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The Importance of Ongoing Training for a Successful Team

Betties Legal Academy Ongoing Training

Customer service and our clients’ success are two of Back Office Betties’ biggest focuses as a business. We dedicate our time to bringing you valuable information on how to best manage your law firm, we created a company culture that attracts (and retains) only the most qualified receptionists, and we answer every one of your phone calls with a smile and expertise. In order to ensure that our employees stay happy, knowledgable, and ready to serve your firm, one of the big things that we implement is ongoing employee training.

Ongoing Employee Training Benefits

As time passes, it is likely that policies, trends, and preferences change too. By continuing training throughout your employees’ time with you, they are staying current on policy changes, procedures, and technology. In addition, ongoing training ensures that tenured employees have the same information as new hires. Investing in ongoing training for your employees boosts employee happiness, confidence, and proficiency in their position. In turn, your clients are happier because they are receiving high-quality service from a knowledgable professional.

Boosting Employee Happiness with Ongoing Training

How is it that employee happiness can be so linked with ongoing training? According to CNBC, professionals who were surveyed as “heavy learners” were more likely to be happier, less stressed, more confident, and productive at work. Light learners were 48% less likely to have found a purpose in their work. They were also 47% more likely to be stressed. Stress + lack of purpose = unhappiness.

In addition, 94% of employees say they would stay with a company longer if that company encouraged and allowed them to learn. The younger generations are driving this home with a fierce desire for continued learning. Specifically, 27% of Gen Z and Millenials would leave their job because they weren’t provided enough opportunity to enhance their knowledge and grow.

Are you giving your employees a reason to leave you by skipping over this vital responsibility as an employer?

Investing in Your Employees is Investing in Your Business

Investing in your business feels like a no-brainer. But how can empowering your employees to learn more be considered an investment? Easy! The American Society for Training and Development conducted a study that showed companies who offered comprehensive training profited greatly over other companies. Those companies benefited from 218% more income per employee and had a 24% higher profit margin than those who spend less on employee training.

According to New Horizons Learning Solutions, this is due to increased efficiency and confidence of employees who undergo continuous training. Clearly, they are doing something right!

Client Happiness Soars When Employees are Well-Trained

Reduce turnover, improve consistency, and offer high-level customer service – all are keys to retaining happy clients. Educated employees are more confident and able to help solve more problems than those who are iffy on their company’s policies and procedures. Employees who go through ongoing training are more consistent and follow through on the company’s policies because they remember what they are. In addition, clients like to have stability in who they communicate within your company. Turnover reduces their feelings of trust. Working with a familiar face enhances that trust. When you take all of this into account, it amounts to high-level service that keeps the client and keeps them happy.

Have you ever had an experience with an employee at a place of business who clearly had no idea what they were doing? How did it make you feel? Did you trust them? Did you enjoy doing business with that company? Probably not. You likely wrote them off as incompetent and moved on, right? Avoid that by continuing to train your employees, even after tenure.

Implementing a Training Program

Ready to create an ongoing training program? Start by documenting every step and process in a central place that employees have access to. We love to use Trainual for our initial employee training and refresher courses. It’s user-friendly and allows you to track employee progress, as well as quiz them on the materials they learned. Trainual also alerts employees when a training has been updated! This allows for seamless ongoing training and ensures your team is always up to date on the latest policies and procedures.

When implementing training that exceeds what your company teaches as far as policy and procedure, it’s important to source courses from reputable sources in your field. Take the course yourself before offering it to your team; you don’t want them to be wasting time on a course that turns out to be invaluable or has wrong information. This is also a great way to continue your own learning! Nobody benefits from not learning. Once you have reputable courses and learnings, be sure to offer ample work time for your employees to take them. Set an expectation of how many hours should be spent learning each week so that your team feels comfortable doing so. You don’t want them to feel pressured to learn off the clock! This could lead to resentment or even just blowing it off entirely.

Another great way to ensure learning within your company is to ask for volunteers to share tips and teachings regularly. As they learn, they can share their notes with the team through email, ensuring everyone is up to speed. At Betties, we do this within our team meetings. Everyone shares something they learned that week, as it pertains to their position in the company. This also allows other team members to understand parts of the company that they may not be directly involved in.

Back Office Betties Legal Academy

As you can tell, we love to train our team to ensure the best customer service. This all starts with Back Office Betties Legal Academy! Every new receptionist goes through a two-week program where they dive into legal terminology and process training. We cover the basics of each type of law that our clients practice, as well as the case types within those practice areas. Our receptionists are guided through the training (using Trainual) and are quizzed along the way. Everyone has to pass every part of the training before becoming a true Bettie and getting on the phones with callers, even if this takes a little bit longer than we hoped.

After onboarding training, our receptionists are updated daily on notes from our clients, updates to case types that a client may handle, and feedback on the way that they’ve handled past calls. This ensures that every single receptionist is constantly improving and striving to do their best. We always keep this fun and light with jokes and memes, as well as our favorite Gifs ;) Who doesn’t want to learn when it’s fun? Our culture stays positive because everyone is striving to improve together and we have fun doing it!

In addition to general process trainings, every receptionist goes through training on the call handling process of each individual client. After our clients determine their ideal call flow with our Client Concierge, a training course is sent out to every receptionist who may serve that firm. Getting these calls right is vital so training on them is very important!

Encourage Personal Development Outside of the Company

Of course, part of ongoing training goes outside of the lines of process training. To give our team real motivation to continue bettering themselves, we encourage one hour of paid personal development each week. This can be through taking a webinar, reading a book, or taking a course. We also offer an annual budget for each team member that goes towards any course or seminar they wish to take!

Your team is a family and it’s important for them to be their best selves. They’re not robots and should be allowed the time to develop in any area they feel necessary. As team members learn more, they share more, and the entire team becomes more knowledgable and proficient. Encourage your employees to learn outside of their direct role and they only become more valuable to the team as a whole.

What are your thoughts on ongoing training? Does your company practice this kind of development? Let us know in the comments or take the conversation over to Facebook.

How to Have a Stress-Free Holiday Season Without Losing Business

Stress Free Holiday Season

The holidays are a joyous time to spend with your family. Whether that means intimate time with only your immediate family or an elaborate gathering of the entire extended crew, you want to be present and enjoy yourself, right? As an in-demand attorney with cases that don’t wait and callers who don’t quit, it may be hard to get that time away that you (and your family) crave. So what do you do?

Automate Everything in Your Law Firm That You Can

The key to being able to step away from your firm when you need a well-deserved break is automation! When I say automate your law firm, I don’t mean that you need to have a robot set up to push buttons and auto-reply emails. Automation is simply having a system in place that allows you to not have to continuously do the work. This can mean robots, or it can also be a system that triggers humans to act on a task.

What Can I Automate in My Firm During the Holidays?

The answer to this one is easy! Any and everything. Whether it’s having your emails answered, your phones picked up, appointments scheduled, forms filled out, the office cleaned, payments processed…set it and forget it. At least, until the holidays are over and your family is ready to send you back to the office!

Automation doesn’t have to stop with the holidays, however. So many tools are meant for long term use and can help you to save time and make more money all year round. If your family wants to see more of you all year, make it possible by investing in systems that allow you to focus on the work that only you can do. Support work doesn’t have to be your job, too.

Our Favorite Tools to Automate Your Law Firm


The following list is not a complete list of what’s available to you when looking to automate your law firm, but it is definitely a great start. We chose some of our favorite ways to help you relax a little more and get some quality time in with the family. So long to being glued to your desk during the holidays – unless that’s where you prefer to be!

Robot at computer

Client Facing Tools

Clio Grow – Your very first step to automation is going to be investing in a software that handles your clients and their information. Starting out with a CRM like Clio Grow will set you up on a path to success (and a whole lot less paper shuffling). CRMs such as this one manage your clients from intake to court. This allows for a one-time setup of tasks and required paperwork, then every new piece of information will trigger the next step. The steps can function on their own with templates or you can assign certain parts to different members of your team, such as the initial phone conversation.

The biggest benefit to an automated system such as Clio Grow is that you can automate all of your client forms. Need them to fill out an intake form? Clio Grow will send them their customized form at the click of the button, then trigger the next actions after they return it. Fee agreements? Clio Grow starts with a template and inputs all of the required information based on case type and client intake forms, then will send it out on your behalf. Once signed, the client can send it back and trigger the next step in your process.

Zendesk or Freshdesk- Communication is an important part of your clients’ experience. You want them to know you understand their problem and you are working to fix it. Clearly going dark over the holidays isn’t going to work – your clients may riot. Instead, manage all communications in a platform such as Zendesk or Freshdesk that allows all emails, social media, and chat to be located in the same place. You can set up templates that reply to specific questions and automatically assign specific inquiries and communications to other team members.

Scheduling Tools

Acuity – Scheduling can be a nightmare with lots of back and forth emails trying to match up your availability to your clients’. Remove all of that with Acuity and in turn, gain some freedom. You can adjust your availability 24/7 and only show your clients the calendars you want them to see. Acuity also helps with client intake as you can set specific questions they must answer at booking – no follow-up call needed. Acuity will also automatically add your scheduled client’s appointment to all of your calendars and will allow them to pay any fees right then and there.

Social Media Tools

Facebook Publishing Tools – If you regularly post on social media to keep client traffic up, schedule all of your posts! This is an amazing way to free up time ALL of the time, not just over the holidays. When you sit down and create a calendar of content to post (which you should be doing for ultimate productivity), add on half an hour or delegate an assistant to schedule them. Yet another set it and forget it – and an easy one at that!

Postfity – Along the same lines as Facebook scheduling, Postfity is a tool that allows you to schedule LinkedIn posts. It’s free and easy to use – link your account and schedule out your next few weeks’ worth of content. While Postfity does not work to post articles, you can write and draft all of your upcoming articles in LinkedIn, then hit publish when you’re ready. LinkedIn is a hot marketing tool for professionals so if you’re not using it yet, be sure to start!

Do It All Tools (Plus Easy Setup)

Back Office Betties – You already know we have to toot our own horn here – we are the ultimate vacation tool. There are no contracts so you are free to utilize us as you please, even if that means just for the holidays. Our Client Concierge walks you through a seamless process that keeps you free to enjoy your yams and pecan pie. We’re known for answering the phones, sure, but did you know that we also offer Virtual Assistant services and scheduling? Think of the Betties as your team that can be there, even when your firm is closed. Every message will be waiting for you, appointments scheduled, and intakes done. We can even accept payments and make case update calls to your clients. Step in and out of your firm like you own the place. Hint: you do ;)!

Unsure if Back Office Betties can really take that much off your plate? Give us a try for 7 days – FREE. No gimmick, no credit cards. Just allow us the pleasure of helping you help your clients, even if it’s while you sit on your couch.

 

When Should You be Outsourcing?

When should you be outsourcing?

A small business owner cannot do it all. Whether you have employees on staff or not, outsourcing is an eventual must. But how do you know when it’s time, or even what you should be outsourcing?

If you are feeling that you are not able to focus on daily tasks within the scope of your profession – it’s time. If there are certain tasks you absolutely dread or that interrupt your day many times – it’s time. If your staff is spending too much time doing busy work or answering phones – it’s time.

What should I be outsourcing?

Anything that can be done on a computer or phone can be outsourced. The real question is: What is your current biggest time-suck? Look at where most of your time is going – do you have to be the one doing that? Is it worth paying an employee to do it? Or would you prefer to outsource at a lower cost?

Outsourcing incoming calls has increased in popularity for small business owners. The key for growth is cutting costs in some areas, to redistribute them to other extents. Thus, causing more revenue to your business.  According to The Staffing Stream, successful small business owners that outsource discovered that they can save 50% on their budget overall.  They also found that they did not lose any quality on the work. Which brings up a good question, am I actually posting this right now? Or did I just outsource my social media presence?

Benefits of outsourcing

One benefit to outsourcing is having fewer employees to manage yourself. You do not have to deal with finding coverage for sick days and planned time off. Having an outsourcing partner ensures you will always have a team of ready and capable workers.

Outsourcing also increases productivity, going hand in hand with more work being done for a lesser cost.

Do some introspecting

Are you getting caught up in taking calls, checking messages, and scheduling? These are all distractions that prevent you from performing your job efficiently. Challenge yourself and take the time this week to evaluate your daily phone operations. Add up the minutes and enlighten yourself about how much time you could be saving throughout the week and further investing in your business.

If you realize you need help in this department, let us know! We will give you a free 7 day trial so you can feel the benefits before committing.

5 Ways to Shave Off One Working Hour Each Day

What could you do with an extra hour in your work day? Would you cut your day short to spend more time with your family? Would you be able to take on extra cases? How about start working on that new venture you’ve been thinking about? We’ve compiled a list of 5 simple ways to shave off one working hour each day.

Save Time in Your Day

  1. Batch your tasks.

    The first tip on the list is one of our favorites. If you are not familiar with batching your tasks, this means to sit down and block out certain chunks of times for similar tasks. Say you need to return client messages: Block out 2 hours to do so and get them all out of the way for the week so that you can move on and cross this off your to-do list. When we switch between tasks repeatedly, our productivity levels go down and we waste time on getting refocused. Batching tasks is a fabulous solution!

  2. Eliminate distractions.

    If you are ready to sit down and batch your tasks, it is important to use your time wisely without getting distracted. Turn your phone over so your notifications don’t grab your attention, lock your office door so nobody interrupts you, and stay off of social media. This goes back to bouncing between tasks; stay focused to save time!

  3. Plan your day in advance.

    You may never be able to predict an urgency that pops up, but you can do your best to plan your day in advance. Sit down and block out time slots for certain tasks, take account of important appointments, and have a strong overview of the day ahead. Try not to stray, as this really affects your productivity and can quickly add time to your work day.

  4. Hire an answering service.

    Phone calls are a total time-suck. If you try and do other things while on the call, your client will notice they do not have your full attention. If you try to take every single call, your day can float right on by you and you find yourself still at the office at 9 pm because your work isn’t finished. Hiring an answering service gets your calls answered and important messages delivered to you, without the need for you to talk to every single caller. Hello, time freedom!

  5. Schedule some R&R.

    This may seem counterintuitive, but a brain that is always go go go will never be as productive as the brain that has space to decompress. Be sure to schedule some time to do something you enjoy in order to have yourself in your best state of mind. Rest and relaxation will keep you functioning at your highest levels and save you time in your overall productivity.

Implement These Time-Saving Tips

Which of these tips will you take on first? Start with at least one today and see just how much time you can save!

If you’d like to gain some insight on the time freedom that comes with delegating your phone calls to an outside party, sign up for a free 7 day trial with Back Office Betties today.

Knowing When To Take A Break

Staying on task and productivity is never-ending within our jobs.  Day in and day out, we must work towards our production goals and meet deadlines.  It requires constant efforts to keep our minds operating at a high level.  Sometimes we plan to go to bed early or eat a good balanced breakfast to jump-start our focus in the morning.  But how do we keep our mental focus throughout the day?  Unlike machines, our brains require constant mental breaks to keep our focus at an ideal level.

Pomodoro Breaks

An effective method that works incredibly well is the Pomodoro Technique.  Francesco Cirillo developed the Pomodoro Technique in the late 1980s.  This technique is very simple and only requires you to have a timer.  One “Pomodoro” is characterized by 25 minutes of uninterrupted work.  A suggestion for ensuring your work is uninterrupted is turning off your phone and putting your computer into airplane mode (if you can) during the 25 minutes.  The key for the Pomodoro technique to work is there must be an intensive focus for the duration that the timer is on.  After the 25 minutes is up, stop wherever you are and walk away.  Set another timer for 5 minutes, and once that timer goes off its back where you left off.  This is repeated until a set is completed, which is 4 Pomodoro’s.  After completing a set, a longer break is then taken at 15-30 minutes.

Here is an example:

  • Pomodoro 1 for 25 minutes, then Break 1 for 5 minutes
  • Pomodoro 2 for 25 minutes, then Break 2 for 5 minutes
  • Pomodoro 3 for 25 minutes, then Break 3 for 5 minutes
  • Pomodoro 4 for 25 minutes, then SET 1 Complete
  • Break  for 15 to 30 minutes
  • REPEAT

The beauty of the Pomodoro Technique is that if done correctly, you are getting more work done by the end of the day even though you are taking more breaks.  Sounds kind of counter-intuitive right?  The genius is in understanding that the brain can’t maintain maximum concentration for longer than half an hour without at least a couple minutes to recuperate.

Being Strategic

While using the Pomodoro Technique is a fantastic way to get done with tasks in the short term, sometimes a different system is necessary to get yourself back into peak performance.

The Strategic Coach Entrepreneurial Time System is an effective way to manage your time at work while also giving you the mental break that you need.  This system is designed to make scheduled days in which you have Free Days, Focus Days, and Buffer Days.   You can re-organize your time to effectively produce results – which is what every entrepreneur needs!  It’s mapped out quarterly.  Here is a short breakdown:

Free Days & Rejuvenation:  Look at the total number of free days in a quarter and establish when your free days are going to be on your calendar.  Think of ways that you can increase your level of revitalization physically and mentally.

Focus Days & Productivity:  After you have scheduled your Free Days, look at the number of days needed to focus.   Think of ways to increase your overall productivity (i.e., financial results, effective communication, creative brainstorming, etc.).

Buffer Days & Preparation:  Once you have your Free and Focus Days scheduled, you will then consider Buffer Days.  This area is to increase the preparation needed for your Free and Focus Days.

For full details of the Strategic Coach Entrepreneurial Time System, click on the hyperlink.  Strategic Coach also has great content articles designed for entrepreneurs to continually grow.

Find What Works

To combat work fatigue, consider using a method that is right for you.  Create a plan in your schedule to take mental health breaks.  In the long run, taking breaks will help you to stay focused and increase your productivity.

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