If you are a criminal defense lawyer or a personal injury attorney, you’re pretty much an emergency service. I always tell my clients, it’s like calling 911 when you get arrested, get a DUI, or get into a car accident.
It’s not necessarily planned or something that you see coming. It may be criminal in some instances, but most of the time it’s not. Most of the time, it’s like an emergency service.
What Happens If My Business Hours Say I Am Closed?
My question to you is, why would you ever set your office hours to be closed at any given time? It’s currently 8:48 am Eastern, which means on the West coast it’s 5:48 am. So, if at five o’clock in the morning, I searched San Francisco personal injury lawyer.
Look at this – closed, closed. If somebody’s googling at this hour, and trust me, we’ve got a lot of clients, and a lot of them get calls after hours, so this isn’t a far-fetched scenario, but you know who are you going to call here? Are you going to call Sally Morin who’s closed, or are you going to call Harris Personal Injury Lawyers who are open?
It’s almost like these people are just saying “Don’t call me.” It just doesn’t make sense to me that lawyers do this.
Here’s another one – San Diego DUI lawyer. I know how hard it is to get clients in San Diego for DUI. I think there’s something like ten thousand lawyers in San Diego.
You’re automatically turning clients away. You don’t even have a chance because you’ve got this ‘closed’ sign right here.
Same thing with Pasadena. Now there’s only one that’s closed here, but still, this guy doesn’t have a chance right now.
Obviously, you’re not working 24 hours a day, and there’s not going to be someone in your office 24 hours a day to answer the phone, but that does not mean the phones cannot be answered 24 hours a day by a real person.
We have several clients that we’ve talked out of setting closed hours on their website and making them use an answering service to field calls overnight and during the lunch hour.
And by the way, on your lunch hour, don’t put a voicemail up that says “Hi, you’ve reached the law office of Smith & Smith. Our hours are from 8 am to 4 pm, and we take an hour and a half from 12 to 1:30 for lunch”.
Don’t do that! People don’t want to know that their lawyer is taking a break. I’m sorry. They don’t.
The Perks Of An Answering Service
What you need to do is you need to hire an answering service. It’s $150-$200 a month, easy. It’s not expensive, and what you do is whenever you are not in the office, you send your calls to the answering service. That way they answer your calls, your calls never go to voicemail, you never miss a call, and you don’t have to put “closed” on your listing and turn people away.
Let’s say I was on a business trip in San Francisco and I got injured. I’ve come home, and now my injuries are starting to show. Now, I need an attorney in San Francisco. I’m not calling either of these two because they’re closed. I’m going to call this one.
Just keep in mind that an answering service makes a huge difference. We’ve seen incredible results from our clients just by adding an answering service, I’m talking doubling intake rates. It’s crazy. So, take this as a PSA.
If you set your business hours as closed, then you’re going to miss calls, especially if you’re in the maps here.
Hire an answering service. Make sure that they field your calls 24 hours a day when you are not there, and you’ll thank me.