With 85% or Fortune 100 businesses using conference calls as part of their day-to-day business practices, it’s likely your firm uses them too. Love it or hate it, audio conferencing is the best way to get people at remote locations together to hammer out an issue. A great system makes life easier.
Older systems were riddled with bugs with most calls beginning with a series of troubleshooting adjustments. Depending on what kind of networking your firm uses, you could be competing with traffic on your servers for a clear connection.
If you’re looking to improve your current audio conferencing system or to install a new one, you should know what’s out there. Here are five features you need to have for your conference call system.
Discretion and security are essentials to any law firm. When clients are talking about a case with you, you don’t want any information leaking to the wrong ears. You also want to be respecting their trust in your attorney-client relationship.
Older systems might play a series of beeps when someone joins or drops out. Your call will be interrupted as you ask “Who just joined?” In the worst case, you don’t get a reply.
This could mean that there was a bug in the system or that someone called and hung up. It could also mean that the security of your call is now compromised. If you’re discussing sensitive material pertinent to your case, you and your client could feel unnerved.
Having everyone call back means you’ll just be in the same position.
With newer systems, the prompt for notifying who is on the call can no longer be ignored. If you don’t catch a name, you’ll see caller ID pop up with contact information for the caller.
This way you’ll know who is involved, who is informed, and who could be listening in.
A great conference calling system will free you up from the limitations that have become expensive add-ons.
Most conference call systems will require pre-scheduled conference calls. This is fine for a monthly check-in meeting, but what if you have a sudden client emergency to deal with? Your audio conferencing system should allow you to start a conference call whenever you want.
Beware of systems that give limits to the number of conferences you can start in a day or systems that have other hidden restrictions. Conference systems that have time restrictions could cut off your clients mid-sentence, disrupting the flow of a conversation and your ability to serve your client.
If you’re working on a big case, you need to make sure your system has no limit to the number of guests you can have on a call. You never know how many heads it could take to come to an agreement.
3. High Quality
Many services will offer the ability to have multiple conferences with lots of voices on the line together while sacrificing quality. Holding a conference call on a poorly connected or distorted line presents a bad image of your firm to your clients and anyone you’re negotiating with.
Your conference system should offer HD conference quality with digital lines. A high-definition conference line should sound clear and never cut out when multiple people are on a call together.
One of the most common complaints with conference calls is about echo. Echo can be hard to work through as the speaker won’t be able to focus when they’re hearing their own voice returning to them while they talk. Echo cancellation is a must with your conference system.
If you get the other party’s attorney on the line and start negotiating a deal, you might forget some important details. Free call recording is a must for your audio conferencing system to ensure that you can play back and download every conversation.
If your client needs to hear some details, you can send the file over to them and get their response.
Should anyone claim they weren’t on a call, you’ll need some kind of record. This makes detailed calling reports a must for your next audio conferencing system. An ideal conferencing system should give you the total number of callers, length of the call, everyone’s caller ID number, and more.
When discussing difficult or potentially controversial issues, there’s nothing lawyers will want to do more than to argue. For every account or every claim, the other party will want to present a list of reasons why they disagree or why the account is invalid.
Conference calling software has helped deal with interruptions by creating something called “presentation mode”. This has become a standard with the best audio conferencing software. In presentation mode, you can mute all the callers except the one who is currently presenting.
If you’ve got a strong system, it will also include features that will help hold question and answer sessions following a presentation. It allows callers to digitally “raise” their hand with the push of the button. This way you can address every question in an orderly way.
Find a system that includes an active talker indication. When using a web interface, this will allow everyone to know exactly who is talking at which time. This way, you can better organize who is talking, who presented what issue, and which party is accountable for their claims.
Having an organized conference calling system will help deal with the most confusing aspects of using audio conferencing software.
Check out our guide of conference tips to maintain order during your next conference call.
Audio Conferencing Makes Law Easier
If there’s one thing you want a new conferencing system to do, is to make life easier. Older systems, while good for connecting people, were too full of problems and needed such constant troubleshooting as to make them a headache.
If you’re ready to adopt a new conference calling system to improve efficiency at your firm, contact us for more information.