Before you implement a Client Portal ask yourself the WHY questions.
- Why does your Practice want or need to implement a Client Portal and
- Why should your Clients use this new technology?
Let’s start with the first question and look at your business objectives. Do you want to:
- increase your profitability?
- increase your staff productivity and
- increase the quality of your customer service?
If implemented effectively, a Client Portal will impact your firm more significantly than any other initiative. Looking at the second question, ask your Clients if they currently using online banking or if they book their accommodation or flights online. If they answer Yes, then know that they are comfortable with the technology and start thinking about all of the possible opportunities to exchange information with your Clients online – this is what a Portal does.
To be effective you need a staged plan, which could include:
- Marketing campaign to advise your Clients that you are implementing a new online service, which will allow online collaboration and the sharing of documents and information. This is a huge marketing opportunity for the Practice, and if marketed well, your Clients will want to use this new technology. Explain the benefits of using this new service, discussing timeliness of service delivery, securely sharing information, and the ability to securely sign documents only to name a few.
- Ensure all staff are educated in Portal functionality and new workflow processes within the Practice. Often a portal fails because staff are not engaged. Some continue to use previous methods of communication rather than using the Portal. Nominate a Champion within your firm. The role of this person will be to promote the use of the Portal both internally and externally.
- Allow Clients to opt-in to begin with. You could do this via an Email Job, or you could include a link on your website. These Clients will generally be tech savvy, and will be interested in dealing with you via the Portal.
- Work closely with these early adopters to iron out workflow issues within the Practice. Because the flow of data will change, it is vitally important that you adjust your business workflows and that all staff are trained in these new processes.
- Decide what information you will make available via the Portal and what tools will assist clients in returning information to you, eg: smart checklists, mobile devices etc. You may decide to make all permanent files available to your Clients as well as regular compliance documents and you may require your Clients to sign documents via your Portal to assist in the workflow.
- Ask your Clients how they want to send in their compliance data. Some Clients may elect to receive regular portal based questionnaires so they can easily return information to you, and some may elect to upload and share their information directly into the portal. Use the portal to manage the workflow by setting up automatic email reminders for questionnaires that are not completed by your Clients.
- Protect your brand and customise your Portal including email templates so that all emails delivered by your Portal are professionally crafted and include your logo, colour schemes and fonts.
- Use the functionality of your Portal to survey your Clients. Find out what they like and don’t like about your Portal.
- Educate your Clients on how they can best use your Portal. Include videos to assist Clients in learning about the different functions of your new Portal.
Just think of the possibilities….your firm completes the work for a Client; the information is available via the Portal immediately; the Client signs appropriate documents which are automatically returned via the Portal to the Practice. The whole process now taking minutes rather than days. No printing, no paper, no postage.
Talk to the team at Nimbus to learn how easy it is to implement a Nimbus Portal. Nimbus is easily accessible via your website, is customizable with your branding, and allows your Clients to securely share information. Nimbus also integrates with MYOB AE, AO and DM, Xero PM, WFM, APS, HandiSoft, HowNow.
Contact Debby Woodbridge on 1800 NIMBUS for further information, or visit our website www.nimbushome.com