What do your staff say when they pick up the office phone? Do your staff take initial calls or does a pre-recorded message invite your caller to make a selection?
Many practices are keen to minimise the time taken by staff in answering calls, and with good reason, fee earners need to earn fees not fend off time wasters.
However, there is one group of callers that merits attention, and quickly.
Have you created a list of your “A” clients and distributed it to your staff? Does the list have the name of the first and second stop partners/client managers that should receive their calls as a priority? Do you really want these clients to wait, tapping their fingers, as a robotic voice asks if they want reception or the payroll department?
A quick way to solve this conundrum is to set up key support staff with an office mobile and make sure your “A” clients know the number.
If you go into meetings don’t switch the phone to silent give it to a trusted reserve with instructions to interrupt you if an urgent call comes through.
Now your “A” clients are taken care of what about those cold calls? The usual practice is to shut the gate and advise callers to send a letter or email – both, of course, will likely end up in the bin or junk folder. Have you any idea how many approaches have been made to your practice, willing to share ideas that would have had an impact on your ability to grow your practice?
Dinosaurs that adopt this closed-door policy to all “unwanted” calls may come to regret their decision to turn a blind eye to possible innovative approaches. A compromise solution? Train one person in the practice to take all third party sales calls and filter the wheat from the chaff. The same person could also take forwarded emails from fee earners that seem to have legs.
And finally, what do your staff say when they pick up the phone?
Generally, it’s to chant the name of the practice, perhaps with an acknowledgement of the time of day: good morning, Smiths…
The callers that really matter, your clients, generally ring because they need your help. So make them realise you are ready and willing from the onset: good morning, Smiths, how can we help…