We’re really excited to announce that financial advisors are now using the NotifyWorks’ platform along with lawyers. We’ve built out a notification library specific to the finance industry with the help of our advisor clients. These advisor clients have told us that they decided to use NotifyWorks in order to get back to basics. Financial advisors are often bombarded with client calls, portfolio reviews, an ever-changing investment landscape and volatile market conditions. When they leave the office the day often seems like a blur. “It’s really difficult to provide clients with the same level of services while handling hundreds of clients compared to when I started with about 20 households,” said one of our financial advisor clients.
And some have noticed the impact immediately.
“Literally the first day I started using the software I had conversations with clients that I hadn’t spoke with for months. Several of those conversations led to new business and for others it was a client “touch” I wouldn’t have had without the software. I now use the notification library to streamline client notifications regarding account reviews, bond/CD/UIT maturities, stock dividend increases/decreases, contribution deadlines for retirement accounts or college savings accounts, updating paperwork, taxation reviews, etc. I have found that I have more free time to meet with prospective clients, analyze investments and do other proactive business generating activities that I may not have had the time to do without NotifyWorks.”
Years ago one of our advisor clients was told by the president of his former firm that he shouldn’t provide too great of service to clients as he would not be able to keep up the same level of great service once his client base had grown. “I remember thinking that can’t happen to me. A high level of service if why people choose to invest with me.” With the help of NotifyWorks, this financial advisor says he can continue to grow his practice while still providing top notch customer service his clients expect. “It’s a win-win for my clients AND me.”
To experience Notifyworks yourself, please sign up for our free trial.
In reviewing commercial lease terms with a client this week she asked me what she needed to do if she wanted to renew her lease before the end of the lease term. I explained the lease provisions which required written notice to the Landlord 120 days in advance of the lease expiration. She expressed the hope that she would not forget to renew the lease. She’s a new doctor but hopes to have a thriving medical practice by the end of the lease term. The last thing she wants to worry about are lease terms.
And that’s exactly why we created NotifyWorks. Clients forget. They’re busy. They don’t pay attention to deadlines. But that creates opportunity. Most lawyers don’t notify their clients of deadlines like lease renewals. All I need to do is set up a notification from the NotifyWorks library (I am guessing it may take me about a minute) and I’ll be able to automatically notify the client before the notice period that she needs to renew her lease. I’ll probably set up a couple of dates in advance so she has plenty of notice and ask her to contact me in the event there is anything we need to address in the renewal period.
I know the client will appreciate it and it won’t take nearly any time out of day to do this, especially given that my assistant will actually enter the notifications for me. With NotifyWorks it’s not hard to show clients that you care!
Business and tax attorneys are not usually recognized as innovators but Jason Stone is proving to be just that. Jason, along with his partner, Emily Harris, recently founded The Startup Launchpad, an innovative delivery program for legal services from the Davis Brown Law Firm. The program is designed with startups and entrepreneurs in mind. Entreprenuers can sign up for free and gain access to customized documents, educational materials and checklists that are all targeted for startup business owners.
“We don’t think there is another law firm in the country doing this,” said Jason. The site incorporates the strategies of sites like LegalZoom, Rocketlawyer, and FreeAdvice. But, unlike those services, Startup Launchpad adds the traditional advice of attorneys plus customization of documents. Jason and his partners discovered a few common characteristics among entrepreneurs that led them to build their innovative service:
They were so passionate about their concept that they wouldn’t take the time to focus on the legal needs of a new business;
They wanted results quickly, including quick turn-around from their legal team; and
They don’t like the traditional law firm method of billing by the hour because they are not sure what your final bill will look like.
Jason has also implemented NotifyWorks to aid in client retention. Jason had this to say about his use of NotifyWorks,
“It’s more important that ever to communicate frequently with clients if you want to retain them. Prior to using NotifyWorks, I entered reminders to contact clients in my docket system, received paper based notices from my assistant and personally drafted e-mails or letters to clients. That was labor intensive and it was often difficult to get everthing done. NotifyWorks simplifies the process for me. It’s easy to use and now those client reminders are sent out automatically. I am definitely glad I purchased the program.”
If you’re interested in how NotifyWorks might be able to work for you, we’re now offering a free 90 day trial. Just go to our Sign Up page and enter your information for the free trial. We look forward to working with more innovators like Jason.
If you simply focus on new business and do not constantly focus on keeping your clients happy and show concern for their needs on a consistent basis, you will become a commodity, someone will come in lower and you will suffer significant problems with customer retention. Don’t lose the hunger that brought you the business…you should be even hungrier to make sure that no one takes the business that you fought hard to win.
It really doesn’t matter if you are a lawyer or a sales person, it’s a lot easier to get business from a current client than to acquire a new one. We all know it’s important to stay in touch with clients but we just don’t get around to doing it. What type of system do you use to maintain contact with clients?
I recommend reading a terrific post from Allan Colman on how to get a head start on your attorney marketing program for 2012. Colman’s post emphasizes that increasing client retention is a key element in creating long-term revenue generation. Colman gives a good reminder:
Our world is fast paced: faster cars; faster Internet; text-messaging; and near-constant multitasking. With everything moving so quickly, we often forget to slow down and make real connections with people. Don’t let the opportunity to get to know clients slip by you.
Colman points out that a recent survey says 53 percent of in-house counsel will fire at least one of their long-term outside law firms this coming year. That’s not a typo! There are three main reasons, according to marketer Jay Abraham, that clients leave long-term relationships.
Lack of contact leads to their forgetting about the relationship.
Their situation changes.
They become dissatified.
I recently had a reminder of how important it is to stay in contact with clients. A young entrepreneur I did work for several years ago has recently been working on several projects and may be in need of a substantial amount of legal services in the near future. I had not really maintained contact with this client very well and frankly our recent meeting was more by chance than my efforts to stay in touch. There is no question my lack of contact could have very easily led to his forgetting about our relationship. You can bet that I’ll do a better job of staying in contact with him in the future.
So how about you? What are you going to do in 2012 to improve your client retention?
In reading about lawyers and client service, I ran across an article from the Wall St. Journal saying that lawyers often lack the skills to draw and keep clients. Shocking!
So often lawyers are preoccupied with where the next client is coming from they forget about existing clients. As one of the attorneys in the article says, “Everyday I need to be thinking about these existing clients.”
It is much easier to gain business from existing clients. After all, they have already hired you and hopefully trust you. Good communication is the key. For example, many attorneys I know recommend clients review wills and other estate planning documents on an annual basis. But how many of those attorneys actually take the time to remind clients to do this? That simple action could lead to calls from clients whose personal or financial circumstances have changed or may lead to other business not anticipated just because the attorney reached out to make contact.
The lastest issue of Law Practice Magazine has an excellent article by Kathryn Thompson entitled, Using Online Service Providers – Where the Duty of Confidentiality Reigns. It is important to understand your professional ethics’ obligations if you plan on using SaaS applications or cloud computing. This article provides a general framework of issues to consider when you use virtual practice tools.
According to Thompson, lawyers should:
Know what kind of information is stored;
Know who has access to the information;
Know where the information resides;
Ensure your provider understands your duty of confidentiality;
Notify the client in the event of a breach;
Obtain client consent in advance of using the services.
The last suggestion is why our NotifyWorks system sends out a verification message on your behalf when you set up a client into your database. This message, which can also be customized by you in the Settings menu, indicates that the client gives you permission to use the NotifyWorks system to communicate with them when they verify their email address. It also serves a dual purpose by making sure the correct email address is entered into the system and allows the client to make any necessary adjustments to spam or other filters.
Brian Hemesath, co-founder and software developer of NotifyWorks appeared on Episode 56 of PrairieCast to discuss his startup companies and the lessons learned while bootstrapping his businesses. A serial entrepreneur, Brian not only owns a part of several businesses now, but has already been on the exit side as he sold one of his businesses a few years ago.
Brian also presented at the BIZ luncheon this week as well to discuss bootstrapping and entrepreneurship. Subtitled “The Non-fundraising Path,” Brian shared his experiences on key components to start-up success beyond, raising capital. These components included: the best reason to start a business (hint: it’s not to get rich), choosing the right partner, the best way to network for business and community growth and many more.
A client just entered into a purchase agreement for a commercial real estate property. The agreement has various deadlines for delivering the abstract, obtaining an inspection, satisfaction of title objections and closing deadlines. I entered the various dates in NotifyWorks to remind the client (and myself) of those deadlines before they occur. The emails are automatically timed to go out of those dates. I don’t need to do anything else.
The Iowa State Bar Association Committee on Ethics and Practice Guidelines recently addressed whether a lawyer or law firm may utilize what is known as a “software as a service” or “SaaS”.
Because SaaS involves storing client information on computer servers that are not owned and operated by the lawyer or law firm, lawyers have questioned whether SaaS can be used in light of Iowa Rule of Professional Conduct 32:1.6 Comment  which states in part that “a lawyer must take reasonable precautions to prevent the information from coming into the hands of unintended recipients.” The rule also states that factors to be considered in determining the reasonableness of the lawyer’s expectation of confidentialty include the sensitivity of the information and the extent to which the privacy of the communication is protected by law or by a confidentiality agreement.
The commttee opined that the rule establishes a reasonable and flexible approach to guide a lawyer’s use of ever-changing technology. It recognizes that the degree of protection to be afforded client information varies with the client, matter and information involved. But it also places on the lawyer the obligation to perform due diligence to assess the degree of protection that will be needed and to act accordingly. In that regard the committee wrote:
Access to stored data and data protection should be taken into consideration when performing due diligence. Whatever form of SaaS is used, the lawyer must ensure that there is unfettered access to the data when it is needed. Likewise the lawyer must be able to determine the nature and degree of protection that will be afforded the data while residing elsewhere.
Read the full opinion here which covers in detail the type of due dligence an Iowa lawyer should conduct when selecting a SaaS technology provider.
NotifyWorks is a SaaS provider as described in the opinion. We store only generic notification templates in our library or those the lawyer chooses to enter for their use. NotifyWorks is not a document management or storage system. You as the lawyer need to keep confidentiality issues in mind when creating any new templates in your library and when you send notifications to clients. We do NOT recommend placing sensitive confidential information or substantive legal advice in notifications to clients. NotifyWorks is designed to provide short notifications on legal matters that shouldn’t require extensive disclosure of confidential information. Further, lawyers have unfettered access access to their data and the data entered by the lawyer in the NotifyWorks’ system belongs to the lawyer and receives it back if the lawyer ever stops using our service.