Current Situation of The Legal Practice:
This was a Legal practice with 23 employees. The employees were spread across three locations with 15, 5 and 3 staff respectively.
Their communications system was all over the place. The partners each and their own standalone fax machines for confidential correspondence. Staff traveled a lot between their locations which are spread across Australia, and when they were travelling, urgent calls were transferred to their mobile phones, using a clunky forwarding system.
At the practice locations they only had one receptionist, and so at peak times several calls would back up and the receptionist would have to end one call to attend to another, or, the accounts department would be used as reception overflow but they were not trained in reception call handling and it was interfering with their regular duties. Furthermore, the receptionist was taking messages down with hand-written notes, which staff would not see until they returned to the office.
Also, as a law practice the time they spent on the phone was valuable. They needed to be able to log phone call durations quickly and easily for billing purposes. At present, they were logging with pen and paper.
The Brief From The Practice Manager:
The brief in this instance was relatively simple but there were issues we addressed that they had not even considered. They wanted to have a phone system that could:
- Streamline partner communication
- Cut costs
- Improve staff comfort at work
- Makes them sound more professional
- Provide easy finance options
What they got was a solution that offered them the flexibility, ease of use and technology they needed, and changed the way they worked completely - SpringCom Hosted. Now they have achieved a seamlessly communication across their entire practice under the one umbrella which compliments what they have also achieved with their IT network.
Here's how we addressed their issues in a comprehensive solution:
Practice Partners communication and unifying their communication
With the SpringCom Hosted pbx, the partners can now receive emails, voicemails and faxes to their smartphones, laptops, computers and tablets.
The company is now a paperless environment storing all faxes in the cloud. It also means that when they travel they can access their voicemail and faxes anywhere they can access the internet with their personal devices such as tablets and smartphones.
No more handwritten messages with Voicemail
We installed normal voicemail for the rest of the staff (non partners) because it works brilliantly for the legal industry due to the sensitive nature of the information clients leave. Before voicemail was implemented, clients wouldn't leave detailed messages with the receptionist, which is not great for such a data - sensitive industry. With voicemail, staff now receive accurate messages from clients and this has saved so much time and money. Staff can work out what clients want before calling them back and prioritise messages more easily.
Plus, with the unified communications, these same lawyers and administration staff can now also receive any messages when away from the office in the same way the partners do with sophisticated voicemail to email technology.
Connecting the other smaller remote practices
The SpringCom Hosted pbx is perfect for multiple office locations and remote workers. As all the brains of the system live in the cloud there were no complicated VPN's and router settings to set up to connect remote workers back to the pbx box in the main office. Each of the SpringCom handsets just needed to be plugged into an internet connection and they are automatically connected to the phone system.
Their previous phone system did not allow them to transfer calls between offices- it was incredibly frustrating for clients and left a very poor impression. Now they can call each other as if they were in the same office. It also means that they don't need one of the receptionists in the practice with only 3 staff. These calls are now answered in by the main practice and simply transferred back. The lawyers in the other smaller location were more reliant on the receptionist for other duties and so continued to keep the receptionist employed.
Now they are able to maximise this and the two receptionists take different lunch times and are able to answer all calls for both practices. In the event one practice is busy, calls now overflow instantly to the other location and the receptionist sees on screen and answers accordingly. Transferring calls is now achieved with a simple press of the button.
Backup for receptionist during busy times
Here we installed an Auto Attendant that now acts as a backup for both reception locations. Rather than staff having to stop a call to answer another, the Auto Attendant now answers after 6 rings and says "Thank you for calling ABC Partners, your call is important and we will be with you in just a moment". They no longer disrupt the accounts departments, or miss calls, and it sounds incredibly professional.
Never missing a call after hours
The Auto Attendant now also professionally answers after hours. The system can even answer multiple calls at once and callers leave messages that a nominated staff member listens to every morning. As every staff also has a direct contact number they receive any after hours messages on their soft phones or laptops in their inbox.
Contacting Partners Out of the Office
The practice was spending a small fortune on mobile phone calls. With VoIP, their bill has been reduced by 65%! VoIP calls are dirt cheap, including long distance calls!
Also, the partners can now effortlessly connect to the SpringCom Hosted pbx from anywhere in the world - as long as they have a good internet connection!
Cutting costs across the board
As previously mentioned, the company was spending a small fortune on mobile phone calls. Moving to the SpringCom Hosted phone system, and all their calls now being via VoIP drastically cut their call costs. Not only that, but the SpringCom Hosted system was a month-to-month contract meaning no minimum charges, and features they previously has to pay addon licences for are included for free!
The SpringCom Hosted pbx is a fully managed solution, no matter which package you choose. So, when the legal firm want to add, move users or change any of their phone system settings, they just give the Melbourne based SpringCom support team a quick call and everything is updated for them there and then. This means there are no unexpected costs for technicians or licences every time the firm want to add a new feature to the system.
Sounding more professional
Here we installed Professional Messages On Hold - this capped off the solution and made their practice sound incredibly professional. As the system were all interconnected they only needed to pay for one lot of professional messages on hold. They now tell callers about all the areas of law they specialise in and this has helped them cross promote their lesser known services to clients.
We also installed Day and Night Greetings. These greetings let clients know that the office is closed and what time regular office hours will resume. This is a professional way of relaying information to their clients.
Staff comfort with headsets
The latest Sennheiser cordless headsets were installed along with additional noise cancelling. The cordless headsets are hands free, cut down background noise and are extremely comfortable.
Alternative Law Phone System Solutions
The SpringCom hosted phone system was perfect for the law first mentioned above, however there are other options. In cases where the NBN or another high bandwidth internet connection isn't available, we would look at other solutions such as the Ericsson LG iPECS eMG 80.
The eMG 80 is a hybrid solution works over the analogue traditional copper phone lines and via IP protocols. So even though the NBN isn't available in their area right now the firm can take advantage of SIP capabilities built into the eMG80 meaning cheaper call's right now and also has the ability to transition to move to an entirely IP setup when the NBN is available.
For firms that need features such as call accounting software for call logging, or a soft console for receptionists, systems such as the iPECS eMG80 or UCP 100 would be more suited to them.