What Is The True Cost Of Voicemail To Your Business?

There’s a universal belief that voicemail can ‘pick up the slack’ and stop enquiries from clients and prospects falling through the net when you’re out of the office, busy in meetings or out of hours – but it’s completely untrue.

Research shows that 69% of callers who are answered by voicemail just hang up and it’s costing wills and probate professionals valuable new opportunities and business – not to mention causing annoyance and eroding goodwill among existing clients too.

As one in ten telephone calls to our legal clients are brand-new enquiries – unanswered or mis-managed calls are wasted opportunities that many firms just won’t get again. A potential client reaching voicemail instead of a person is like tearing up money. The fear is, they will go to another firm.

There are five practical steps that will-writers, probate practitioners and estate planners can take to improve customer service and protect their business.

Establish how big the problem is – There are practical tools that can help practitioners to understand the direct cost of missed calls to their firm, and the transformational impact improving call handling will have on their business.  Ask your telephony provider to provide a full report on the number of calls coming into the business, which ones are abandoned and how long the caller is waiting.  Most law firms miss up to 15% of their calls and underestimate the amount of calls they miss by almost a third.  A telephone answering calculator  can help to identify the size of the problem for your business by calculating the lost revenue that comes from unanswered calls. The results will galvanise you to make changes and choose an appropriate solution.

Think beyond office hours – We live in an increasingly 24/7 age, so it’s not surprising that 10% of business calls take place out of hours. While it’s not practical to have someone sat in your office around the clock – outsourced telephone answering can make sure that irrespective of day or night, prospects and clients will always be met with a friendly, warm and human voice to take a message or transfer the enquiry. The addition of live chat to your website can help this further – giving people more channels and opportunities to reach out and ask questions. We have seen 38% of live chats coming through out of hours and at weekends.

Put the importance of the personal touch in context and provide education – Only 33% of employees actually listen to voicemails from known contacts and as few as 18% listen to messages from people they don’t know. So even if your potential new client is one of the few to leave a message – would anyone retrieve it?  Instil positive customer-centric behaviours in your employees by putting guidelines in place around returning calls or even removing voicemail from your business and encouraging colleagues to take messages to ensure the personal touch.  Even better, a telephone answering service, even if just for busy times – can make it much easier, particularly for small teams, and ensure that every call is always answered. That means more new enquiries and dramatically improved customer experience.

Use technology to help There’s a whole host of new technology tools that can help will-writers, probate practitioners and estate planners to stay connected and contactable even when they’re on the move.  Telephone answering services, on overflow and out of hours or fully outsourced switchboard services that can support or replace in-house teams all play a part in helping busy firms to handle high volumes of calls and most importantly, offer a real-time human response every time.

Make customer care your point of difference – Today’s clients want responses straight away and they won’t wait. Faced with these expectations, practitioners must regularly revisit the client experience in order to stay relevant. With the right level of commitment, it is possible to show prospective clients that their business is important and make responsiveness, friendliness and accessibility your brand’s calling card.

Voicemail is not an adequate solution for a 21st century business and it’s not what today’s increasingly savvy customers want or expect from their legal partners. As more legal services go online and DIY law takes hold, particularly in areas such as will writing, the importance of excellent customer care and efficient enquiry handling really does come to the fore. Will-writers, probate practitioners and estate planners must be able to compete – and that starts with being able to capitalise on every single new enquiry.

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