Your law firm needs to have its phone system. Aside from being a fairly basic requirement from every state bar in order to practice law, it’s a pretty nice thing to have whenever you need to talk to someone (or they need to talk to you).
Being such a basic need, you probably haven’t given it a second thought since it was installed. It’s exactly that line of thinking that has allowed you to be grotesquely overcharged for service from the phone company. And for a service that is far inferior to another option: VoIP Phone Service.
That’s right – phone over the internet. But you’re used to your phone service, and I’d better have some damn good reasons to switch to something different. Well, here goes:
1) VoIP phone service lines are easy to add, reassign, or remove…
… but your current system is a pain in the ass.
How many phone numbers do you have at your office? Does every attorney have a direct line, in addition to the firm’s primary line? That was certainly the model in the late 1990s, and has sadly been emulated for years since.
One of the biggest problems with the traditional phone line setup is that you have one main phone number, but really a whole bunch of phone lines. Adding a new line, reassigning a phone line, or removing one when someone leaves, is a remarkable headache. How many times have you avoided adding or removing a phone line just to avoid that fresh migraine?
With a VoIP phone service network, upscaling or downscaling the size of your office network is incredibly easy. No need to call in a tech to install a new line or to wire a new office. Since it’s all one system, simple adjustments let you plug a new phone into the wall and get working.
2) Your VoIP phone service follows you wherever you go…
… but your current system remains stuck at your desk.
That phone line that you’ve spent so much money to install and operate, it rings beautifully…
… even when you’re not there. But oh, who doesn’t like returning to the office and having a bunch of voicemails to return! It’s not as if there aren’t a massive number of ethics inquiries every year simply because people don’t return phone calls! (Sarcasm)
Your VoIP phone service will let you adjust preferences for each phone number. If you want to work remotely, you can adjust your office number to automatically forward calls to your house, to your cell phone, to anywhere that has an internet connection.
3) VoIP phone service has all the features you currently use…
… that you can’t live without.
One of the biggest reasons we often fear transitioning to a new technology is the idea that we can lose the features – and the comfort that comes with those features – of our established tools. When it comes to our phone systems, there are a lot of features that we’ve become accustomed to, and are very comfortable with:
- Call waiting
- Call forwarding
- Transfer calls
Even limited conference calling and call-merging is usually available on your local phone line.
Losing those features, particularly those that your law firm’s senior partnership is comfortable with – or worse, actually uses – would be to invite disaster.
Fortunately, your VoIP phone service has all those features and more. Like what? Well…
- Voicemail-to-text – read your voicemails while on a conference call
- Attendant Call Menus – a wide variety of different options if you’re unavailable
- Forward voicemails… to multiple people
- Full conference call capability
Beyond simple tools, most VoIP systems will automatically re-direct to voicemail or to your mobile phones if the internet is down at your office. Some even offer project management tools that allow you to spot trends and improve your workplace efficiency.
Oh, and all these features, too.
I’d love to see your current phone system do that!
4) VoIP phone services support electronic faxing…
… while your current fax system is expensive and horrible.
Ah, the fax machine – that iconic tool of the antiquated law firm. You need a phone line, you say, because you have to be able to send and receive faxes.
Good thing VoIP phone services are compatible with electronic fax options. So not only can you get rid of that huge waste of resources that is your phone system, that albatross of a fax machine sitting in your copy room is gone too! Double bonus!
5) Your VoIP phone service integrates with your other business systems…
… while your current phone system… rings when someone calls.
Your phone might sit right next to your computer on your office desk, but if you want any information to get from one to the other, you’re doing it yourself.
Since your VoIP phone service is internet-based, it can connect right into the systems you use every day. Want to place a call using Outlook? Easy. How about having a contact’s information automatically display when that person calls? Done. Voicemail transcriptions sent to your email address? Check.
Oh, and since your VoIP phone service is constantly being updated, it’s likely that whatever systems your law firm adopts in the future, it’ll eventually be integrated with your phones. You definitely can’t say that about your phone system.
6) You’ll save money using a VoIP phone service…
… but that’s not really all THAT important, right?
Ok, so how about the real reason you’re going to want to switch to VoIP phone service: it’s less expensive. So you’ll get all those features I discussed above, you’ll keep all those features you’ve grown accustomed to, and you’ll still be able to make and receive calls.
I’m sold. How about you?
About the Author
Brian Focht is a civil litigation attorney and technology enthusiast. In addition to being the author of The Cyber Advocate, he is also the producer and host of the Legal Technology Review podcast, and co-founder of B&R Concepts, a small business technology consulting company.
Image courtesy of pakorn.