I don’t know about you but one of the biggest killers of my productivity is constant disruptions. We can blame it on our poor time management skills or our addictive behavior when it comes to obsessively checking emails or the delusion we are gifted multi-taskers. But at the end of the day, productivity suffers and this means your profits suffer.
Don’t believe me? Try these stats on for size:
- It takes an average of 23 minutes to regain focus after an any interruption.
- The average time spent dealing with interruptions per day is 2.1 hours.
- Your IQ falls 10 points when you’re fielding constant emails, text messages and calls. This is the same loss you’d experience if you had missed an entire night’s sleep. (Yoga Journal, p. 22, 12/2005)
- It’s estimated interruptions waste 28 billion hours a year.
- Frequent interruptions can result in higher rates of stress, exhaustion and errors.
And the worst for solos, in my opinion, are phone calls. Yes, a client calling on the phone is the lifeblood of the business. More importantly, when a client calls today it’s because they have finally decided on you as their lawyer. Don’t believe this? Well, here are more statistics to chew on:
- Eighty-seven percent of those who call an attorney go on to retain one, while 58 percent do so within one week, and 64 percent only contact a single attorney.
- More than a third of the time, client calls go straight to voicemail or are not answered at all, according to a study by the ABA. (click that link to read more horrifying office phone behaviors costing you thousands upon thousands.)
I truly get that it is very difficult to answer phones while you are trying to get work done, represent your clients, advocate in court. But it’s not optional to disregard the phone when it’s not convenient. Simply answering your phone and responding to voicemail messages in a timely fashion, based upon these statistics, will put you way ahead of the competition.
It’s imperative the phone be answered immediately and by those who understand that they are the first impression for your law office. And you know what they say about first impressions? You only can make them once. How often have you impatiently grabbed the phone or been in a less than ideal mood, had a client waiting for you or some other event that simply did not translate well to the person on the line? This can be very damaging to your bottom line, too.
How do you counter this?
Probably the single best investment you can make in your firm is to get a top-notch answering service who will take their marching orders from you, yet trained by the best on how to deliver excellent service with each and every phone call. This experience elevates your practice to the next level and reflects very well on you. It will also showcase what your clients can expect from you once they have retained your services.