Businesses are constantly looking for ways to improve their efficiency and productivity, none more so than in the legal services industry. Lawyers and the firms they work for are under tremendous pressure to stretch every minute of the day into a productive one. Technological advancements have always been a well for firms to go to when they look to be more productive, as it’s one that has yet to run dry. Today, this has never been truer as cloud services and Unified Communications are making productivity enhancements for businesses more affordable than ever. Unified Communications now allow lawyers to make every minute count toward what matters to their firm the most: The billable hour.
To make every minute count a firm needs to ensure that its employees can be accessible anytime, anywhere. One of the UC features law offices can utilize is a Fixed Mobile Convergence (FMC) solution, such as Alteva Anywhere. FMC enables users to make their cell phone an extension of their desk phone. This allows for calls made to and from the desk phone to be transferred seamlessly to their cell phone. In situations where a partner must continue the important call they’re on, but also make it to court on time, there’s no longer a need to give one precedence over the other. By utilizing FMC, the call can continue without the partner getting a harsh reprimand from the judge for being tardy.
Perhaps a more subtle, yet just as important, benefit of Fixed Mobile Convergence is the ability to make calls from a cell phone but have the office number out-pulsed on Caller ID. By masking their cell phone number to show their office number on Caller ID, partners are assured of a few things: Their clients will never not answer a call because they did not recognize the number on their caller ID. There will never be a chance for a “problem client” to have access to the partner’s cell phone number. But the most important assurance of all is that every call made from a cell phone can be easily tracked and referenced for billing purposes. The call to the client will now show up on a call detail report that can be accessed daily by the accounting leg of the firm.
While a Unified Communications platform can be a tremendous benefit to partners on the go, it also can be a huge productivity enhancement to a firm’s “in-house” employees. Paralegals, litigation support specialists and administrators are the fuel to a firm’s engine. They’re the unsung heroes of the legal community and they need every second of every minute to meet the unrelenting demands of the partners they support. Alteva’s UC platform provides a circular approach to communications. A partner who is working remotely from a hotel can contact a paralegal back at the office via an Instant Messenger (IM) client such as Microsoft OCS. By utilizing OCS, the partner and paralegal can have a conversation via IM while the partner continues a call with a client via the phone. In this way, the paralegal can feed information to the attorney without interruption. With Microsoft OCS colleagues can share their desktop with one another and send files through the application. When multiple parties need to collaborate from disparate locations, they can utilize web conferencing, such as Microsoft Live Meeting to give presentations and hold web meetings with clients and colleagues. These web conferences can be recorded and offer multiple benefits to firms that are looking to technology to advance their business.
Maintaining effective communication with clients is vital to any service business. With UC solutions, voicemails are sent in .wav files directly to email, so they are easily forwarded to colleagues and saved electronically in client’s folders for future reference. Voice-enabled Microsoft Exchange provides the ability to schedule and change calendar appointments, listen to and manage emails and retrieve contacts via voice prompts from any phone. In Alteva’s UC solution, Exchange email is integrated with Microsoft OCS as well as our hosted VoIP platform. With integration across all applications, the user’s presence status on OCS changes automatically, in real-time, based on the user’s activities. When they pick up the phone, the status reads “in a call” and during scheduled meeting times, the status reads “in a meeting.” This is displayed not only on the OCS desktop client but presence is also displayed on Outlook, and on shared documents in SharePoint.
One of the most beneficial UC products to law firms is a call recording product, like Alteva Archive. An integrated call recording product, is a valuable tool that can be used to document client interactions and interviews. The recorded calls are accessed via standard web browser, and can be set up to automatically record and save all calls. The calls can be easily downloaded and saved in client files, or sent via email for transcription, a vital resource for all law firms.
Unified Communications improves colleague and client communications, speeds decision-making and boosts business productivity. Sharing and discussing information instantly and making decisions quickly using video and other collaboration tools is vital to business success and client satisfaction. Providing a meeting environment with face-to-face video collaboration that is as lifelike and natural as if you were in the same room allows clients, partners, and colleagues to connect and work together much more effectively. Through a Unified Communications solution, firms are able to hold virtual meetings that promote faster communications across key locations. Having technology that brings attorneys, clients and staff together gives the firm a competitive advantage and the ability to make better decisions and grow the business.