On the surface, these three items fit well together. Lawyers write contracts and need phone service. Phone service providers have contracts. Well, only two of these things need to belong together...lawyers and phone service! Many hosted VoIP phone providers are re-writing the rules in the communications industry and not requiring their customers to sign term contracts!
In taking such a position, these hosted VoIP providers are displaying tremendous confidence in their service delivery and billing practices. "When we started the business ten years ago, we knew just how frustrated business owners were with being held to term contracts for their telecommunication services," indicates Robert Conner, CEO of sipVine, Inc. "We wanted to take a dramatically different position in how we approach customer service and contracts. By not requiring term contracts, we are seen as more of an extension of a business rather than a provider. Thus, our customer churn rate is negligible."
Although attorneys have a place in their heart for contracts, they gravitate towards these "no-contract" providers for the benefits they can deliver to their firm. Like other businesses, hosted VoIP phone service appeals to law firms for a variety of reasons:
- An Enterprise-level System at a Low Capital Investment - Many attorneys starting their own firm or managing their own firm have worked for a large practice before and have experience with the value of an enterprise-grade phone system. Where a hosted product can deliver similar features, it comes at a capital price tag of a fraction of an on-site phone system. Because the actual phone system exists in the "cloud" (really the data center of the hosted VoIP provider), all the law firm needs to purchase are the VoIP phones and some other minor equipment. VoIP handset manufacturers differ in price and quality, but it is easy to secure high quality VoIP handsets from a top tier manufacturer (such as Cisco and Polycom) between $100 and $200. Thus, the price of their "system" is minor in comparison to on-site systems.
- Features that will Enhance their Communications - The features available with a hosted VoIP phone system are vast and have broad appeal. Attorneys utilize many, but several drive specific benefits to the firm. Examples include call detail records to aid billing efforts, call recordings to assist documentation, voicemail to email to relay important messages while the attorney is away from the office, and automated attendants to best route callers to the right individual.
- Custom Settings - Call flow design can direct callers to paralegal or other support as a screening step before an attorney is engaged. Good hosted VoIP providers can custom build a call routing routine that matches exactly the desires of the firm and which will better serve their customer base.
- Expert Administration - Law firms are in the business to serve clients, not to spend resources on administering their phone system. Good hosted phone companies provide administrative services for their clients, leaving law firms to practice law. Even self-service portals can take time away from the practice, so a telephone "concierge" service is very well received by firms of all sizes.
"Although sipVine serves many businesses from all market segments, one of our most highly represented vertical markets is the legal profession," continues Conner. "Certainly, the features and benefits are a big driver, but how we support them has created a very loyal base. They also network with each other well, and we're always receiving new clients based upon a recommendation from one of our law firm customers."
If you are a law firm, or a business who is compelled by similar features and benefits, a hosted VoIP system is a perfect fit.
About the author: Mark Greim is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at sipVine, a provider of a variety of VoIP phone solutions and services. Mark has extensive experience working for start-up or entrepreneurial organizations and has a passion for affordable, reliable, and purposeful technology solutions in those environments.