When I was growing up in India, my grandfather was a farmer and his work on the farm, indeed the farm’s success depended on rain. When rain was plentiful, the crops were abundant, the farm was busy and the family did well. But one season, the rain didn’t come. I was young when this happened, but I remember asking my grandfather, “what will you do now that the rain didn’t come?” My grandfather’s answer has stayed with me ever since.

He explained to me that when the rain doesn’t come and the crops don’t grow, he takes that down time to focus on other tasks. He fixes the house and the barn, sharpens his tools, cleans and tidies, and takes time to think about how to make the farm – his business – that much better. During a bad season for crops, my grandfather didn’t panic – he instead used his time to tackle projects that would make next season easier and more productive.

There have been 17 noteworthy recessions throughout U.S. history. The most famous of these was the Great Depression which lasted from 1929 until 1938 and was the biggest economic crisis in U.S. history. Then there was the Great Recession which lasted from December 2007 to June 2009 and was triggered by the subprime mortgage crisis.

And now we’re experiencing another economic downturn. After expanding for a record 126 months, the coronavirus pandemic has put an end to the longest economic expansion in U.S. history. At the beginning of 2020, millions of Americans locked down and businesses ceased operations, all in a bid to slow the spread of Covid-19.

As borders closed and travel all but stopped in the name of public safety, immigration came to a halt as well. Consulates closed, business travel was cancelled and one presidential executive order and proclamation after another hampered immigration even further. This has obviously left immigration law firms worried and wondering – what to do next?

An INSZoom client recently reached out to me and expressed their worry about how slow business has been. The conversation I had with that client made me think back to what my grandfather told me – use this slow time to assess your current processes, identify what can be improved, and make your firm even better for when things pick back up.

Because they will.

What to do during an economic downturn

The Economy has been hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak. Some many businesses have had to significantly scale back their operations while others have been forced to close entirely. You might feel that the Covid-19 pandemic has thrown your firm into chaos too, but here’s the thing – those firms that take action right now will better survive this recession.

So what to do? Use this opportunity to get ahead of your competition and prepare for the future. Push forward and explore new ideas that will help you come out on top after the quarantine has lifted. Here are some steps you can take to get ahead during this economic downturn:

List potential challenge and inventory your processes

Start by creating a list of challenges your business might face post-pandemic, and make sure to consider different scenarios, even the most absurd. A few extreme examples might be the end of business travel, universal adoption of “work from home” culture, massively increased outsourcing and more. These examples may be over the top, but think about how the way you run your firm today would look in those made up future realities.

Would your firm survive? Would you be able to make small changes to accommodate these new realities or would you have to scrap the whole thing and start from scratch? Take this time to plan for every scenario, even the worst case scenario, and analyze your processes accordingly. From there, back into a more realistic future state and then determine what changes are possible to your firm in order to adapt.

Upgrade your technology

It’s possible that most – if not all – your staff is currently working from home. Now is the time to ensure that communication will remain as efficient as possible. Assess every piece of software and digital tool your team relies on to get work done. Do you use Google Docs for collaboration? Do you rely on Asana or Trello for project management? Do you use Dropbox for file sharing?

Ask your team for their opinions and determine if your current technology is meeting expectations. If not, time to upgrade. Now is the perfect time to implement, experiment with, and master a new piece of technology.

Review and optimize your website

So often, we pay thousands of dollars to have our website carefully designed and then we ignore it for years. There is a chance your website is working against you. A well-designed – and frequently updated – website will help you generate more leads. Take this time to review your website content and determine that it is readable, easy to navigate, and optimized with the correct keywords and links.

As your content grows stale, your website will rank lower and lower in search engine results. Seek out a marketing professional if you need help auditing and optimizing your website. A little time and help from a professional can all but guarantee that your website content will engage customers and generate new leads.

We are cruising right along with this blog series! Thanks for following along and educating yourself on how you can improve efficiency at your firm. The next blog in the series of Customizing Your Case Management System to Improve Efficiency is going to be on the corporation portal also known as the HR Portal. In my last blog we discussed the importance and benefits of using the INSZoom Foreign National Portal to help improve efficiency within your firm. This blog is going to show you how using the HR Portal (Client Portal) can help you improve efficiency and productivity.

The foreign national portal is for your clients/assignees/foreign nationals/employees so they can login to check the status of their immigration cases. The HR Portal is for the global mobility managers/ HR managers/immigration specialists so they can login and check the status of the immigration cases for their global mobility population. This blog will be geared towards those who provide corporate immigration services along with those who work for a corporation.

I write this blog from the perspective of the law firm who is providing access to the HR Portal so those of you who work for a corporation and have an immigration provider using INSZoom, you can see what is available to you for your use. The HR Portal is available to all INSZoom clients who are using Enterprise and Professional Editions.

Benefits of using the HR Portal
  • Customize the portal to show only the information that you want the global mobility professional to see.
  • Provide access to create, upload and edit corporation travel policies and guidelines.
  • Provide access to create, upload and edit corporation related updates, news or travel alerts.
  • Allow the global mobility professional to upload corporate digital documents that could be needed for immigration purposes such as block visa approvals, proof of company origins in a host country, etc.
  • The global mobility professional can view their entire global mobility population, their cases, their info, emails, notes, expiration dates, etc.
  • Ability to run their own reports! You can create Adhoc reports specifically for a client and grant access to the report so the global mobility professional can run it themselves. You can also grant access to INSZoom created reports.
  • Grant access rights that are specific to the global mobility professional. For example, if the global mobility professional is responsible for foreign nationals going to AsiaPAC you can grant them access to only those individuals and they won’t be able to see anything else.
  • Set appointments with the global mobility professional that will appear on a calendar in the HR Portal.
  • Allow the global mobility professional to request a new case for a foreign national directly with you. They can upload the PPT, CV, Job Description or any other available document that they might have when submitting the request. This means the documents are already uploaded into INSZoom and the foreign nationals profile has been created saving you the time of doing this yourself!
  • Initiate a new request directly to the foreign national with the case manager in cc on the email.

There are many benefits of providing access to the HR Portal but the biggest benefit comes from empowering your global mobility professional’s to access they data they need when they need it. They can login and complete a number of tasks or view information without sending you emails asking for updates or copies of a document.

A few of the benefits from using the HR Portal are:

  • Reduce the amount of emails that come from your global mobility professional asking for an update on immigration petitions. If you built the case steps that I taught you about 2 blogs ago and they match the immigration process then the global mobility professional can login to the portal, check the status of the cases for their foreign nationals and easily see the status of an immigration process.
  • Track and view the expiration dates of many documents from passports, visas, cases, I-94, I797, EAD, Green Card, and anything else you could possibly want to track! This will greatly help to reduce the emails from your global mobility professional asking for this information.
  • Upload documents in a secure manner! Not only is it safer but it is faster. Many email servers have limits on the size of the documents that can be sent and received. The global mobility professional can upload documents at the time of the case request. This ensures you are able to review these items right away and they are already in the system with the profile created! This is a huge help and a major time saver to you and your team. (documents can also be uploaded at time)
  • You are empowering your global mobility professional by providing them 24/7 access to their data. Global mobility professionals are kind of stuck in the middle. They need to keep their company costs down, they need to ensure the happiness of their employees and they need to work with their immigration provider in an efficient manner. Most global mobility professional wear a lot of hats and have to keep a lot of balls in the air at the same time. I personally would prefer to have access to information so I did not have to ask for it and I can assure you that they would want the same thing.
  • The global mobility professional can run their own reports! This is my favorite benefit! How many hours are spent running reports for clients on a weekly basis? Create company specific reports and grant them access to them so they can run them themselves! The only thing you need to do is ensure you are keeping INSZoom updated at all times…but you should be doing this anyways…right?

To get started using the HR Portal, if you have not used it before, is to review how you are using INSZoom. Analyze the features that you are using and what information you would like to provide to your global mobility professionals. Then review the needs of your corporate clients and discuss this option with them. You will need to teach them how to use the portal but it is easy and straight forward to use so it should be fairly simple. I recommend creating a cheat sheet for your clients and if you customize the HR Portal make sure it is specific to them.

In my last blog I mentioned how using the FNP will help you with RFP’s. Well, the HR Portal is more important for you to understand as this will seal the deal on those RFP’s. Corporate clients want to have access to their data! Not only do they want it, they demand it and you need to make sure you can provide it. INSZoom provides the HR Portal to you and it is part of your subscription so there is no reason not to harness the power of this tool.

This is a screen shot of the HR Portal that has information populated in it and all of the features available. Remember, for items that you don’t use or don’t want the global mobility professional to be able to view, you can hide them.

image1
(click image to enlarge)

If you would like more information on using the HR Portal 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@localhost

Main: 925 244-0600 Ext 285

[DISPLAY_ULTIMATE_PLUS]

Welcome back! Thank you for following along with the series of Customizing Your Case Management System to Improve Efficiency. In my last blog we covered case steps/reminders (commonly called case steps) and also known as work flows – Maximize Firm Productivity with Case Steps. For this blog I will discuss the importance and benefits of using the INSZoom Foreign National Portal to help improve efficiency within your firm. This blog will also help you see why it is useful to use those case steps/reminders!

Are you wondering what the Foreign National Portal (FNP) is? If you are unsure and never heard of it then shame, shame! The FNP is a valuable tool that all clients who use Enterprise and Professional Editions have access to and you can grant access to your clients/assignees/foreign nationals/employees. For purposes of this blog we are going to refer to them as foreign nationals.

By using the Foreign National Portal you can:

  • Customize the portal to show only the information that you want the foreign national to see.
  • Assign tasks, also known as “To Do” to your foreign national’s.
  • Questionnaires that need to be completed.
  • Forms that need to be reviewed and signed.
  • Documents that need to be uploaded.
  • Provide access to corporation travel policies and guidelines.
  • Provide access to corporation related updates, news or travel alerts.
  • Allow the foreign national to upload documents so they don’t need to be sent via email. This method is much more secure for the foreign national and it saves you time because once uploaded they are in INSZoom and you don’t need to upload them.
  • Provide access to cases along with the status of the case so the foreign national can check on the case status without sending you an email.
  • Allow them to view the case related emails and notes.
  • View documents that you are tracking so they can see the expiration dates.
  • If you track their international travel they can view information that is commonly needed for visa applications such as the country, arrival date, departure date, and departure city.
  • View and see if their Status Documents are valid or expired and what the validity dates are.
  • Set appointments with the foreign national that will appear on a calendar in the FNP.
  • Allow the foreign national to check the status and the profile of their dependents.
  • Depending on whether or not your firm subscribes to the “Advanced Case Request” you can grant access and allow the foreign national to request a new case from you.

As you can see from the lengthy list above, there is a lot that can be done with the Foreign National Portal. The wonderful thing is that each firm (this would be you) can customize the FNP to meet their needs and the needs of their clients. You can hide functions and areas you don’t want the foreign national to see and you can do it per corporation.

If you are using INSZoom and populating information in the system about each foreign national then it only makes sense to grant access to the foreign national’s. There are many benefits that result from granting access to the FNP and teaching your clients to use it.

A few of the benefits that result from using the FNP are:

  • Reduce the amount of emails that come from the foreign national asking for an update on their immigration case. If you built the case steps that I taught you about in my last blog and they match the immigration process then the foreign national can login to the portal, check the status of their case and easily see where they are in the immigration process.
  • Assign tasks to the foreign national so they know what is expected of them. Once the items have been completed they no longer show up in the FNP as “To Do” items. This helps to keep the foreign national on track and ensures that you have the info that you need in a timely manner.
  • Track the expiration dates of their many documents from passports, visas, cases, I-94, I797, EAD, Green Card, and anything else you could possibly want to track! This will greatly help to reduce the emails that the foreign national will send to you asking for this information.
  • Upload documents in a secure manner! Not only is it safer but it is faster. Many email servers have limits on the size of the documents that can be sent and received. If the foreign national is uploading documents directly into INSZoom then you don’t need to worry about the email getting bounced due to size limits. This also saves you a lot of time because you don’t need to upload their documents from your email into INSZoom.
  • You are empowering your foreign national’s and they will feel more in control of their immigration process and aware of the status of their immigration case. Moving to a new country, packing up their household goods, finding schools for their children, obtaining passports, visas, work permits, residence permits, taking language classes among a host of other things is very stressful and overwhelming. This window into their immigration case might seem small but it goes a long way in reducing the stress to the foreign national. They can easily see what is going on and that you have everything immigration related taken care of.

To get started using the FNP if you have not used it before is to review how you are using INSZoom. Analyze the features that you are using and what information you would like to provide to your foreign national’s. Then review the needs of your corporate clients and discuss this option with them. You will need the support and approval of your corporate clients but if you think this would help you then by all means have a discussion with them. You have access to this fantastic tool and you should use it. If you do family law you will want to review the needs of your clients and if they will have access to the internet.

Once you have figured out what the needs of your clients are and how you want to use the FNP you will then want to customize it. If you only want to grant access to view case status then you can simply hide all of the features or sections that you don’t want the foreign national to see. Before you roll this out to your clients I recommend that you detail internally how you will grant access to the FNP, inform the foreign national and have hammered out all of your internal processes. I then recommend creating a guide or cheat sheet for the foreign national’s. Not everyone is tech savvy and having something drafted and available to send out will be helpful and much appreciated by your clients.

One important item I would like to mention before I close is that the FNP and the use of it will really help you if you competing in an RFP (Request for Proposal). Every single RFP that I have ever seen from a corporate client had a lot of questions about security and access to a portal for their employees. If you want to be able to compete in an RFP you will need to understand the FNP and how you are going to use it.

This is a screen shot of the Foreign National Portal that has information populated in it and all of the features available. Remember, for items that you don’t use or don’t want the foreign national to be able to view, you can hide them.

Allow-Clients

(click image to enlarge)

If you would like more information on using the Foreign National Portal 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@localhost

Main: 925 244-0600 Ext 285

[DISPLAY_ULTIMATE_PLUS]

Welcome back! All of my blogs so far have focused on steps that you can take to increase efficiency within your firm. Every business owner wants to have a business that runs efficiently and effectively because that is how money is made. Processes that have repetitive and redundant steps are annoying and tend to get skipped when employees are busy. For my next installment on Customizing Your Case Management System to Improve Efficiency we are going to address reports!

Without good reports it is very difficult for a firm, or any business for that matter, to evaluate how they are doing, to hold employees accountable and to fulfill client requirements. Every client wants to be able to see that you are doing what you are paid to do and can prove it by providing effective reports. Corporate clients with a large global & mobile population are going to be very demanding when it comes to having access to reports so they can manage and ensure their immigration matters are on target. Can you blame them? They must manage their employees, the immigration vendor, the moving company, and internal expectations among other items. The home goods can’t be delivered in the destination country until the employee has the proper work authorization. Global mobility moves cost corporations millions of dollars a year so there is very little room for error. Reports help everyone stay on track!

The first step in being able to obtain and run good reports is making sure everyone is using INSZoom the exact same way and putting data in all of the required fields to meet your business needs and the needs of your clients. To do that you must take the time to evaluate the system, figure out exactly how you want to use it, take the time to customize INSZoom to match your internal processes, document your processes (training manuals), and train your staff. Why is it important to take all these steps? Because in order to obtain good reports that are useful to you and your clients you need to ensure you are capturing the data. Reports are not helpful if data is missing from fields and someone has to spend hours looking for the missing information.

I occasionally hear that businesses use Excel spreadsheets to keep track of their cases and the work that they do. When asked why, they say it is easier to add the info to the spreadsheet because they don’t get the information they need on INSZoom reports. Gasp! There is no reason for this! This is extra work and usually the result of not knowing how to create Adhoc reports within INSZoom. If information is entered into the data fields you require by your staff there is no reason to duplicate efforts and also use an Excel spreadsheet. Let go of the crutch that is Excel spreadsheets, you do not need to duplicate efforts and keep a spreadsheet. You need to push your staff to use INSZoom completely, enter the data, keep it updated at all times and create reports that meet your needs.

Adhoc reports are an excellent tool and depending on which edition of INSZoom you use, can be created with minimal effort. They are easy to use and quick to create once you understand the basics of inputs and outputs.

What is an input? When creating a report input fields are the bits of information that you want the system to go pull. For example: you want a case manager case load report. So your inputs would be: Case Manager Name (so you can choose the case manager), Case Active (so you pull only active cases), Case Status (so you can pull open cases). These inputs tell the system to go pull all the open and active cases for a specific case manager.

What are outputs? Outputs are the data fields that you want to see once the system grabs your info (inputs). So, going back to the above case manager case load report, the system has pulled all open and active cases for a case manager and you want to view what info. Outputs are what make up the actual report. For a case manager case load report you would possibly want to see Corporation/ Foreign National First Name/ Foreign National Last Name/ Destination Country/ Petition Name/ Case Status/ Last Case Step Completed. This report would allow a case manager to view all of their open/active cases.

It seems fairly simple and straight forward and it is! It might take a few tries to ensure you are capturing the information that you need but Adhoc reports can be updated very easily. My one tip for any beginner is to be careful with the inputs. If you have too many or are too specific you will greatly limit the information the system goes to grab and you might get no results for your outputs. For example: if you use petition name as an input then you are telling the system to only pull a report for petitions with that exact name.

Here is an example of how to create an Expiration Adhoc report.

1. In the popup window give your template a name and choose who will have access to run this report. *Be mindful of using client specific names if granting access to clients to run reports through the Corporation Portal.

pic-1

(click image to enlarge)

2. Now choose the input and output columns. The Input columns tell the system what data to go pull. The output columns tell the system how you want to view the information.

pi-2

(click image to enlarge)

3. Click on Link/Unlink Columns and in the popup window chose the info you want the system to go look for. For an expiration report you want to be able to choose by Corporation (or case manager) and then you want Active Cases and Approved Cases. The items below will provide you with those options. Click on Save when done.

pic-3

(click image to enlarge)

4. Now you want to click on Link/Unlink Columns for the output fields. Below is an example of items that you would want to see. Click Save when you are done.*Please note the difference in calling your Foreign Nationals either Clients or Beneficiaries or Foreign Nationals. This is customizable in the system so don’t let the terminology confuse you. **You can rearrange the items by moving them up or down.

pic-4

(click image to enlarge)

5. You will now see the input and output columns. Click on View Report to run the report.

pic5

(click image to enlarge)

As you can see from the above example, it really is very easy to create Adhoc reports. The real work comes from ensuring your staff is using the system in a consistent manner and entering the data. Once you have done this you can create reports to meet your needs and those of your clients.

If you would like more information on creating Adhoc Reports 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@localhost

Main: 925 244-0600 Ext 285

[DISPLAY_ULTIMATE_PLUS]

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

(Click image to enlarge)

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

(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@localhost

Main: 925 244-0600 Ext 285

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

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

[DISPLAY_ULTIMATE_PLUS]

Hello and welcome to INSZoom’s immigration workflow video blog. Immigration law firms typically have their hands full, especially during H-1B season. Automating key processes helps firms save time and money while reaching a new level of efficiency. Although many attorneys realize the benefits of streamlining with immigration workflow automation, they often don’t have the time to consider new systems.

Because immigration cases involve many of the same forms, your firm can benefit from automation. Depending on the number of cases your firm handles each month or year, automating forms and data entry can be a major time saver.

With INSZoom, you get predefined templates, making the job far easier. These templates are customizable to meet your firm’s needs.

Thanks for watching and check back with INSZoom for more immigration news.

Hello and welcome to INSZoom’s video blog. Does your law firm have multiple offices with people who need to collaborate on a daily basis? Without a cloud platform, this process can be difficult and lawyers may not be able to access the forms and case documents they need.

Immigration case management software makes it easier for firms to collaborate and foster strong communication across different offices. Employees can share forms with others, reducing the time it takes to process certain paperwork. As cases progress, attorneys are able to update notes within the CMS, keeping everyone on the same page so no deadlines fall through the cracks.

Cloud-based databases help firms keep their contacts in one place, further enhancing organization.

Thanks for watching and check back with INSZoom for more immigration news.

Hello and welcome to INSZoom’s video blog. Today we’ll be talking about the importance of staying on top of case milestones with email. INSZoom’s case management platform integrates with Microsoft Outlook to send alerts and help attorneys manage their calendars.

Case management platforms: Juggling multiple cases at once is challenging if lawyers don’t have a strong grasp on when court dates or deadlines are approaching. INSZoom streamlines all case milestones into Outlook, a platform that employees are likely familiar with.

Attorneys can easily view events and expiration dates within the Outlook interface, ensuring no case work is ever missed. This approach also saves time because employees don’t have to switch back and forth between two different platforms. In addition, INSZoom’s case management platform allows you to set alerts when deadlines are coming up.

Thanks for watching and check back with INSZoom for more immigration news.

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.

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


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@localhost

Main: 925 244-0600 Ext 285

[DISPLAY_ULTIMATE_PLUS]

Inszoom Academy