A Law Firm’s Best Advertising Is Its People: Getting Your Staff Up to Snuff on the Phone
Staff training and practice development programs are necessary to make sure your efforts to bring in customers are not wasted. After all, nobody will eat at a restaurant with terrible service, no matter how pretty its website is.
Now that you have our best marketing for lawyers up and running, your entire staff needs to be educated on your message and provide excellent customer service to back up that campaign. Your first step is the first point of contact: phone training.
Just as you must constantly evaluate your marketing strategy, you must continually audit your staff’s performance when talking to potential clients. The first phone call is the entry point into your business; if it doesn’t go well, the customer isn’t going to make it to your front door.
Here are a few tips for an effective phone training session:
- Start fresh. Your team members may not be doing everything the way you want them to, but if this is your first meeting about phone tactics, that can hardly be their fault. Acknowledge that there have been problems and start over with scripts, prompts, tools, and other materials to put a company-wide plan in place.
- Educate. You’ve spent a lot of time and money on your marketing materials, so share as many as you can with your staff! Hand out examples of your brochures and informational guides and encourage your staff to send them to callers.
- Rehearse. Once you have studied the materials and scripts, it’s time to put them onstage. Each staff member should be able to hit every key point on the call checklist in a way that does not seem forced or irrelevant to the call.
- Discuss. To be effective, you must evaluate the conversations that took place between customers and staff. What happened when callers became frustrated or wanted to be put through immediately? How did your staff handle questions that were not on their scripts? Remember to identify problems, not people.
- Evaluate. In many cases, support staff have much more first-contact experience than attorneys do. It is vital that you appeal to your staff for feedback. Ask how the program can be improved, or what can be done differently. If the staff thinks a tactic is impractical, they’re not going to use it, so find out as soon as possible if there’s need for a change.
Remember: the goal is not to make your staff repeat the company line to a bored or frightened customer. Your phone training should be focused on creating a habit of both offering and collecting information so that your marketing message melds into their customer service behavior.
Most attorneys start their firms assuming that being a really, really good attorney should, in and of itself, be a marketing advantage. Those attorneys believe that joining a whole bunch of committees and putting their name in lawyer directories is “marketing,” and they never bother to ask if there is a better way.
Attorneys are catching on, however, and those who succeed learn to leverage their current resources to create effective (and ethical) marketing. What they discover isn’t a magic pill or silver bullet but a different approach to marketing that your competitors haven’t considered.
by Ben Glass
Ben is a nationally recognized expert in attorney marketing and the owner of Great Legal Marketing.