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Nationwide answering service versus full-time staff: The winning solution

Telephone Answering Service, Answering Service, Nationwide Answering Service

Consulting for legal firms is a tricky business. Lawyers are constantly busy with all sorts of tasks, from the trial down to the menial administrative duties. Many lawyers believe that, without the properly staffed office, their lives would be consumed with work, and much too much of it would come down to administrative work. But I had a recent experience that might change a lot of legal professionals’ minds.

I had come on the job to scout out a medium-sized legal office in the heart of Atlanta and suggest areas for increased efficiency. The firm had been considering the use of a Georgia answering service, but the team had been dragging their feet because they weren’t sure how the service could impact their bottom line. Although this was not a new concept (the company had more than 45 years experience in the industry), it was a concept that I had yet to come across as a young consultant.

Part of the reason the firm was considering the operator answering service was that lawyers were constantly tied up on the phone, fielding both crucial and less important calls. The firm had a pair of receptionists, but the high volume of calls was causing potential clientele to squirt through the cracks. On top of that, their most experienced receptionist had resigned in order to go back to school.

I did a little bit of digging and found a ton of interesting information about the nationwide answering service. Essentially, the company acts as a virtual receptionist, providing a trained, professional staff 24/7 to field calls and emails from potential clients and other firms. The trained staff combines its legal knowledge with internal scripts and the firm’s knowledge base to provide timely and relevant information to potential clients and take messages. The messages can then be delivered to the lawyers by any means necessary, whether it’s by email, text, fax or phone call.

Because firms that handle car accidents, personal injury and other legal emergencies basically require 24-hour personnel to convert all potential leads into clients, the operator answering service is manned all day and all night, helping to build a firm’s clientele base.

I gave the firm a little shove in the right direction, and they called the company. After a few months, lawyers were noticing an increase in productivity. Each partner could now handle a wider base of clients, and the actual number of clients increased by close to 50 percent. The growth was so huge that the firm actually needed to bring another partner on to handle some of the new clients. If I said I wasn’t impressed, I would be lying. In all my years as a legal consultant, I’d never seen an outside company do what the Georgia answering service did for this firm.

To be entirely honest, the operator answering service even made my job easier. Now, when clients identify their focal point as slow productivity, I simply suggest they bring in a nationwide answering service to do the job that an expanded full-time staff would normally do.

About the Author:

Gary Holthaus is an Atlanta-area consultant who specializes in productivity optimization for the legal industry. His article features information on and
Published: 2009-10-26
Author: Gary Holthaus

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