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Maximize Firm Productivity with Case Steps

posted by: Christen Gause date: Dec 11, 2015 Customizing Your Case Management System to Improve Efficiency, How To, Money and time saving tips comments: Comments Off on Maximize Firm Productivity with Case Steps
Maximize Firm Productivity with Case Steps[1]

I hope everyone enjoyed reading about email templates, why you should use them, the benefits of using them, what types of emails can be turned into templates, and quick glance at how they look. For my next installment on Customizing Your Case Management System to Improve Efficiency we are going to dive into case steps/reminders (commonly called case steps) and also known as work flows.

If you learn anything from reading my blogs on how to improve efficiency this is the blog where I want you to sit back and really digest what I am going to tell you. Of all the things you can do with INSZoom’s Knowledge Base, this one is the most powerful.

By using case steps you enable your firm to:

  • Create case steps that mirror your internal processes and how you process cases
  • Capture key dates (case initiated/documents received/application filed/application approved, etc.…)
  • Ensure accountability within your team as you capture key dates when case steps are marked as completed
  • Ensure that all team members are processing cases the same way
  • Report on case steps and case status
  • Provide case status to the foreign national, HR and Global Mobility through the portals (foreign national and corporation)
  • Add “events”
  • Add reminders
  • Add court dates
  • Provide quick email updates on each case step
  • Start a case timer


When case steps are created in the Knowledge Base you can add an “event”. An event in INSZoom is an action that occurs automatically. You can choose when the event will occur. For example: it can occur when a case step is deleted, when a case step is changed to completed, when a case step is changed to not started, and when the case step is changed to a work in progress.

Once you decide to add an event and when the event will occur you will then need to choose what you want the event to do. Do you want to send an email, update a custom case status or update data? An email event is a robust tool that can be used to optimize efficiency so we will continue our discussion focusing on them. After you choose to send an email then you must choose to do it in background mode (where it goes out without you seeing it) or in interface mode (where it pops up and you see the email).

The email event can be set up so that when it is activated the email can be set up in its’ entirety and the user will have very little to do other than click “send”.

Items that can be added to an email event so they automatically occur are:

  • Who the email is addressed to. This can be the foreign national, HR, Global Mobility, Case Manager, Vendor, Supervisor, etc. You can even choose if they will be in the “To, Cc, and Bcc fields”.
  • You can create the subject line using keywords.
  • You can pull an email template from one already created in your Knowledge Base.
  • You can choose who will have access to the email in the portals (foreign national & corporation portals).
  • You can choose if the client can upload documents
  • You can add email case receipts
  • You can add questionnaires for the client and/or relative
  • You can link forms for the client and/or relative
  • You can link a docs check list


When you review all of the above options just imagine the intro email that you can create to your clients by simply marking a case step as completed. You mark the case step complete, the email pops up, it is addressed to your clients with the “To” field, subject line, and body of the email completed using keywords, with the questionnaire and docs check list that you need attached. All with the click of a button! It’s a beautiful thing!

If you want to greatly improve the efficiency and accountability of your team, capture key dates, and be able to properly report on case status; then case steps are the one thing you must master within INSZoom. You will no longer need to link questionnaires, forms, and docs check lists to emails.

Take the time to create well thought out and effective case steps and you will see a return on your investment in no time. A new case can be opened and initiated with your client in a matter of minutes. Your clients will think you are amazing at how fast you accept new cases and reach out to the foreign nationals.

Here is a quick glance at how case steps/reminders appear in the Knowledge Base

Picture1 (Click image to enlarge)

This is how the above case steps/reminders appear when you open the case.

Picture2 (Click image to enlarge)

If you would like more information on creating case steps 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 11, 2015 comments:  Comments Off on Maximize Firm Productivity with Case Steps
by:  Christen Gause category:  Customizing Your Case Management System to Improve Efficiency, How To, Money and time saving tips Read More

Customizing Your INSZoom Case Management System to Improve Efficiency

posted by: Christen Gause date: Dec 02, 2015 Customizing Your Case Management System to Improve Efficiency, How To, Money and time saving tips comments: Comments Off on Customizing Your INSZoom Case Management System to Improve Efficiency
  Efficiency
Are you new to INSZoom or have you been using the system for a while but have not really taken the necessary steps to fully utilize the system? INSZoom is a powerful case management system that when fully utilized can help you to streamline processes, improve efficiency, remove the chance of errors and ensure accountability. This might seem like a tall order but it is possible if the right steps are taken. So, how does when get started with accomplishing so much? You break it into steps and work through each process also known as project management!

Here are the steps that need to be taken to customize INSZoom to meet your firm needs and see a return on your investment (ROI). This is a big project but it is worth the time and effort. THis is the first blog post in our series called Customizing Your Case Management System to Improve Efficiency.

  1. Create a project plan
    1. You might think that you should jump in head first without a project plan. You want to get started, you know what customizations you want to make and you don’t want to waste time on a proper project plan. DO NOT DO THIS! You need to decide what the goal is, what you want to accomplish, who is going to do the work and the time frame that you want to get it done in. If you jump in without planning I am guarantee you that you will end up with a lot of rework which a waste of time and money.
  2. Have a meeting with all stakeholders
    1. I have seen a lot of firms who find their best project manager to manage a project and they appoint them to figure out how the firm can better use INSZoom. This individual might not have any knowledge with immigration but is very “tech savvy” and they are told to look at INSZoom and figure out how “we can better utilize the system”. This is not helpful. If you don’t know the challenges of those doing the immigration work and how to add value to a process you are not helping. During the “kick off” meeting you need to lay out the roles and responsibilities for the project, develop a scope statement that clearly lays out the business need, the problem, the objectives, the benefits of completing the project, and key milestones.
  3. Understand the process that you are trying to improve or replicate
    1. If you are not a case manager, paralegal, attorney or someone who knows the immigration processes well you need to sit next to someone who does and watch them work. See what steps they are taking, see what they are doing and pay special attentions to the steps they are doing repetitively. It might take a few days of observing to see an entire process; immigration matters are not completed in a day.
  4. Decide what steps and/or processes you want to complete using INSZoom
    1. The goal would be to have all steps and processes being completed in INSZoom. Analyze the process from start to finish.
      • case initiation received from client,
      • add foreign national to INSZoom,
      • add dependents,
      • open cases,
      • grant access to the foreign national portal,
      • send welcome email to foreign along with the questionnaire and docs check list,
      • receive data back from foreign national via questionnaire and docs uploaded through the foreign national portal,
      • mark off case steps as completed,
      • populate immigration forms,
      • send forms to foreign national to be signed,
      • submit application to government authorities,
      • case approved – change case to approved or closed and track the expiration date.
  5. Customize the knowledge base
    1. After you determine what steps and processes you want in INSZoom you need to decide what sections of the knowledge base need to be customized.
      • Creation of custom data fields for fields not available in zoom but specific to your firm or your clients.
      • Create questionnaires to capture client data.
      • Create email templates using keywords to easily create routine emails
      • Create letter templates using keywords for support letters.
      • Create petitions for your immigration matters
      • Add case steps & reminders (workflows) to match your immigration process and capture key milestones.
      • Add steps events to the case steps & reminders to automate your process. (This one is my favorite as it enables you to process a case my clicking a button).
      • Link the immigration forms to the petition along with the support letters.
      • Customize the foreign national portal to meet your firm’s needs and those of your clients.
  6. Document your new processes and train your staff
    1. Now that you have customized INSZoom to meet your needs you need to document your processes. Most firms would do this in the form of a training manual. Create a step by step training manual that can be used to teach your current team members how you are going to utilize INSZoom going forward. I suggest a training for each team member and ensure they understand the process going forward. Everyone needs to process cases the same way so that the data captured is accurate and uniform. If your firm will be running reports and providing information to clients you must ensure uniformity and accountability in data collection. Training manuals are invaluable tools that a lot of firms don’t have but should. When a new person is hired a training manual can be used as a reference guide as they learn how to process immigration cases the way your firm requires. This is, after all, what makes you unique from your competitors!
Customizing INSZoom and capturing your firms’ processes will go a long way in taking your firm to the next level. Your firm will be uniform in how you communicate with clients which allows you to set expectations. Clients will learn what to expect with each step of the process. Your team and firm will appear very tech savvy and professional in its delivery of immigration services. The best part is that you will see a return on your investment! Your employees will no longer be doing repetitive tasks, making silly mistakes when copying and pasting email and letter templates, and doing manual data entry. You will be able to process more immigration cases with less overhead which means more profit in your wallet!

This blog is the first in a series of blogs on how to fully utilize INSZoom to improve efficiency. Be sure to watch this space for more blogs on how to:
  • Creation of custom data fields for fields not available in zoom but specific to your firm or your clients.
  • Create questionnaires to capture client data.
  • Create email templates using keywords to easily create routine emails
  • Create letter templates using keywords for support letters.
  • Create petitions for your immigration matters
  • Add case steps & reminders (workflows) to match your immigration process and capture key milestones.
  • Add steps events to the case steps & reminders to automate your process. (This one is my favorite as it enables you to process a case my clicking a button).
  • Link the immigration forms to the petition along with the support letters.
  • Customize the foreign national portal to meet your firm’s needs and those of your clients.
Till next time, Christen Gause

   
date:  Dec 02, 2015 comments:  Comments Off on Customizing Your INSZoom Case Management System to Improve Efficiency
by:  Christen Gause category:  Customizing Your Case Management System to Improve Efficiency, How To, Money and time saving tips Read More

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
Email-Image

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.  

Pic 1  
This is an example how what an email template looks like once generated.  

pic 2  

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