What if I told you that technology could relieve half of the administrative burden from your business? And that by adopting some form of digital process, you can design a business better for you and your clients.
Many serviced-based businesses report workflow bottlenecks as the biggest challenge they face day-to-day – a lack of communication, an abundance of manual processes and a focus on detail rather than strategy.
I call this ‘blind management’. When you have little to no visibility of your practice processes, how are you supposed to improve it?
One of the best solutions is workflow automation – software that simplifies and streamlines repeatable daily processes and uses automation to complete the tasks on your behalf. For many businesses, this can be a game-changer.
Use workflow automation in any area of your business that requires administrative work. To start you need to understand where and how it fits into your current client lifecycle, from lead generation to file completion and referrals. Map out your current processes, then use automation to replace time-consuming manual steps.
Here are 7 key areas I recommend implementing workflow automation to improve your business efficiencies, productivity, and profitability:
- Client intake and onboarding
Manage your intake, from your clients’ details being transferred from website enquiry forms to your management system, personalised email responses, scheduling follow-up tasks, merging client agreements as well as keeping the status of the potential client updated.
Manage the pre-bill process and collections to dramatically improve cash flow. Automated billing and payments stop collections issues before they start and increase your profitability.
- Time Management
Improve your efficiencies across the business by automatically, and accurately, capturing time on tasks. This gives the ability to identify any issues or to understand team capacity for new files or projects.
- Document creation
Rather than manually creating a document each time you need it, simply select a template, add in additional information, and produce a complete document that can be sent digitally to the client for signature and internal storage.
Avoid assigning tasks to different team members manually or via email and automate using a calendaring workflow. You can also set internal deadlines or meetings you want to schedule once a new file is opened or reaches a certain stage.
- Client communications
Manage all leads and clients from a single source, streamlining your relationship management efforts. All client conversations, billing, filing, research, or documentation related to each file are automatically saved to the relevant matter so anyone in your firm can access it regardless of location.
- Client reviews
You may find it helpful to automate this process to remind your team to ask clients for positive reviews at a pre-set stage in the job. You can request client testimonials and securely share and review related documents all in one place.
If you’re new to workflow technology, I recommend you invest in a consultant or technical advisor to help determine the best software for your practice and assist with implementation.
Here’s some that our clients have adopted in recent times and their key features:
Allows you to easily create a database that holds the information that matters, then use it to streamline how the team gets work done and cuts out clutter by automating processes.
Streamline how you engage with clients with automated billing and payment collection, as well as online proposals, scope of work documents and contracts.
Used to connect different applications in your technology stack, based on certain events occurring. If you’re using different siloed programs within your practice, this is a great option to integrate your processes and curb duplicate entry.
For instance, if you enter a new potential client in your management software, Zapier can create a task in your task management software for someone to follow up and add that contact to a specific marketing bucket within your email marketing software.
If you decide one thing today, it’s don’t let repetitive, manual, and paper-based processes slow your practice down. Embrace digital transformation, this is your key to much-needed workflow optimisation and improved practice.
This article was originally published in the Law Institute Journal, as a part of the Leaders in Practice program – a collaboration between SEIVA and the Law Institute of Victoria. Learn more about Leaders in Practice here.