When you’re first getting started with your immigration law firm, you may be able to handle the volume of calls you receive on your own. As your caseload grows and gets more complicated, administrative tasks like phone calls get incredibly time consuming. Remember, the most important asset you have is time. So, use it wisely by incorporating time-saving tools into your work whenever possible.
Think about the last time you called customer service: did you choose an option from the automated system, or did you try to get a real person to talk to? No matter how advanced technology becomes, people tend to find personal interactions more relatable and effective. A virtual receptionist is a way to personalize that first contact without delegating that task to a full-time, in-person team member.
Today we’ll cover the basics of remote receptionists, what to look for when you hire or outsource this service, and some existing remote receptionist services with experience serving law firms.
What is a virtual receptionist?
A virtual receptionist is exactly what it sounds like - someone who takes and redirects your calls, but doesn’t work in your office or is a direct employee. They specialize in managing your inbound calls, scheduling appointments, and addressing basic questions.
Because they’re the first line of contact with your immigration clients, there are some important characteristics you’ll want in your virtual receptionist:
- Customer-oriented and able to listen actively and lead your clients in the right direction,
- Able to manage confidential information appropriately,
- Personable and able to help your clients feel comfortable,
- Knowledgeable of the necessary information to redirect client questions,
- Multilingual capabilities to be able to interact with prospective immigration clients who might not be able to speak or feel comfortable speaking English.
One of the benefits of a virtual receptionist is that it makes that first contact between clients and your office more comfortable for clients since they’re not immediately thrust into a conversation with an attorney, which can be nerve-racking for some. Another advantage is that virtual receptionists have more flexible schedules, which means your immigration law firm’s phone can be open for longer than business hours.
There are many platforms that offer virtual receptionist services, and while your virtual receptionist may not have experience in immigration law per se, we’ve found three virtual receptionist companies that have experience providing this service for immigration law firms. We’ll go over them in order of how much human service you can get with them, starting with Ruby, which employs people for every remote receptionist position.
Immigration lawyer-friendly virtual receptionist services
Ruby: Customer engagement based on human interaction
Ruby assigns a virtual receptionist to your immigration law firm, which starts every interaction with a personalized message. Your virtual receptionist will redirect each call according to your instructions when you set up the service, either by sending the call to a voicemail, taking a message, or transferring the call to you or another staff member. Ruby’s virtual receptionists can also address frequently asked questions, schedule appointments, or complete forms.
Ruby offers three types of plans:
- Reception plans, which include a set number of minutes for a monthly flat rate,
- Chat plans, which include a set number of live chats for a set monthly price, or
- Bundled plans, which allow you to combine your reception plan of choice with a maximum number of chats per month.
Ruby offers a 21-day money back guarantee if you’re not happy with the service. Ruby is also associated with many state bar associations, which could save you some money, and integrate with some of the most popular tech tools lawyers use - check out our article on some of the best Tech and Tools for immigration lawyers.
Now, let’s move onto Smith.ai, which combines virtual receptionists with chat options.
Smith.ai - a hybrid between an in-person and tech-based receptionist
Smith.ai offers answering client inquiries via phone, text messages, and Facebook Messenger. When a receptionist is not available, a chat option on your website can assist your clients. Smith.ai also follows up with potential clients that complete contact forms on your website by sending a text message or email to initiate contact. Smith.ai integrates with over 30 different software platforms, including a number of legal tech platforms, many of which are used by immigration lawyers.
Same as Ruby, Smith.ai offers virtual receptionist and live chat plans. Unlike Ruby, Smith.ai’s plans are calls-based and not minutes-based. So you’re billed per number of calls, no matter how long or short they are. Another important feature Smith.ai has is that its receptionists will call back leads from your website to establish contact with them and see how your firm can help them.
Helpsquad - live chat focused on real-time answers
Similar to Smith.ai, Helpsquad provides around-the-clock managed chats, live chat and voice agents, and even a “do-it-yourself” option that allows you to set up and manage your website chat on your own. When it comes to assistance in the legal space, Helpsquad focuses on training its agents to provide answers to basic questions, so your potential clients have enough information before talking to you.
You get a set number of chats and FAQs for a flat monthly fee. If your immigration law firm has more specific needs and you need a customized solution, that’s possible too. To try Helpsquad for yourself, you can start with a 14-day free trial.
YoTengo.Bot - an artificially intelligent chatbot specifically made for immigration lawyers
An immigration lawyer’s answer to the time-consuming tasks of customer service, YoTengo,Bot focuses on asking the right questions to determine whether potential clients are a good fit for your firm, and get them connected to a specialized lawyer as soon as possible. YoTengo can also answer common initial questions clients have so that by the time you onboard a client, you can get right to the case at hand. Impressively, despite being a chatbot, YoTengo is bilingual, and understands both English and Spanish text.
YoTengo’s Starter plan works on websites, Facebook, Facebook Messenger, and Whatsapp. The Professional Plan makes the bot available on Google My Business as well. YoTengo is also integrated with Docketwise, making it even easier to transfer leads from YoTengo’s platform to your Docketwise CRM.
All of YoTengo’s plans include unlimited conversations and are based on monthly active contacts, with an option to add additional active contacts for a few cents. Thanks to the bot’s artificial intelligence and natural language processing, the longer it talks with your prospective clients, the more it knows about immigration law to help existing and future prospects even more effectively.
Common winning features of these remote receptionist services
All of these services include:
- Chat options, to ensure that someone is always there to answer questions and tend to contacts.
- Transcription services, so you can review conversation details.
- Bilingual assistance in English and Spanish.
- Flexible pricing features, which helps you plan your costs and provide more than a greeting to your clients.
The ultimate advantage of a remote receptionist is the help they provide in customer service management and retention.
For every other aspect of your immigration case management, there’s Docketwise.
If you’re still reading this article, you’re probably looking to further streamline your immigration law firm with a virtual receptionist. Whether you decide to go with a live receptionist, a pure chatbot feature or some combination of the two, trying new tools and constantly innovating your firm’s processes will lead you in the right direction.
If you want to learn more about how Docketwise can help you streamline and digitize other parts of your practice — from client questionnaires to form-filling to case management and more — schedule a demo to talk to one of our team members.
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