Building your legal clientele means doing more than just running an ad or setting up a social media account.

You have to be able to connect to those potential clients in a personal way, too, according to the 2014 American Express Global Customer Service Barometer. AmEx found that as much as 48 percent of customers, two percent more than in 2012, wanted to speak to a real person on the phone when it came to difficult customer service inquiries.

You can send all the marketing dollars you want out the door, but if you don’t have an effective and personal way of catching the calls that come in as a result, you might as well have not bothered. Luckily, a legal answering service can take over the phones so you don’t miss one more valuable lead.

How an Answering Service Helps Law Firms

Law firms, especially small law firms, are very busy places where it’s often hard to catch a breath. Your legal secretary is busy preparing briefs, you’re busy getting ready for your next court appearance — but no one is manning the phones. When they ring and ring, potential leads and existing customers are forced to leave a message or call another lawyer.

These kinds of losses don’t happen when you’ve contracted with an answering service. Although they’re not based out of your office, an answering service can configure its systems to pick up your phone calls when they go unanswered for more than a few rings. Instead of sending a potential client to a voicemail maze or allowing them to hang up, a trained legal answering service operator picks up the phone instead.

Without hesitation, the client can explain their problem and receive some much needed sympathy from a live, caring person. These are the kinds of customer service touches that retain customers, and, when you’re back from court, you can pick up your messages and turn that lead into a client with little more than a phone call.

A Better Way to Handle Messages

Answering services are also an excellent solution to voicemail boxes that remain unchecked for days at a time. Even if your clients do choose to leave messages, it can be time consuming to sort through all the callers and make sure each receives a return call promptly. By hiring a telephone answering service, you can eliminate this hassle entirely. When a caller speaks to your answering service, you’re forwarded a call log with detailed information about each caller and their needs.

So, instead of wading through message after message with vague requests to return calls, you’ll know exactly who called and why. These call logs give you the opportunity to prioritize callers so that the most important calls get returned first and those less pressing matters are addressed later.

No matter the size of your law firm, an answering service can provide the extra hand you’ve been needing. Unlike hiring a full time employee, answering services only charge you for the time you use, so whether you use them for after hours callers, overflow calls or all day long, you’ll catch all the calls you’ve been missing at fraction of the cost of a team of receptionists.