Today’s post is inspired by Ben Schorr, technologist and senior content developer with Microsoft, who has “been in this business long enough to remember when Al Gore invented the Internet.”
Being the all-around smart guy that he is, Ben recently posted:
Follow-up is one of the most important skills you can have in business.
Ben couldn’t be more right, and let me tell you why.
When is the last time you checked in with your clients? Asked how they are faring? Provided them with a status update?
Nothing is more aggravating to clients (and more damaging to client relations) than failing to follow-up. Avoid this trap by establishing an office system that reminds you to reach out and make contact. It can be as simple as a tickler system or reminder app. Consider the advantages of interactive web portals that offer clients 24/7 access and apps like Zipwhip that let you send scheduled texts and auto-replies to clients. Are phones overwhelming you? Worried about missing client calls? Start using Call Ruby. (Discounts are available to Multnomah Bar Association members.)
Tasks and Deadlines
Always create follow-up reminders for all outstanding to-dos and deadlines – particularly those that require action from someone else.
- Include everything to ensure you get what you need to complete tasks on time and avoid a potential malpractice claim.
- Include everyone who owes you information, documents, or an undertaking. Clients, co-counsel, opposing counsel, associates, staff, medical providers, investigators, and process servers are the tip of the iceberg.
Staff also deserve follow-up. Brief weekly meetings can cover a lot of ground: staff workloads, pending projects, your schedule, and responding to staff questions. For tips on working with and delegating to staff, see Revisiting Smart Delegation.
It’s been almost 7 years since I penned Accounts Receivable Do Not Improve Like Fine Wine, but the advice has not changed. You simply must follow-up on your finances:
- Generate, review, and act on aged account receivable reports
- Hold clients to fee agreements
- Create and follow through on a collections strategy
- Modernize billing
Marketing and Business Goals
Follow-up is key when it comes to goal setting. Start by quantifying what you want to achieve, then be accountable (that’s the follow-up part). Whether it’s a business plan or a marketing plan, you are only cheating yourself if you don’t take the time to measure your results.
I’ve written extensively about marketing this year and prior years, both incidentally and deliberately. If you’re looking for social media tips, resources for market research, how to calculate your marketing costs per case – you’ll find those posts here. Use the Search feature at the top of my blog or under Categories choose “Marketing.” Whatever you do: follow-up!
All Rights Reserved 2017 Beverly Michaelis