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Published: 2012-05-14

The IT Bill of Rights for Law Firms Getting into Cloud Communications



In today's innovative and always-on society, communications service providers have never been more equipped to deliver a great customer experience to law firms, especially in the cloud. Yet many providers continue to experience customer churn due to poor processes, overhyped technology and bad customer service.

If your law firm is spending tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars with cloud communications service providers, you are entitled to the best service and solutions possible. If you're struggling to understand the entitlement your law firm has with providers, this list of the "IT Bill of Rights for Law Firms" should be helpful.

1. Right to complete visibility of an infrastructure

As law firms make the shift to cloud-based applications, the reliance on a high quality voice and data transmission is more important than ever. But law firms need more from their service providers than just monthly or weekly reports. They deserve and should expect real-time visibility and control with proactive monitoring and status alerts.

2. Right to service provider simplicity

With the convergence of communications in the cloud, there is no longer a need for your operations teams to handle multiple service providers and your accounting department to have to deal with multiple invoices. This can all be consolidated in a "one provider, one bill" format.

3. Right to certified technicians

Carrier satisfaction rates suffer because of the runaround customer service they provide. When an issue arises, your associates and partners should be able to reach certified support staff and talk to a human being right away. Most issues should be resolved in a single phone call.

4. Right to a full suite of products

With the legal profession on the move more than ever, collaboration is necessary and having the right tools that work together is critical. Whether it's messaging, presence or web/ audio conferencing, you have the right to experience seamless consistency and for them to work the first time, every time.

5. Right to the best network connection

Carriers aren't omnipotent, which is why there are network solutions that combine multiple carrier networks in order to provide your law firm with the best possible connection in your area, regardless of your location.

6. Right to true solutions

It's easy for a company to say "we can do that." But can they actually deliver, or are they just hiding costs and presenting half-truths? Law firms have the right to a provider who won't fill your ear with empty promises during the sales cycle, only to renege on them once you've signed a contract.

7. Right to clear voice service

MPLS networks have the ability to provide flawless voice service over IP. Combine that with the fact that there are rate centers that can access nearly every U.S. city, and law firms don't have to put up with carriers' lame excuses for low-quality voice over IP (VoIP) service.

8. Right to improved client service

Everyone wants to improve their client's experience, but not all take advantage of the tools needed to do so. Your law firm has the right to tools that enable call routing, monitoring and administration, while being flexible enough burst to accommodate heavy traffic periods -- for instance, around tax season.

9. Right to protection from the public Internet

Spam, viruses, and inappropriate content -- none of that has a place in a law firm setting, nor can you afford for it to fester. Off the shelf network security isn't enough to protect law firms today, so as fraudsters and hackers are getting smarter, you have the right to a security solution that evolves with the current threat level.

10. Right to complete visibility

Through a hosted provider which leverages the cloud, day-to-day management of the network infrastructure becomes their responsibility, leaving your law firm and your team to focus on more strategic initiatives. You also have the right to stay in the loop with visibility and access into your network and communications platform at any time through provided tools.

Understanding your "IT Bill of Rights" can help you gain the most service benefits from your cloud communications provider, ultimately aiding in your law firm's success and bottom line.

James Whitemore is Executive Vice President of West IP Communications, a provider of cloud-based communications for law firms and other enterprise organizations (www.westipc.com). He can be reached at jwhitemore@westipc.com.