The following is a guest post from Damon Finaldi, President of Tele-Data Solutions, a provider of VoIP phone systems and cloud technology.
You’re a litigator stuck in court who needs to check email. A law firm business manager looking to increase revenue. Or the IT manager who knows there’s a better way to tie together your communications. In any of these cases and many others, an upgrade of your firm’s telecommunications to a VoIP (voice over internet protocol) phone system can boost profits and productivity.
In today’s connected world, a phone is more than just a phone. It’s a business tool that can give your firm a competitive edge in terms of client service, mobility, collaboration, and billings. Internet telephony using VoIP has been around for several decades, and services using this technology have improved as broadband services have become more widely available. VoIP offers speed and flexibility that traditional phone services lack.
Here are several key ways that implementing VoIP can help boost revenues, streamline communications, and improve productivity:
- Lower phone bills. By migrating to a VoIP system you eliminate local and long distance phone bills—it’s one flat price no matter where you call nationwide, and international rates are highly competitive.
- Increase client billings. VoIP technology captures every billable second that attorneys, paralegals, and assistants spend on the phone talking to clients, automatically.
- You get automated call logs that no one has to maintain (manual paper time sheets are so 20th century). No one has to remember their call lengths down to the 0.1 second—VoIP does it for you.
- Your business manager can easily review these logs through a desktop dashboard and determine who gets billed and who doesn’t.
- The system can tie in all your firm’s account codes.
- A mobile app tracks phone time on company cell phones as well, and it all reports to the central system.
- You can integrate the phone logs with your time and billing software package for streamlined accounting and convenience.
- Check voice mail anywhere without disrupting proceedings or meetings (or traffic). Attorneys who are in court or driving can access all their voicemail and email easily, safely and discreetly via VoIP.
- The system can send all voicemail to any phone in a WAV file that is easily accessed from anywhere.
- Voicemail can also be transcribed as email so you can quietly scroll through messages while away from the office. Attorneys in certain practice areas—such as personal injury or criminal law—know how crucial it is to respond quickly to messages (and get the client who’s searching for representation now).
- In the car and need to check your messages? The phone system identifies you by your caller ID and will automatically log you into your voice mailbox, hands-free.
- Built-in conferencing. VoIP eliminates the need for third-party conference call services. VoIP’s conference call features include:
- Allows unlimited connections—as many people as you need to include, from any location;
- Includes an integrated conference bridge;
- Can record the conference call (or any phone call) for future transcription or deposition, eliminating “he said/she said” and allowing more effective negotiation with a real-time recording of the call;
- Exports the call recording as an MP3 or WAV file to include in case management software.
- Go mobile or multi-site. With a VoIP phone system, staff can work from anywhere and stay in touch, so sick days, personal days or working vacations are never an issue:
- Integrates multiple locations centrally in the background so callers get through to everyone no matter what.
- Centralizes receptionist duties across locations.
- Easy to administer. Manage the entire system from anywhere via the web portal. If you need to shut down early or open late (and indicate this with outgoing voice mail), or change users’ names on extensions as people join or leave the firm or move offices, it can all be done online on any interface. This eliminates the need for complicated programming, phone trees, or specialists.
- No down time. Natural disasters, power or service outages, and inaccessible locations are no longer barriers to maintaining phone service with VoIP. Because internet telephony is in the Cloud, the system is always up as calls are routed through a data center.
Internet telephony has come a long way since its inception in the 1990’s. Internet telephony technology suing VoIP can save your firm money and can also help your firm make money at the same time; it can save your attorneys time and keeps everyone connected seamlessly—even in multiple offices.