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What Will 2019 Bring?

It’s that time of year again to start planning your New Year’s resolutions – what will 2019 bring? Whether it be to eat healthier, become more active, save money, or read more; we all have things we wish to improve upon. If you participate or not, setting resolutions is a fascinating part of American culture that has been a tradition traced all the way back to the ancient Babylonians over 4,000 years ago. That’s not the only fun fact about new year’s traditions!  The worldwide celebration of the new year is jam packed with some of the funniest, silliest, and downright craziest facts, traditions, and superstitions. Below we have listed some of our favorites:

Funny Facts

  • On average, 360 million bottles of champagne are consumed in the United States on New Year’s Eve
  • Ironically, the second most common new year’s resolution is to drink less.
  • 50% of Americans set resolutions, and by month four over 80% will have been unsuccessful.
  • More cars are stolen on New Year’s Day on average, than any other day of the year
  • Eating black-eyed peas, ham or cabbage on New Year’s Day are thought to bring prosperity while lobster and chicken are thought to bring bad fortune.
  • In Italy, people wear red underwear on New Year’s Day as a symbol of good luck for the upcoming year.
  • The New Year’s Eve ball was introduced on November 11, 2008
  • Samoa and parts of Kiribati are the first places to welcome the New Year while American Samoa and Baker Island in the United States, are among the last.
  • Mexicans celebrate New Year’s Eve, by eating a grape with each of the twelve chimes of a clock’s bell during the midnight countdown, while making a wish with each one.
  • Tradition says that the more leafy greens a person eats on New Year’s Day, the more prosperity that is to come for them.

So, this New Year’s Eve/Day when you are spending time with family and friends, remember to eat those leafy greens, black eyed peas, cabbage, and ham…. And maybe park your car in safe place with the doors locked. But seriously…all jokes aside…remember to enjoy your time spent around the ones you love!  Celebrate the passage of another year and welcome whatever is in store for you in 2019!

Integrations That Work

If your firm hasn’t explored these integrations and feel they spend a lot of time with administrative tasks, its time to start making some changes. However, knowing the right integrations to use can be difficult, especially when there are so many different software programs out there.  To help you learn more about legal integrations, below is the list of a few that we use and how they are helpful:

 

  • Clio Grow: We have talked a lot about Clio Grow in past blogs because of its versatility. This integration allows us to add new leads and take notes on calls in your “Clio Grow Inbox.”
  • Acuity: A great scheduling tool for Outlook and Google calendar. This user- friendly software has turned scheduling, taking payments, and completing customized legal intake forms into a simple and easy process.
  • Appointment Core: A scheduling tool that integrates with InfusionSoft. This software allows our receptionists to easily schedule client appointments through booking links.

It Makes Life Easier

Integrations are here to help and make life easier, so if you haven’t hopped on the bandwagon yet, you are only making administrative tasks more difficult on yourself and your employees. We have adopted many integrations to make scheduling, billing, and payments seamless, so that we can provide the best services possible!  All of the integrations we use are on our website, where you can read a more in-depth description of their functions.

 

5 Things I Learned From Verne

Recently, I had the pleasure of attending a Verne Harnish talk. Verne Harnish is the Founder of the global business network Entrepreneur’s Organization. He is the Venture Columnist for Fortune Magazine, and he’s the author of the bestseller Mastering the Rockefeller Habits. His latest book Scaling Up has also been very successful winning seven major international book awards including the prestigious 2015 International Book Award for Best General Business book.  And these are just a few of his many major accomplishments! Verne has spent the last 30 years using his expertise to help companies improve.

What I Learned

Attending this talk had me asking myself some important questions that I believe all businesses should be asking themselves if they are looking to ‘scale up’.  Here are 5 things that I learned:

  1. Honestly ask yourself where you get your energy. These are the tasks you should focus on and delegate or automate the rest.
  2. Start thinking about Artificial Intelligence (AI). It is here to stay and companies already using AI today will be the ones to stand out tomorrow. Think about various aspects of your business. What are some ways you predict AI will save you time and/or money?
  3. What 25 relationships do you need to achieve your business goals? Write down names and go seek those relationships and nurture them regularly.
  4. Every business should have a guarantee. Exadata’s great example is 5x faster than IBM or we give you $10,000,000. Domino’s is 30 minutes or it’s free. What can you guarantee your clients?
  5. Are you familiar with the 7/70 Rule? Go after 7% of a market segment and then dominate 70% of that market. For example, Ikea is only 6% of the furniture market but owns over 70% of the ready to assemble niche. Start researching how you can get your business there.

Looking at the bigger picture in this way will help you rearrange your business’ goals so that you are not just planning to improve or expand, but also analyzing how you can be ahead of competition and dominate your industry.

Book Bundle

In addition to Harnish’s own publishing’s, he recommends a Book Bundle List to encompass all aspects of your business.  These recommendations are his top book pics that will help you take your business to the next level!

  • Relationship Marketing by Regis McKenna
  • Am I Being Too Subtle by Sam Zell
  • The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki
  • Teeming by Tamsin Woolley-Barker
  • Outrageous Empowerment by Ron Lovett
  • Uncommon Service by Frances Frei
  • The Goal by Eliyahu Goldratt
  • The Customer-Funded Business by John Mullins

Don’t be afraid to have bold goals and big dreams! With the right steps and planning, anything is possible for you and your business!

Emily @ Back Office Betties

 

Showing Appreciation

Showing your employees that you appreciate them should not just be an item on the agenda but a top priority. Recognizing your employees is crucial because they work hard for you every day.  It can also be beneficial for you, increasing workplace morale thus an increase in productivity.

In addition, it builds a loyal team that feels confident to take on more difficult and daunting tasks. Plus, its easy. Showing appreciation to your team doesn’t have to be a big, expensive production. For Example, Back Office Betties appreciates our employees by:

  • Offering a $15 an hour minimum wage.
  • Creating “Flow Time” for our team to unplug and relax by listening to music and taking time out to recharge.
  • Providing a beautiful office fund every year so employees can buy something for their desk, office, etc. (making it their ‘space’).

Get Creative!

However, there is a ton of different ways to show your employees you care about them – be creative! Here are a few ideas that you can explore implementing into your business:

  • Ask for employee feedback by offering a survey. This will tell them that their voice matters and that they are being heard. It also shows them that you as a leader want to meet their needs and provide the best work environment as possible.  
  • Allow them to take extra breaks or longer lunches.
  • Organize a team service project for an organization of your employees’ choice. This is a great way to not only give back to your employees but give back to the community!
  • Simply tell your employees how grateful you are for their hard work in person or through a handwritten letter/card.

These are just a few of so many easy and creative ways to show your employees that you care about them. Never shy away from opportunities to show employee appreciation, you will find that it is very rewarding for them to hear!  Even more so, it’s gratifying for you too!

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!

Legal Intake Forms: Why You Should Use Them

Do you currently use intake forms when answering new client calls? If not, you need to severely rethink your client intake! Using a detailed standardized intake form will streamline the process and ensure that important details have not been overlooked. If completing intake forms has not been working for you, perhaps your forms need a facelift. Here are some suggestions of what a great intake form includes:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Contact information
  • Details of the legal issue (some firms put a checklist here)
  • History of prior legal matters
  • Other firms they have worked with
  • And any other information they feel is relevant to the matter

If the form is too basic, or if it does not apply, then surely it won’t be helpful. Sometimes it is helpful to create different intake forms for specific needs or areas within your firm. Some firms choose to simplify things even more by doing their intake forms online through Clio.

Intake Forms Are Versatile

Offering intake forms are useful for areas other than just streamlining the intake process. They can be used as:

  1. A screening tool. If a prospective client is unwilling or hesitant to provide certain information, it could be a sign of problems to come.
  2. Documentation. Intake forms are a great place to document that you have discussed the fee arrangement with your prospective client and that they have agreed to the terms you set forth. This ensures right from the beginning that the prospective client can afford your services.
  3. A risk management tool. Having clients sign that the information on the intake form is correct can save you in the future if something is incorrect or inaccurate.
  4. Identify future needs. They can help you identify if a potential client needs any additional legal services that you may be able to help with in the future.

Intake Forms Are Useful

As you can see, intake forms are infinitely useful and can be implemented in any firm. Remember, they’re not just a tool to make life better for you- your prospective clients will also love them because they offer an easier, neater, and more streamlined process for them too! When your client is going through [sometimes] long, expensive, and messy legal matters, they will recognize and appreciate every effort made by you to simplify their case.

If you have yet to implement intake forms in your firm, what’s stopping you?

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.

 

Time For A Virtual Receptionist?

Answering phones is an element of business that is essential to engage with clients. Whether they are new customers calling with questions about a product, or an existing one calling with issues that need to be reconciled; the key is both groups are funneled through the phones.  As a business owner who is juggling a million tasks throughout the day, answering phones may not be a top priority.

Virtual Receptionists

Virtual receptionists can answer the phones for your business as well as to conduct tasks such as scheduling and directing calls.  To analyze what people look for most when calling an establishment, Clutch Marketing conducted a study of 468 callers who called an organization with questions.  They found that the most important characteristic of callers was the ability to converse with a human representative.

The second most important finding in this study related to the process of transferring calls. 34% of callers that were transferred from the initial point of contact felt they were talking to a call center.  This is an important finding… only 44% of callers said that their receptionist helped their situation when speaking with a call center.  Conversely, 76% of callers who did not have the perception they were speaking to a call center reported that they were helped by the time their call ended.

There are many companies out there that specialize in an area of business known as Business Process Outsourcing.  This is the area of business where virtual receptionists can be categorized in.  Virtual receptionists usually have smaller teams that focus on one specific client, learning that specific business inside and out.  This enables them to answer some of the complicated questions that get thrown at them by callers rather than simply just transferring the call or taking a message.

Attributes

Looking for the right fit for your business can seem daunting.  Here are some of the best qualities to look for in a virtual receptionist:

  • Positive
  • Intelligent
  • Organized
  • Empathy
  • Takes Initiative

In a nutshell, you want to find someone that is going to treat your clients well.  In addition, be able to elevate your quality of customer service.

Free Up Your Time & Save Money

If you are having a tough time keeping up with your business every week, then it is time to start considering a virtual receptionist. Not only will they help free up your day, but they are also significantly less expensive than hiring your own full-time receptionist for your business.  If you are on the fence and need more information on possible ways to incorporate a virtual receptionist into your business, tune in to Back Office Betties Video Blog on Monday, June 18th?  Our topic of conversation: what is the best fit for you when it comes to finding a virtual receptionist.

 

Back Office Betties