There are myriad chat apps on the market. Alternatives to Slack and Microsoft Teams include Google Hangouts Chat, Mattermost, and Flock. But, none unfortunately are truly free. Sure, some remote teams are relying on iMessage and SMS texts in a pinch, but for a decentralised office, consistent and secure communication is a must.
Add to that the need to share files as part of business as usual at any practice. Again, many lawyers rely on platforms like Dropbox or cloud storage through Microsoft, Google, or Apple. But again, not free and governed by size limits.
What legal businesses need is a single solution that mixes the best of Slack with the best of Dropbox. Fortunately that solution already exists, and it’s already included (for free!) in every license of Smokeball. It’s a feature we call Communicate, and it’s the glue to keep members of dispersed firms as connected and productive as ever.
Message internally with colleagues
Communicate allows Smokeball users to chat internally, and direct message one another, directly in the practice management software. Or via the iOS or Android app. Like all text input in Smokeball, the messages are saved, archived, and fully searchable.
Best of all, these conversations can be saved directly to relevant matters. This way, for instance, if you’re talking to your colleague Dianne about Matter X, your conversation will get saved from Communicate directly to Matter X. You can review its contents at a later time as well as tally the time spent chatting to the billable hours for that matter.
However, when you and Dianne chat about Matter Y, with a simple click that chat then gets saved to that matter, with all of the functionality described above. Same two people, same Communicate tool, but information only saved where it matters.
All of your messages are not only kept internal (no third-party apps, no extra clicks), but they are secure, too, experiencing the same high level of security you can expect with the rest of your Smokeball experience.
Message externally with clients
Whether your team is in the office or working from home, clients still expect consistent access to their matter and files. By using the Communicate app, you can give your clients 24/7 access to their legal matters, thus increasing your transparency and ultimately your reputation.
Many cloud-based legal software providers boast of having a client portal. However, these browser-based pages are often clunky, difficult to navigate, and not updated in real-time. With the free Communicate app (your clients don’t have to be Smokeball users), your clients can see everything you share with them as it relates to their matters. No longer will you have clients texting you for updates, and with the direct message function already described, you can send them communication directly relevant to pressing matters.
What separates this function from simply using an app like iMessage is that Communicate is both secure and without file size limits. Share entire matters with clients, confident in their delivery and security.
Better than email
Smokeball users already know that every message in Outlook automatically saves to relevant matters. This all-in-one functionality is one of the key benefits of our hybrid cloud platform that our clients enjoy.
However, law firm emails from clients can often come with different subject lines and from different addresses, making even our core integration at times onerous to wade through. However, by using Communicate every message is saved, archived, and fully searchable, making returning to a conversation a breeze. And while it sounds trivial, doing away with the customary subjects, salutations, and sign-offs actually does add up, ultimately adding to your productivity and time in your personal life.
Communicate is the virtual communal table that your law firm can gather around each day and for each matter. Never miss a conversation by utilising this feature that is already hiding in plain sight in Smokeball.
Not a Smokeball user? Let us show you Communicate today.