Selecting products or services that improve your firm’s operations and are easy to implement, can be a daunting, time-consuming task. Whether via email or at conferences or association events, industry vendors are ever-present—offering you several tempting solutions with notable benefits.
While making grandiose, comprehensive changes to the way you run your practice may not be pragmatic at times, there are also subtler, simpler ways you can enhance your firm’s day-to-day activities that don’t demand as much time, effort and expense.
One such way is to streamline how you connect internally and externally. Employing a new or updated electronic communication system can lead to a “quick win” for you, your employees and your clients.
Below we’ve identified 3 traditional devices that you can modernize to make your firm more efficient.
A phone system, whether technologically advanced or conventional, is a necessary expense for any business. Generally, you pay for the equipment and voicemail services, but you can also benefit from functionalities such as Voice over Internet Protocol (or “VoIP”) systems. With VoIP, your phone system operates exclusively over the internet. This means you don’t need a landline, which can provide you with versatility traditional phone services cannot. Additionally, VoIP systems include features such as unlimited phone calls (international included, in most cases), conference call functionality, call forwarding to mobile or home phones, receiving/storing messages in different formats (ie. text transcription), sending online faxes and more.
- Fax Machines
Many law firms still utilize facsimiles on a daily basis, despite their waning existence. Traditional fax machines have limitations, including cost and hardware inefficiency. For an upgrade, try an online fax service to send and receive documents in digital form, and subsequently save on paper and phone line costs. This also enables you to send and receive faxes using a multitude of methods such as email, an online portal or even a smartphone.
Here are a few services that allow you to both move away from antiquated phone services and that hulking fax machine:
- RingCentral: One of the most well-known VoIP services available to businesses, RingCentral offers flexible pricing ranging starting at $19.99 and contains features such as online faxing, automatic call recording and voicemail-to-text, as well as collaboration tools such as videoconferencing and integrations with Google and Microsoft.
- Ooma: A VoIP with a more rigid pricing model, Ooma delivers unlimited calling to the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico along with features such as a virtual receptionist, unlimited virtual fax, conference bridge and call and fax logs.
- Nextiva: Another well-known VoIP service with plans tailored specifically to law firms, Nextiva also features collaboration tools such as video conferencing and screen sharing, online faxing and automated receptionist capabilities. Ease of use is a prominent selling point for Nextiva, as most functionality occurs via an app, which can be accessed via a PC or any smart device.
E-signature services are exactly what the name implies—signatures made electronically rather than with paper and pen. With the use of e-signatures, your firm can reduce cost and risk associated with sending important signature-dependent documentation. You can also significantly decrease the time it takes to complete a transaction.
While each state’s laws are different, most have embraced the authenticity and enforceability of an e-signed document. However, it’s still important to check with the rules of your jurisdiction and code of ethics prior to implementing a service.
If you are interested in reading more about e-signatures and how they could benefit your firm, click here to read our breakdown.
Change is hard, and it can be difficult at times to get an entire team on board with institutionalizing new processes. But by taking small steps toward improving your technology, your firm can benefit in time and resources. As you get the proverbial “ball” rolling, you can begin to look toward streamlining operations on a larger scale. Technology and the legal landscape are both constantly changing, so it is to both your firm’s and your clients’ benefit to keep pace with and embrace new methods of conducting business.