Tech4Law visited Andrew Johnston from ProDial in Port Elizabeth to find out from him what made the new ProDial Professional Call Billing Network so unique and also beneficial to attorneys and legal advice seekers.
TECH4LAW: What is ProDial?
ANDREW: Prodial is a call facilitation service specifically for professionals and experts who consult telephonically. Prodial automatically bills the caller and pays the professionals for the consultation. Effectively eliminating the need for call logging and invoicing, we do all of that.
TECH4LAW: This sounds good, but surely this would only work when calls are received in the professional’s offices?
ANDREW: The Prodial service is a unique patented product that facilitates the calls to any of the professionals registered phones, including their mobiles. Furthermore legal professionals would align their availability on the Prodial system to suit their movements and the intelligent system will effectively follow them. The system will firstly detect if the professional is available (set available times). Secondly the system will determine where the professional wants the call to be received at that specific time (set registered phones). This means that a professional could set for instance his office number for times between 08h00 and 17h00 and perhaps his mobile for times between 17h00 and 18h30. The system allows for numerous registered phones and times so that personal preference variations can be set.
TECH4LAW: Could these telephonic consultations replace or even affect a professional’s normal personal consultation schedule?
ANDREW: Definitely not. Personal consultations cannot be replaced and are often very necessary. Prodial was developed to make professionals time more productive. Prodial fills the gaps where quick and sometimes emergency advice is sought. These calls are normally not longer than 15 minutes. Our research shows that these calls happen all the time anyway and professionals will not really have to do anything more than they already do.
TECH4LAW: What number does the professional give out to their clients to use the system?
ANDREW: Professionals are given a Prodial extension number. All callers dial 032 0070700 as well as (when prompted) the extension number of the professional they wish to connect to. The advantage of this extension system is that professionals need never give out their actual numbers (mobile, home etc.), yet can be contacted via the Prodial system on any number they choose.
TECH4LAW: How does Prodial determine a professional’s rate?
ANDREW: Professionals determine their own per minute rate which they would calculate from their hourly rate. Prodial has a range of price bands that can be selected, however should their not be a suitable price band, Professionals merely request their own price band. Pricing can be changed at any time by professionals.
TECH4LAW: How do users/callers benefit from the Prodial system?
ANDREW: Callers to our system pay per minute which allows for an economical means for immediate advice. Callers have access to a wide network of professionals from many fields of expertise. There are no geographical boundaries to Prodial users allowing people from outside of town or remote areas to access expert professional help without the travelling aspect and cost.
TECH4LAW: Are there any other features on the Prodial system?
ANDREW: Yes there are a few features on the Prodial user portal which professionals should find useful. There is call report information including the caller’s detail, time and duration of call as well as automated call recording which can be downloaded from the portal for reference purposes. There is also live revenue generation information with Invoices and statements. There is a very handy document sender where any free or chargeable documents can be sent securely to clients (legal docs, reports etc.). There is an articles section where professionals can share legal related information with each other. We have many new ideas for Prodial including Prodial traveller which will be implemented in the near future.
TECH4LAW: What are the costs for professionals to join Prodial and use the service?
ANDREW: Right now we have a launch special whereby account activation is free until 30th September 2011 thereafter a R500.00 set up fee will be charged. Prodial’s service fee is 20% of the price band chosen.
Thank you for the opportunity to explain the very unique and innovative product that is Prodial. Should any of the Tech4Law readers require any further information or explanations, they can contact me directly via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.