Thursday, October 15, 2009

Law Firm Communications Technologies that Simplify the Complicated

To succeed as an attorney, you have to communicate. Be sure the technology you’re using is not hindering that objective by taking advantage of services that give you greater flexibility and mobility. The following three technologies help you simplify and improve your legal correspondence.

  • Virtual phone services

For many years, the gold standard for business phones has been an expensive and inflexible equipment-based system. With a virtual phone service, you don’t have to purchase, install and store equipment. Instead, you pay a small monthly fee. It works with the phones you already own and isn’t limited to the four walls of an office. You can have one incoming local or toll-free phone number for the business, and then create extensions for branch offices or telecommuters. The find me/follow me smart call forwarding feature means you won’t miss an important call if you’re on the road or at a client meeting. The feature allows you to give callers your office number, then have the call ring your mobile and/or home phone – either in a sequence or at once.

  • Internet fax services

Faxing is still a big part of legal proceedings. Each year, thousands of pages of documents are sent that require signatures and/or handwritten amendments. Fax machines are always at the office, but the attorneys who need them are not. An Internet fax service allows you to send and receive faxes on a laptop or smart phone via your e-mail account or a secure online server, anywhere there is an Internet connection. Individual numbers assure the privacy of confidential personal or financial records. There’s no hardware to buy or maintain, and because the documents come in electronically—usually as a PDF although better services will give you a choice of format—you only print the documents you need. That saves money on paper and toner, while helping you go green. The cost savings reduce office overhead to help create more value for clients. The electronic format also means you can carry all your files with you and look them up instantly, without having to bring a stack of paper to every client meeting.

  • Email campaign management services

When it comes to email campaigns, law firms will attempt to use the usual office suite tools, i.e. word processing and/or spreadsheets. These tools are not designed for high-level campaigns and are ineffective at tracking results. An email campaign management service allows the creation of highly targeted and timely newsletters and email campaigns, manages opt-in lists, and produces easy-to-read yet detailed graphical reports of the results of each campaign and your overall marketing effort. Different service levels are available depending on budget and needs. The level of personalization also varies, from simple name personalization in the subject line and body to features such as geographic or other attribute-based list segmentation. Ultimately, an email campaign management service helps you target prospective clients and strengthen relationships with existing ones —all while allowing you to continually refine and improve your direct-marketing efforts.

Guest contributor Luc Vezina is a director of product marketing for Protus (www.protus.com), a provider of communications tools for small-to-medium-businesses and enterprise organizations, including the MyFax internet fax service; my1voice, a virtual phone service; and Campaigner, an e-mail marketing solution.

Please be sure to visit www.hardinglaw.com, the website for the law firm of Harding & Associates, for more information on California family law.

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