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Save Time and Increase Productivity with Email Templates

posted by: Christen Gause date: Dec 02, 2015 Enterprise Immigration, How To, Immigration case management, Money and time saving tips comments: Comments Off on Save Time and Increase Productivity with Email Templates
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Welcome back and thank you for joining us for the next installment on Customizing Your Case Management System to Improve Efficiency. The next several blogs will guide you through the benefits of customizing INSZoom to meet your firm specific needs. Each blog will focus on one specific area of INSZoom and will convey why it is important to utilize that area and what benefits you will reap from taking the necessary steps.  

Email templates are my most favorite thing to use in INSZoom. They are easy to create and there seems to be no end in how they can be used. We all communicate with our clients through emails but with immigration there are many emails that get sent out to clients at certain milestones in the immigration process. I bet that if I asked for a show of hands how many people have email templates created in Word that they copy and paste into Outlook everyone would raise their hand. Firms and employees alike want to improve their own efficiency. There is always a handful of emails that get sent out to clients and nobody wants to reinvent the wheel so they copy and paste from Word to Outlook.  

What would you say if I told you I can take things to the next level? Copying and pasting from Word to Outlook might make things easier but it is not fool proof. Those emails still need to be edited, details added, and there is always the dreaded “formitis” where the last client’s details did not get deleted and you just called your current client, Martha, and she is really a he, named Andrew.  

Not yet convinced that email templates can help you improve efficiency? Here are several more reasons why you should utilize email templates.  

  • Uniformity in communicating with clients. This is an easy way to ensure your entire firm is communicating with clients in a uniform and professional manner.
  • Knowledge sharing. Building email templates in INSZoom ensures that everyone in the office can use them. Gone are the days where someone has all the knowledge on their computer and others are struggling to draft well written emails. Create email templates for all to use and if the template is updated, everyone is using the most recent version.
  • Clear communication. If you have non-native English speakers who are excellent paralegals but struggle to communicate clearly then email templates is the answer to help them feel confident in communicating.
  • No more copying and pasting from Word Documents into an email. Formatting can get messed up and the emails still need to be edited to add the Foreign Nationals details.
  • Keywords, when used in email templates, automatically populate the Foreign Nationals details into the email. With the click of a button you can draft an intro email to your client. Talk about efficient, this is the only way to go!
  • Emails are captured in INSZoom so everyone in the office has access to view the client’s history. If someone is out sick, departs, or if you need to do a root cause analysis, all of the key milestone emails are located in one place with a time and date stamp.
  • Keep clients updated when key milestones are met. In today’s world everyone wants to be informed and kept updated. This is no longer a luxury but a requirement that clients expect. Create milestone email templates that can easily be sent to your clients. This small step goes a long way in taking your firm to the next level.
  • Documents can be attached to email templates. This is one more way to save time. If you send process overviews or documents to your clients when you send an intro email, attach it to the email template. When you generate the email template the attachment will be there and there is no need to take the time to upload it.
 
As you can see, the benefits of using email templates are many. If you are now thinking “I only have 3 or 4 emails that I copy and paste from Word to Outlook so I don’t know if this is a problem for me”. What?! Take a second and think outside the box for second. What emails could you turn into email templates?  

Let me help you get warmed up with some ideas:  

  • Intro email to foreign national when starting a new immigration process – if you have 10 different services you offer to clients you will have 10 different intro emails.
  • Follow up email to foreign national reminding them to send you requested items
  • Email to HR asking for supporting documents and you will need different emails for different immigration processes
  • Email to foreign national letting them know that you have received all documents and are processing or putting their application together
  • Email to foreign national advising that their application has been filed
  • Email to foreign national that case has been approved
  • Email to your internal accounts team or billing specialist that the file is ready to be billed
  • Email to foreign national on the next steps once they enter the destination country
  • Email to foreign national when passport is about to expire and needs renewal (possible repeat business)
  • Email to foreign national when visa is about to expire
  • Email to foreign national when work permit, residence permit and work authorization is about to expire
  • Email to HR seeking approval to renew the foreign nationals immigration documents

Now that I have you in thinking mode, what other email templates could you create that would help you improve efficiency and consistency at your firm?  

Here is a quick look at how an email template looks when you create one in the knowledge base.  

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This is an example how what an email template looks like once generated.  

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Email templates are a great start to improving efficiency, improving consistency and conveying a professional message to your clients. In the next blog I will take the use of email templates to the next level and explain the importance of creating case steps/milestone (work flows) and attaching events to the case steps. An event is something that occurs when you mark off a case step as completed, like an email, which automatically gets generated when you mark off the case step.  

If you would like more information on creating email templates in the knowledge base please reach out to me, Christen Gause, for more information. I am happy to help and look forward to hearing from you.  

Christen Gause, MBA  
Manager, Business Development & Solutions | INSZoom.com, Inc. | christen.gause@inszoom.com  
Main: 925 244-0600 Ext 285

date:  Dec 02, 2015 comments:  Comments Off on Save Time and Increase Productivity with Email Templates
by:  Christen Gause category:  Enterprise Immigration, How To, Immigration case management, Money and time saving tips Read More

Cloud-based immigration software allows you to work anywhere [VIDEO]

posted by: INSZoom date: May 14, 2015 Immigration case management comments: Comments Off on Cloud-based immigration software allows you to work anywhere [VIDEO]
Attorneys can stay connected anywhere with a cloud-based case management system.

Transcript

As an attorney in a high-tech world, you need to be able to stay in touch with your clients anywhere in the world and at all times.

You can achieve this connectivity by using a cloud-based immigration case management software system. This type of program will give you access to your client information and files at any hour, no matter where you travel.

This allows you to stay up to date on developments in your clients’ cases, even while you travel for other matters. You’ll also be able to keep your clients informed, which increases overall engagement and satisfaction with your services.

Don’t use a case management program that ties you down to the office. Instead, use a system that allows you to work quickly and efficiently anywhere you choose.

Check back for more information on how INSZoom can help you manage your immigration cases.

date:  May 14, 2015 comments:  Comments Off on Cloud-based immigration software allows you to work anywhere [VIDEO]
by:  INSZoom category:  Immigration case management Read More

Make the move to digital intake forms [VIDEO]

posted by: INSZoom date: May 11, 2015 Immigration case management comments: Comments Off on Make the move to digital intake forms [VIDEO]
Attorneys and HR professionals should move away from inefficient paper client intake forms.

Transcript

Standard practice for years has included paper intake forms for new or prospective clients. However, the rise of the digital age is making your paper forms obsolete.

Instead of a piece of paper that can get pushed to the back of a filing cabinet, you should use digital client intake forms. Digital forms are stored in and easily accessed from your cloud-based immigration case management program.

Potential clients can be sent to the client portal, where they can create a login and fill in your template or customized questionnaire. Your case management platform can then be set to create reminders to check back in with these newcomers to solidify a relationship and gain new work.

Check back for more information on how INSZoom can help you manage your immigration cases.

date:  May 11, 2015 comments:  Comments Off on Make the move to digital intake forms [VIDEO]
by:  INSZoom category:  Immigration case management Read More

Stress management tips for your next H-1B season

posted by: INSZoom date: Apr 27, 2015 Compliance, Immigration case management, Money and time saving tips comments: Comments Off on Stress management tips for your next H-1B season
Use technology and start early to reduce the stress of your next H-1B season.

Was the stress of the most recent H-1B season too much to handle? If you came into work early, stayed late, felt like you had too much on your plate – or worse – if you didn't get some of your applications in on April 1, you need to better prepare to manage your stress next year. 

"Case management software is the biggest favor you can do for yourself."

Follow these tips to look forward to a more manageable H-1B season:

  • Start as early as possible. The end of any year is a great time to get organized and connect with your clients and potential hires. December may be too early to know who will need an H-1B application, but it's not too soon to start figuring it out. By the end of the January, you should have your H-1B application needs solidified.
  • Touch base with other stakeholders. You may be responsible for completing H-1B applications, but others in the company may know eligible candidates or have other information. Check in with human resources, recruiters and employees to ensure you know whose applications to move forward with.
  • Invest in necessary technology. Manually tracking numerous H-1B applications is tedious and stress-inducing. Investing in immigration case management software is the biggest favor you can do for yourself, as it allows you to set up new case files, easily gather client information, establish the most efficient workflow and track deadlines.
  • Set a clear schedule for your clients. Initial hold up can come from your clients not providing the documents you need right away. Use your CMS to set due dates and send reminders to your clients.
  • Prepare for delays. Start early and expect something to hold you back. If you submit your Labor Condition Applications and other pre-H-1B forms as early as possible, your entire schedule isn't delayed if something unexpected comes up.
  • Take stock of your work at the end of each day. Starting in January, you should check in with your H-1B applications regularly. It's best to spare 10 minutes at the end of each day to check your calendar, see what you're waiting on and what you need get going on the next day.
  • Leave work behind. It can be tempting to check your work email during the evening or bring files home, but it's best to give yourself a work-free zone. It's easiest to do this after work each day. Make yourself a nice dinner, catch up on your favorite show and get a good night's sleep.
date:  Apr 27, 2015 comments:  Comments Off on Stress management tips for your next H-1B season
by:  INSZoom category:  Compliance, Immigration case management, Money and time saving tips Read More

Are you delegating properly?

posted by: INSZoom date: Apr 21, 2015 Immigration case management, Money and time saving tips comments: Comments Off on Are you delegating properly?
Delegating allows attorneys to focus their energy on their clients.

There are few tricks to becoming a great attorney and one of them is learning to delegate. To advance in your jurisdiction and garner a stellar reputation, you must immerse yourself into your practice area – knowing not only the rule of law, but the nuances of relevant agencies and courts. Additionally, you must show your clients they come first by listening to them, advising them honestly and comforting them during difficult times.

"Without properly delegating, you may be holding yourself and your firm back."

Becoming an expert in your field and maintaining a client-focused practice isn't enough to grow your reputation and firm. These crucial activities can be harmed by spending too much time on tasks that could be performed quickly and efficiently by your staff. Without properly delegating, you may be holding yourself and your firm back.

Whether you're new to the delegating process or want to check in that you're using the practice to its most beneficial end, follow these steps:

1. Evaluate your daily workload
Before you can decide which tasks to delegate and to whom, you need to know where you're spending – and wasting – your time. If you use billable hours you may already be doing this, but track your time closely for at least week so you can measure how long you spend on various types of tasks such as researching, completing forms, drafting routine pleadings, scheduling, communicating with clients, copying and scanning paperwork and more.

Once you know how you spend your time, determine which of these tasks require a licensed attorney and which can be performed by an assistant, paralegal or clerk.

2. Consider the strengths and weaknesses of your staff
Once you've determined common tasks you perform that would be better suited for another staff member, it's time to start thinking about who is best for each job. Consider the education, training, years of experience, strengths and weaknesses of each of your staff members.

In many cases, assistants can take on administrative tasks like scheduling and scanning, experienced paralegals can draft routine pleadings and associates can perform research and draft more nuanced pleadings.

Delegating frees up time and empowers workers to do more.Delegating frees up time and empowers workers to do more.

3. Observe the workload of your staff
Take a moment to evaluate their current tasks before assigning additional work to certain people. If the best person for a job has a full plate, you may want to consider reassigning some of his or her tasks to another staff member or providing a different person additional training to take on the new assignment.

Delegating with the best of intentions can fall apart if the people assigned the tasks don't have time. Adding to an already busy schedule can decrease both productivity and employee satisfaction.

4. Establish formal office procedures
Up until now, the delegating process has relied solely on you determining which tasks can be transferred to various other people in your office. It's time to formally communicate these changes.

Meet one on one with the necessary employees or hold a staff meeting to discuss the upcoming changes. Make sure each person affected understands how his or her role will change and which new duties you've assigned.

Additionally, this is where your case management software becomes important. Use this comprehensive resource to formally assign cases and tasks to the correct person. By focusing on collaborating through the platform, you can avoid confusion or the need for meetings that waste everyone's time.

5. Check in with the process
Use your CMS to evaluate how your delegation is working. Run reports based on employees, tasks or cases to see how people are performing and cases are progressing. By doing this once per month you'll be able to make adjustments to people's workloads as you go.

By delegating, you ensure you have the time to focus on your clients and substantive legal issues. It's a continual process that you need to watch over and evaluate to ensure it benefits you, your practice and your clients.

date:  Apr 21, 2015 comments:  Comments Off on Are you delegating properly?
by:  INSZoom category:  Immigration case management, Money and time saving tips Read More
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