One of the easiest ways to spot a firm who are ‘good’ to work for and who have a happy working environment is to phone the receptionist and ask to speak to someone. Some receptionists consider this a real nuisance, and I have even heard sighs and tuts as if you shouldn’t really be calling to speak to anyone at that particular time.
I have also phoned one very well known practice, and been told before even identifying myself as an ‘orrible recruitment consultant (rather than a solicitor or client) to call back in 10 minutes as they were busy, followed by a click as they hung up on me!
It doesnt take much to teach good telephony manners, but not only must you do this, but also be aware of the need to ensure that the receptionist is happy.
If you have an unhappy receptionist – perhaps you are paying them £11,000 per year and this is causing them immense personal difficulties on the financial side, or perhaps you are horrible to them when they put calls through to you, the office they sit in is freezing or the chair too uncomfortable – they are going to pass this onto your clients. If your clients speak to someone who is frankly rude and obnoxious, chances are they may not want to use your services again.
I called four firms for conveyancing quotes some time ago to see what their service was like. Out of the four, three had receptionists that would probably have answered the local chipshop telephone more efficiently and politely. The other explained that she did the conveyancing herself as the partner didn’t have time and gave me an immediate quote that was probably about half as much as it ought to have been!
It does not take much to write out telephone protocols or procedures for your secretaries – a lot of solicitors are getting more into the marketing side of things but smaller high street practices still havent grasped some of the essentials.
Author: Jonathan Fagan MIRP MAC Cert RP LLM Solicitor (non-practising) – Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment (www.ten-percent.co.uk) – save time, skip the legal job boards and register with us! Jonathan Fagan is a specialist legal recruitment consultant, author of the Complete Guide to Writing a Legal CV and the Guide to Interviews for Lawyers (available at our careers shop – www.ten-percent.co.uk/careersshop. He has recruited for law firms across the UK and overseas in all shapes and sizes. If you have any questions that we have not covered above, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org