‘Director of First Impressions’, the Telephonist / Receptionists
Essential Training to Improve Client Satisfaction and Profits
Lawyers are well trained and qualified in the law. Yet what training do we give the person answering the phone to clients and prospective clients? The person who will have the most immediate impact on the caller’s perception of your Firm, your receptionist.
Your receptionist probably also types letters, does filing, keeps track of who is in and who is out, acts as receptionist to visitors, makes tea and coffee, accepts incoming mail and deliveries and probably even more too. Answering the phone becomes just a nuisance – right? Wrong!
At Legal Mentors we are often requested by Managing Partners to telephone their Firm with an enquiry to assess the response. Handling phone calls is really important but rarely checked. The results are often disappointing.
A significant amount of marketing budget and activity is wasted by inappropriate handling of enquiries from prospective clients. Huge amounts of client goodwill is lost through poor telephone technique and that applies to all members of the firm and not just the telephonists / receptionists. The biggest cause of client dissatisfaction is poor access to legal staff and their lack of responsiveness.
Expertise to look for
Training telephonists / receptionists in a law firm is a specialist activity. The needs are different from ‘off-the-shelf’ course givers. Why? Because it is essential that there are clear policies about how to behave on the phone; what to do in different circumstances, how to handle new enquiries, standards and style of answering, monitoring call rates and more besides.
Four-stage Process based on our experience of working with Law Firms
i) We first ‘Mystery Shop’ the firm to assess current performance.
ii) We then meet with appropriate members of the management team to report on this and help agree the policies and processes that need to be set in place before any training can occur.
iii) These agreed policies are used to train the team including discussions, role-plays and case-studies. A member of the senior management team must be present at the training to reinforce the message.
iv) We re-run the ‘Mystery Shop’ exercise and return to assess progress with the management team four weeks after the course.
Return on investment
Good phone performers are worth their weight in gold as they are effectively your ‘Director of First Impressions’. They will pay for their training time-and-time again by helping your firm to gain and retain clients who will recommend you to their friends and colleagues for your great levels of service. How much would even a modest 5% increase in your new enquiry conversion rate mean to your profits?
Benefits of this process
- Increased levels of client satisfaction
- Enhanced team spirit for staff
- Improved conversion rate of enquiries to new fee-paying work.