What Happens When You First Call Lanyon Bowdler?

No, don’t panic this is not going to be about little green men from space but the first contact a lot of our clients have with a firm of solicitors.

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Making the first call to a solicitor can sometimes be at one of the most difficult times of your life, especially if it is following the death of a parent, partner, sibling etc. So the first voice the caller hears should be one of sympathy, understanding, patience and lots of reassurance. This is where first contact is very important and it is not always the solicitor that the caller speaks to first.

As a secretary in the private client team I am never sure why someone is ringing and therefore always answering the phone in a professional manner is important. When I hear the words my husband/wife etc died this morning, it makes the whole first contact process even more important. That person may know a little of what happens next but they may know nothing at all and it is in the first few moments that I need to work out exactly what the caller requires.

Compassion is key

I always offer my sympathy on their loss and this can be the reassurance they need to confirm they are dealing with someone who is prepared to listen and that this need not be a frightening experience.

In the first instance I help establish whether there is an immediate hurry to do anything regarding the legal process and, if they have not done so, the death should be registered as soon as possible to allow things to proceed.

Needing the right information

I then always ask if there is a Will and whether there are any funeral wishes in it. At this point I need to take the name of the deceased and date of birth, date of death and address. This in itself can sometimes be the first time a caller becomes aware it is all too real. It is not unusual at this time for the caller to become quite emotional and spend lots of time apologising for being silly. I always assure them not to worry and to just take their time.

I am sometimes asked why I need all these details and explain that I will need to check our systems for a Will. I explain that the Wills are held in safe storage and not always immediately accessible so I take their contact details and ensure someone from this department will call them back, usually within the same working day.

Providing direct contact

I always provide the caller with my direct contact details so they don’t have to go back through our switchboard and explain why they are calling again, should they have any further queries, which most people do think of after finishing the call. I also reassure them that I will pick up any voice messages they leave me and someone will call them back if I am unable to pick up their call.

The time after the initial phone conversation can be a very useful period for the caller as it gives them time to draw breath and think of all the things they would like to ask on the next call. During a second phone call they are not usually so flustered or nervous as they have already made that first and hardest call.

Subsequent calls will either be made by me or a solicitor and the legal process can then begin.