The question is not how to make it easy to communicate and exchange information with clients, it already is far too easy for them to find us and put that data in the most inappropriate place. The question is how to make it easy for you.
To simplify and optimize your communications and data exchange, there are several factors to consider:
Who are you communicating with? How many people are included in the conversation? This could be your team; it can also be your client’s spouse or perhaps their employees.
Knowing who is included in the conversation is the starting point for putting your communication in order. Are you using the right tool for your firm to take control of these conversations and who is a party to them?
A solution that provides a client record to keep track of these parties is a must. Within your own house, it’s a good idea to determine from your team the key contacts for each client.
What are you using to communicate with your clients? Are you allowing them to reach you no matter where you are, the time of day or week? Firm owners are often seen with mobile in hand calling, texting, or emailing away to clients when they should be doing something else.
If you have not centralized your firm’s phone number, including texts away from your mobile phone to a place where your team can reach it, now is the time. That’s the only kind of phone number that will work office hours.
Digital communication is all that remains to consolidate into one main feed. The ability to feed your inbox, and that of your team’s into a practice management platform is a must these days.
Security is foremost to consider when it comes to all those attachments that come along with the texts, emails and other creative ways clients send files to us. Utilizing the secure file exchange that is integrated into your management platform is crucial.
How are you communicating this to your clients? To really simplify and optimize your communications and data exchange, this part is the most important. Have you told your clients what to do?
Declaring boundaries on how clients are to communicate and give us information is often forgotten. Most of us are grateful they are responding at least. Our frustration comes from the onslaught at the wrong moments.
Having a unified communication and secure file exchange platform is one part of the equation, the other part is you: a clear message from the top. It starts with, “Dear client, communications with our firm are to be….”. Legacy clients will need to be re-educated and new clients coming in get the rules of engagement immediately. Team members will need the same clear message, so the communication stays intact from beginning to end.
Are you setting your expectations? Clients often do not know what we expect out of them, even though we do the same dance year after year. Just as we don’t clearly state what we want them to do, we leave out what we expect from them.
Having technology in our toolbox can help with this recurring struggle. Client tasks or checklists with due dates and automatic reminders give all the details they need to hear our expectations and respond to them. Clients that get on board with this system are happier. They understand their role and get to check their box complete!
The strength of a complete practice management app can make your headaches with client communication and exchanging information diminish and it can optimize your firm. Having it all in one place also has the pleasant side effect of streamlining your team’s communication and efficiency. Now that’s making it easier for everyone, yourself included!
Canopy is more than just a cloud-based accounting practice management suite. We offer client, document, workflow, time, billing, email, and staff management. That’s all of your firm’s mission-critical functions in one seamless platform.
Client Management gives you one place for client communications, records, and interactions—including a global inbox, custom client portal, and bulk actions.
Document Management allows firms to stop wasting time (and patience) wrangling document sprawl. You can use Canopy for document storage, file organization, working on documents (no more need to leave Canopy for something like Adobe Acrobat), document sharing, eSignature and more.
Time & Billing enables firms to invoice and accept payments all in one place. With the industry’s most robust QBO integration, that means no system-switching and no double entry necessary. (Can we get a hallelujah?)
Workflow helps you manage your projects, processes, and productivity so your firm can do more. Manage productivity, projects, and tasks with custom views & filters. And don’t forget to leverage Canopy’s new and improved workflow automation features to help reduce the mental load that goes into setting up and managing your work.
Is it time to unclunk your firm? Try Canopy for free for 30-days.