Solid client relationships built upon a foundation of trust and communication are the lifeblood of any law firm. Communication that was once reserved for phone calls and emails has been expanded to include texting, instant messaging and videoconferencing. In addition to traditional landlines and desktop computers, mobile devices and even wearable technology are being used for communication – depending upon the client’s preference.
Law firms that still use older phone systems, especially traditional PBXs, struggle to deliver the level of communication expected by today’s clients and, as a result, jeopardize client relationships. High call volume is difficult to manage. There is no mechanism for recording and reviewing calls. There is no mechanism for automatically recognizing a user’s location and redirecting calls accordingly. There is no integrated history of interactions. Any functionality that can be added to an old phone system is typically limited and expensive.
Unified communications (UC) solutions bring together all forms of communication – voice, video, email, text, instant messaging and presence functionality – into a single interface that can be accessed anywhere, from any Internet-connected device. Communication goes through one system, not disparate channels, so clients get in touch with the right person as quickly as possible. Communication that begins through email can seamlessly shift to phone or text, and a history of interactions with each client will always be available to avoid unnecessary backtracking.
From an operational perspective, call flow is more efficient. Administrative staff can use the presence feature to instantly locate attorneys and determine if they’re available, and messages can be forwarded to any device to speed response times and decision-making. UC enables real-time collaboration and reduces the need to schedule face-to-face meetings. Cost savings can be significant, especially for firms with multiple locations that share the same UC system.
Law firms also have the option to utilize an on-premises or cloud-based UC solution. An on-premises solution allows you to maintain total control and ownership of your system. Choose applications, services and vendors based upon your firms specific needs. With a cloud-based system, capital costs are minimal because you’re using a service provider’s infrastructure. The provider is responsible for management and maintenance, and you’ll always be using the most current software and applications. A hybrid solution gives you the best of both worlds — the performance and capacity of an on-premises solution at headquarters, with the financial and operational simplicity of the cloud at satellite offices.
Bringing all communications channels under the same umbrella can be a complicated process, so it’s important to plan carefully when implementing a UC solution. In most cases, a phased migration makes more sense than simply ripping and replacing the existing communications infrastructure. The UC vendor you choose must be capable of securing your network, protecting your data, and meeting confidentiality and compliance requirements. Make sure you have adequate bandwidth, and make sure your network is capable of prioritizing traffic at the application layer and allocating bandwidth accordingly. For example, real-time applications such as voice and video should be prioritized to avoid performance issues that disrupt client interactions.
Don’t let your legacy phone system compromise your client relationships. Law firm communications, both internal and external, must be fast, flexible, reliable and seamless across all channels. Let IPC help you choose and deploy a UC solution that improves the efficiency and effectiveness of your law firm.