to your clients to be there for them no matter the time of day, to being able provide legal intake services to capture the leads and appointments right when they call instead of having to wait to return their call or hope for them to call you back, to the cost savings with not having to manage in-house receptionists and employees, to providing a professional, consistent experience for every client that calls your law office for help.
Q: Do I need bilingual reps for my law firm?
A: It is important to be able to engage with your clients in a way that is most comfortable to them including their specific language, this builds trust between the client and your law firm. With our on-site bilingual operators you will be able to relax knowing that your clients will receive the same professional experience in both Spanish and English. Our bilingual reps have been vetted and thoroughly trained to provide the highest level of professionalism and customer service to your clients, enabling your firm to provide legal intake and services 24/7 in either Spanish or English.
Q: How can an answering service help my law firm with advertising?
A: When advertising for your law firm, availability and service are very important. You need to be able to answer all the calls that come in to your firm, 24/7, even on holidays. You are paying money for promotions, advertisements, TV time and you do not want to miss the opportunity to gain a lead for your lawyers. Besides availability, the customer service and support that you clients and potential clients receive will be the first impression of you and your law firm so it needs to be professional and attentive. An answering service that provides a high level of service and is able to do legal intake is the perfect solution to save you money and grow your firm. You have spent all that money on getting your name and brand out to the public, you have to be able to handle the large number of calls you will receive from your efforts, otherwise it is a waste of marketing dollars for your law firm.
Q: What is legal intake?
A: Also known as client intake, legal intake is an important part of the client introduction and information gathering process. While it happens in most law offices to some degree, the biggest legal area this is seen in is personal injury law. Legal intake can range anywhere from a form of a vetting process for your firm or just collecting the client’s information and specifics about their accident, injury, or situation through a series of questions. With most legal intake services, you can decide how much or little information is gathered and how long the process is. Availability, empathy, and understanding are important parts of the client intake process for law firms. A legal answering service can help balance this process with efficiency and speed, as well as free your in-house employees up to focus on their current clients.
Q: How quickly will I receive the messages from my clients?
A: You will receive your messages immediately. As soon as the call is completed any messages, intakes, leads, questions or notes are input into the system and available in your dashboard. You will be alerted immediately through email or text that this information is available. In some cases, depending on the CRM or legal software your firm is using, we might be able to connect directly into the software and upload the information directly into your database. We understand having access to your leads and client information is very important to the success of your law firm so we strive to make the process as quick and smooth as possible.
Q: What are the advantages of an answering service instead of a receptionist?
A: There are many benefits to hiring an answering service over an in-house receptionist for your law firm, medical office, or business. The three big areas where you will see the benefits are availability, time, and money. You will have an army of professional trained employees available 24/7 including holidays. You no longer will have to take time with hiring and training new employees since we will take care of that for you, you will save time. You will save money when you breakdown the numbers. For a full-time, in-house customer service rep that is paid $10 an hour it will cost you about $1600 per month, not including holiday or overtime pay. And let’s not forget insurance, sick time, or other benefits. That is just for ONE representative. Compare this to using one of VoiceNation’s most popular plans, the Platinum Plan, at just $249 a month, where you have that army of professionally trained call experts available 24/7.