• June 1, 2014
  • By Leonard Klie, Editor, CRM magazine and SmartCustomerService.com

Virtual Receptionists Work for Virtual Law Firm

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Burton Law is a virtual law firm. Its six attorneys are not tethered to desks at one central office. Instead, technology allows them to work across a much broader geographic footprint—some are based in Dayton, OH, while others work in Cincinnati, Washington, DC, and Lexington, KY.

The firm, which specializes in business law, estate planning, and dispute resolution, offers online legal services, bundling legal forms and advice for a fixed price. It doesn't own any real estate and functions without office equipment or support personnel. It outsources all of its administrative functions, including its receptionists.

Ruby Receptionists, a Portland, OR-based provider of live virtual receptionists, handles Burton's calls, delivering custom greetings, transferring calls, taking and delivering messages, and answering basic questions. Though Ruby Receptionists does not record calls, each call is coded and time-stamped. Voicemail messages can even be forwarded as text messages or email with the original audio files available as attachments.

"It's easy to see how Ruby Receptionists fits in with our business model," says Chad Burton, founder of Burton Law. Burton Law has been a Ruby Receptionists client since November 2011.

Ruby Receptionists employees go through Ruby University, an ongoing training program to teach basic job functions, telephone etiquette, grammar, diction, and ways to cultivate relationships with callers and clients.

The company provides personalized live, virtual receptionist services to 3,200 small businesses throughout North America. Each client has a unique toll-free number that Ruby Receptionists' employees use to identify the business being called, since one receptionist is likely to be taking calls for several companies during a shift.

"There's not one person just for us, but if you call us, we know you'll get a receptionist who's really nice and helpful," Burton says.

That, Burton says, helps level the playing field for smaller firms like his. "Having a live person to answer calls...and then having the ability to have voicemail messages delivered via email was previously only available to larger firms," he states.

And all that comes with a price tag of only a few hundred dollars a month. "I really like their pricing structure," Burton says. "There's a fixed cost for a certain amount of minutes per month."

Burton Law is currently on a plan that includes 200 minutes per month, at a cost of about $6,000 per year. Its call volume can range from five to 15 calls per day.

To hire a full-time receptionist would cost about $35,000 a year in salary, plus benefits. Burton says Ruby Receptionists is a bargain.

"We're also saving on the physical aspects by not having phones, computers, etc.," Burton says. That equates to another $300 per month in savings.

The attorneys in the firm are saving in other ways as well. For one, they can still speak to clients without having to give out their personal cell phone numbers. But they're never out of touch. "Calls can go directly from Ruby to our mobile phones," Burton says.

Burton Law is continually looking for lawyers to join its team and expand into other practice areas, which makes Ruby Receptionists' scalability another nice feature. "We just need to add mailboxes and minutes to our plan," Burton adds.

"There's never going to be a question about who's answering our phones," he says. "We just don't have to worry about our phones at all."

By relying on virtual receptionists from Ruby Receptionists, Burton Law has seen:

  • a savings of roughly $30,000 per year in salary;
  • additional savings in employee benefits; and
  • a savings of roughly $300 per month on phone and equipment costs.

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