Legal Intake: The Perks Of Automation

In past blogs we have discussed the perks of automating the intake process, and the perks of hiring a virtual assistant to take over administrative duties.  Combining the two of them can make your process seamless! The beauty of combining these two ideas is they work for virtually any firm, giving you customization and flexibility.

 

Create Your Own Intake Form

First, you will need to tailor your physical intake forms so that it makes sense for the kind of services your firm offers. Providing an intake form will save you so much time and energy because they are a way to organize important and necessary information neatly onto a sheet that you can use and reference when needed.

Using Clio is an easy way to create your intake forms and organizes them with the rest of your client data directly into the CRM platform. Choosing to use a platform like Clio has many perks other than just offering an automated intake form- it allows clients to e-sign documents, can schedule consultations, and it even offers fee arrangement automation.

Assign Your Intake Process To Your Virtual Receptionist

Once you have automated your intake forms and designed them to fit your services, you can assign the intake process to a virtual receptionist.  If you don’t have a virtual receptionist, check out our Blog about why you should think about hiring one.

Automation is particularly helpful to virtual receptionists because it saves them time from having to scan, fax, or mail in forms. An automated process allows the forms to be filled out and submitted online so once completed they are automatically entered into the system.

Let Technology Help You

You only have so much time in the day, and there is no way to get around those administrative duties. So, don’t shy away from technology. It will help take care of mindless tasks like data entry, so you can spend time with your clients.

And if you are ever considering hiring a virtual receptionist, look no further than Back Office Betties!

Improve Your Law Firm Process

Constantly looking for ways to improve your law firm is never-ending.  Now more than ever is the time to find an integrated system that can you with your practice management.  Clio Grow is just that – a groundbreaking cloud-based law practice management software program.  This system is designed to streamline day-to-day work of law firms and improve the tasks required.

Client Lifecycle Solutions

Here are some of the ways in which this system is providing you with end-to-end client lifecycle solutions:

  1. It allows you to organize your leads and house billable matters for clients all in one system.  Whereas before these had to be done through two separate systems. This means no more wasting time transferring data back and forth between systems and no more doing duplicate data entry.

 

  1. A cluttered billing system can be a nightmare to organize and manage, especially when it is clogged with old information that you may not need now, but you also don’t necessarily want to delete. Clio Grow acts like a filter to allow you to capture all the valuable information you need for leads. The good stuff makes it to Clio Grow for billing and casework, and the rest is stored so you don’t lose data that you may need again later.

 

  1. Clio Grow now greatly reduces the time spend doing data entry to intake forms by allowing clients to fill out forms on their own, then is automatically submitted. This eliminates the time is takes to be filled out by hand and then transcribed, saving you hours to time.  It also reduces typos made through the transcription process.

 

  1. For every new client, Clio Grow provides firms with an ROI measurement for investments in business development like marketing. This helps firms zero in on the business development strategies that work best for them, so they can continue to grow and acquire new clients.

Improve Your Process

If you are not a Clio user, there has never been a better time to become one. This technology is huge for law firms and is ever-changing and improving, continuing to make life easier and more seamless for you.

 

How Does Net Promoter Score (NPS) Work

If you aren’t familiar with Net Promoter Score (NPS), this powerful and SIMPLE metric is a proven way to gauge client satisfaction, the likelihood of them returning to your law office in their next time of need, and most importantly their potential to refer new clients. By using this fast, 1 question survey, firms quickly categorize their clients as Detractors, Passives, and Promoters.

We recommend you avoid making any survey data collected anonymous. At first it may sound good, and perhaps it may bring more responses, but in the long run, it makes the information less actionable. By ensuring the data is tied to a specific client you have given your firm the opportunity to close the loop by reaching out to detractors and finding out what went wrong. Maybe there was a misunderstanding about billing or a bump in the road that could have been avoided. If you don’t take the opportunity to reach out to detractors, you lose the ability to convert them to passives or promoters.

Activate your Promoters! Once you know who they are put them to action by reminding them you appreciate their trust, remind them you are at their side the next time you are needed, perhaps plant the seed that you would love to serve their friends and family. This is your chance to push for referrals in a non-threatening way.

If you use firm management software like Clio, you can easily add a field to track your new information. PS…word on the street is Clio just announced the addition of an NPS tool at the Clio Cloud Conference.

For tips on how to boost your net promoter score, check out this blog post.

3 Ways to Increase Your Net Promoter Score

If you aren’t familiar with Net Promoter Score (NPS), this powerful and SIMPLE metric is a proven way to gauge client satisfaction, the likelihood of them returning to your law office in their next time of need, and most importantly their potential to refer new clients. By using this fast, 1 question survey, your firm can quickly categorize their clients as Detractors, Passives, and Promoters. So how can you reduce your Detractors, turn your Passives into Promoters, and create Promoters from the beginning? To learn more about calculating your score, check out this blog post.

Be a Smooth Operator

Make your office as efficient and easy to work with as possible. While NPS doesn’t measure your ability to practice law, it does measure what clients think of how you practice and their interactions with everyone in your firm. This is a good time to reevaluate the way you serve clients from the first phone call. Do you have a documented intake process that assures clients they’ve come to the right place? Is their call answered by a friendly receptionist who is trained in your intake process and can effortlessly schedule the first meeting?

Pulse Checks

Check in with your clients while in-process. Ask them if there is anything you can do to better serve them. I once worked at a hospital where everyone from administration to medical staff was required to ask a patient if there was anything else we could do for them. We could not be halfway out the door or asking as we walked away, we were required to stand firm, look at our patient in the eyes and earnestly offer assistance. How often do you do this with clients? Taking this step will create a sense of connection even when your clients don’t take you up on the offer.

Seek Out Your Detractors

Take the opportunity to reach out to detractors to find out what went wrong. Listen without defending and make course corrections as needed. Sometimes things are out of your control or the client is unreasonable, but getting defensive will not help move anyone from a detractor to a promoter. When things go wrong, take this as an opportunity to shine. One of my favorite phrases is “I’m sorry this is what you experienced. This is not the level of service we want to provide at our firm.” Use feedback to enhance your internal processes to avoid repeat mistakes.

Inavero, a leading provider of Net Promoter based satisfaction survey tools, recently reported the average NPS for law firms at 7.59.  How do you shape up? Perhaps you are right in line, or better, above average. On the other hand, maybe your firm is below the 7.59 mark (yikes!), and some serious work needs to be done.

Most importantly, get started now! If you don’t have the time to dedicate to sending post-case surveys, consider outsourcing the task. Your friendly team at Back Office Betties are very knowledgeable about NPS and happy to help you create a process for your firm if you’re unable to assign this task to someone on your staff. The bottom line is to get started right away because according to Frederick F Reichheld, pioneer of NPS “The only path to profitable growth may lie in a (firm’s) ability to get its loyal customers to become, in effect, its marketing department.”

To Charge or Not To Charge? That Is The Question

Should your firm be charging a fee for consultations? Deciding whether or not to charge for client consultations can be a challenging choice to make with so much to consider. Charging consultation fees may seem a bit money grubbing, but offering free consultations typically attracts a crowd of people who are not really looking to retain an attorney. Instead, they want to receive free legal advice. The truth is there is no perfect answer that applies to all firms and all services – it must be decided by each firm.  However, most attorneys are not charging for consultations, when they absolutely should be.

Small Firm or Solo Practice Attorneys

If you are a smaller firm or solo practice, every hour matters.  You are dedicating several hours a day to client consultations and it can end up being a waste of time and resources when you do not end up retained. And often times the only way to make up for lost time and resources is to raise rates for retained clients. Choosing to charge a fee will likely decrease the number of client consultations.  But consider this… you are weeding out those individuals who are only seeking free legal advice. Furthermore, by charging a fee, attorneys can provide a more comprehensive and in-depth consultation.

Your consultation fees can be more than just a straight fee.  Here are some suggestions:

  1. Consider crediting back the consult fee if they retain you. This will ease the hurdle for some clients of making an initial payment and creates value for the legal advice you are giving.
  2. Offer a flat rate service fee for clients who may just want information and not going to retain you for services. Provide more actionable information that will be helpful to them.

Billing on Contingency

If your firm bills on contingency, then charging a fee for the consultation process is not really an option. The consultation in this scenario is more of an assessment as to whether there is enough harm for both the client and lawyer to get paid out of their damages.

Is It Costing You?

If offering free consultations is costing you and, subsequently, your clients, then it is time to make some changes. Your firm is a business, and the ultimate goal is to earn a wage by offering your hard earned expertise in certain fields- not offer free advice to those who do not appreciate your time.

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Thinking Outside The Box

From insurance companies, to online television streaming companies, to grooming supply companies, the subscription model is booming. Over two thousand subscription-based companies operate around the world today and the number is growing as more organizations move towards implementing this model…law firms being one of them. It’s true, the benefits of the subscription model apply to legal services in almost every niche.

Group legal plans essentially work like health insurance. Plans can be offered through employers or commercially marketed plans and provide general coverage at a more affordable rate. Legal plans can offer a range of coverage like online services, advice via phone call, reviewing documents, to even end-to-end representation including the trial for matters such as bankruptcy, divorce, etc. So why should attorneys be interested in a legal plan for their firm? Because of the innumerable benefits offered to both the firm and clients

Free Referrals

Those who are looking for an attorney would refer to their network, much like a person does when looking for a doctor. This would allow firms to get access to a clientele demographic they would have likely never reached. This also benefits clients because they have easy access to an attorney they feel they can trust because they were selected from a pre-approved network.

Free Marketing For The Firm

Being listed as a recommended attorney provider provides marketing for the firm with no additional marketing costs or fees.

Predictable Revenue & Cost

Having a legal plan ensures no surprises, something that is particularly comforting to clients. Allowing clients open communication with their legal counsel without fear of additional fees allows for better communication, giving peace of mind to both the client and legal counsel.

Here are just a few ideas to thinking outside of the box:

  1. ‘Ask an Attorney’ – Email support for $69/month and a 5% discount off hourly rates when they hire the firm.
  2. Estate Planning – $59/month unlimited trust updates and free annual review with an attorney.

It Works

According to The American Bar Association, “Sixty-five to eighty-five percent of all problems brought to attorneys through plans can be resolved through nothing more than advice and a small amount of follow-up. So many companies are flocking to this type of model because in simplest terms, it works. Depending on the services your firm provides, a legal plan may be the best way to affordably grow business and eliminate problems surrounding accounts receivable. So, explore the needs of your practice and see if this is something you can adopt because it could be well worth it.

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Are You Keeping Score?

Analyzing short term goals is very important to the health of a business, but if that is the only point of focus, then you are only looking at one small piece of the puzzle. Ultimately, you want to focus on the longevity of your company; which means you need to be tracking more than just financial growth.

To get a full measure of company performance, there needs to be a balanced analysis. One of the most effective methodologies is the company scorecard. A company scorecard is a wonderful tool for breaking down long-term strategic goals into manageable day to day steps. It achieves this by viewing your company through four different lenses which identify strengths and weaknesses within your company.

Lenses To Look Through

There are 4 main categories to consider on your company scorecard:

Learning and Growth

The learning and growth aspect looks at the learning opportunities available to employees. It analyses the training employees receive, the availability of the newest technology and software, communication and collaboration, and the opportunities available for continued education and training.

Internal Business Processes

The internal business processes is all about how smoothly your company’s production process is. The goal is to identify any waste, obstacles, gaps, bottlenecks, etc. that may be holding your company back.

Customer Perspectives

This is exactly what it sounds like- perspectives of the customers. Customer satisfaction and feedback is essential to growing your business. Giving the customers a voice will identify whether their needs are being met by your products/services.

Financial Data

This is traditional financial data, like profit margin, demand, shareholder satisfaction, etc. Many companies focus solely on this quantitative measurement of company performance, which is not an accurate reflection. However, that is not to say that it isn’t vitally important. Money is, after all, what keeps the daily operation running.

Get The Team Involved

Each of the four legs of a company scorecard may seem unrelated but are in fact highly intertwined and build on one another.  Scorecards will work to get your team involved and inter-relate.  For example, a company with employees who are educated on the industry and adept at their positions will have increased communication and collaboration.  Better communication will create a smoother business production process which has a twofold effect. A smoother production process saves the company money by discovering how to do more with less; and it is also likelier to create a better product, resulting in happier customers, and higher sales. If approached with diligence, the company scorecard management tool can be a game changer- the first big step in fully taking control of your company.

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Know Your Numbers

Adopting methods to measure success is necessary for any company that wants to maintain its competitive advantage. Although that may seem common sense, pin pointing which areas need the most focus requires strategy. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are “measurable values that demonstrate how effectively a company is achieving key business objectives”. They can be applied on a large scale to assess company-wide performance, or they can be applied to specific departments. Understanding how and where to apply KPIs is the most important part of the implementation process. It can be detrimental if a KPI is incorrectly applied or applied to the wrong department. The goal of these metrics is to gauge the performance of the most germane criteria for your business.

Be SMART About Your Goals

To ensure your KPIs will be accurate measurements of success use SMART:

Specific: Are your company goals specific?

Measurable: Can you measure your success in these goals? Do you know what you want the outcome to be? How do you know you have achieved your goal?

Attainable: Are your goals realistic? How often will you need to analyze progress?

Relevant: Are your goals relevant to the products or services you offer? Why are these goals important?

Time-frame: What is the time-frame for achieving your goals?

Using a tool such as this will help you to determine the area of focus you would like to see growth within your company.

Finding KPI’s That Work For You

The categories of KPI’s are vast. There is literally an indicator for every category you can think of that pertains to your business.

For example, a small construction company may want to measure their marketing and social media KPIs to evaluate which advertising methods reach the highest number of people within their demographic. Or perhaps a software company, to increase diversity, may employ a Human Resources KPI to measure the male to female employee ratio. In both, examples of KPIs are being used to fine tune and identify areas where resources are being misused or where full potential is not being met.

Here are some examples of the types of KPI’s you can utilize:

  • Client satisfaction rating
  • Number of new cases/matters you opened in the last full month
  • Number of cases/matters you closed in the last full month
  • Number of potential new clients (PNCs) who showed up for those consults
  • Number of marketing actions have you took in the last full month

Inside And Out

Growing your company is more than just copying the industry norms, it is knowing your company inside and out, so each KPI can be tailored to strengthen specific company-wide weak spots. Reestablishing goals and criteria to better meet the needs of your company may be overwhelming at first, but worth it once your company begins pulling ahead of competition and growing like never before!

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Tech Apps That Are All-In-One

Zoho One is here to be your one-stop shop for all your business needs. Whether you are a full-time salesman or a small business owner, Zoho One is here to make your life easier, and your business run smoother.  Utilizing more than 40 applications from categories that span all areas of business, you can rest easy knowing Zoho has your back.

CRM

The heart of Zoho One lies in its CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system.  This simple yet powerful tool helps businesses to keep track of all the potential clients they meet and help categorize them into marketable groups.  Imagine your phone contact list, but on steroids.  The CRM system keeps track of all communication you have had with that client.  When utilized properly, this system will become a key pillar of your business.

Motivator

other great app within Zoho One is called Motivator.  Just like how it sounds, motivator functions as a great way to motivate your sales team and keep track of all the necessary information involved in a sale.  It even functions as a hub for business games, which executives in a company can use to create contests to inspire their employees to sell more.

Productivity

When it’s time to take a break from sales, Zoho One is here to keep your productivity high. Utilizing apps such as Writer, Sheet, and Show, users can create presentations and documents to work on together.  The simple design of these programs makes them easy to navigate for anyone who has utilized any of Microsoft Office Suites in recent years.

Payments

When accounting and managing money is needed, Zoho One has you covered.  Applications like Subscriptions and Checkout are helpful when you need to process payments online.  And if your business is responsible for shipping goods to consumers, then Inventory will be your centralized hub for keeping track of what is in stock and what needs to be ordered.

Collaborate

And sometimes, all you need for your business to succeed is a little help from your friends (or co-workers).  Zoho One makes it as easy to collaborate with your team and keep everyone on track.  The application, Connect, functions as a private social network for sharing and discussing team projects.  Whether your team is sitting one cubicle down from you, or halfway across the country, you can stay in sync with his crafty app.

Communications

Businesses in today’s day and age don’t succeed often without successful marketing campaigns.  The importance of this area of business can’t be overstated.  The prevalence of social media today means most people can always be reached, whether that is through Facebook, Twitter, text messaging or any of the other popular forms of communication. Zoho One helps business keep in touch with their customers by offering two different communication applications.  Mail is an ad-free email that can be linked to your business while Cliq is an informal way of messaging that is perfect for business communication between team members.

The List Goes On!

As you can see, Zoho One has A LOT to offer!  This is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of applications that can be made available for you and your business.  Zoho truly is your ‘one stop shop’ of applications to simplify your business.

 

Back Office Betties FAQ’s

Knowing when to ask for help can be one of the hardest things to do for many people.  Mainly because that aren’t sure where to start!  A great place to launch outsourcing for help is by letting someone else handle your calls.

Being in the law industry, days can feel long and things can get crammed. Sometimes, it’s hard to believe that you only get 24 hours in a day, because you have been at work for more than half of that.  If you find this statement resonates with you, then I think its time we had a chat.  Our goal here at Back Office Betties is to free up time for you by taking some of your work off your plate. Phone rings while in a meeting with a client?  Let it ring, we got you covered.   Double booked yourself on accident because your schedule is unorganized? Relax, knowing you have our scheduling experts willing and able to manage your calendar for you.  We are here to be your personal receptionist, no matter where you are.

To help you understand a little bit more about us as well as some of the ways we work to help you, see some of our most frequently asked questions below.

How much is this going to cost me?

The first question is how much is it going to cost me to utilize the virtual receptionist services of Back Office Betties?  Pricing varies depending on usage, but most customers can expect to pay around $450 to $550 per month.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2017 the average salary of a receptionist is $27,360 per year or broken down to $14.25 per hour. To compare side by side, having a full-time receptionist for only 8 hours a day would equate to $2,280 per month, not including the various full-time benefits that cost money for your business.

The added benefits that you gain from Back Office Betties include that we answer phones from 6am to 5pm, and don’t worry, we won’t ask for a lunch break.  We also will not charge you for calls that are 15 seconds or less.

 

Why is the difference between you and an answering service?

The second question we are asked frequently is how Back Office Betties is different than a traditional answering service.  The simple answer to this question is volume and training. Typical answering services are taking calls from many different industries and can sometimes be managing hundreds of accounts at once.  This leaves very little room to become personal with your customers and have any sort of knowledge about how you would like your business to be run.  Here at Back Office Betties, our representatives handle only a few accounts (no more than five) and we only answer phones for law firms.  This ensures that we are well versed enough to handle any questions that are thrown our way.

Are we bilingual?

The last common question we receive is do we offer bilingual reception services?  We are happy to say that we have a team of bilingual Spanish speaking virtual receptionists.  This ensures that language is never a barrier for your clients receiving help from your law firm.

 

 

Need more information?

These are just a few answers to some of our most common questions.  There are so many more reasons to love Back Office Betties!  We provide the best and highest quality customer service to our clients and their customers.  Contact us for more information or visit us at Back Office Betties!

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