External collaboration is an art made up of various intersecting workflows and apps. In the right framework it can be magical; in more dysfunctional set-ups it can be outright chaos.
If you’re somewhere in between, you may be running into setbacks when working with clients. This could be anything from losing correspondence, waiting long periods of time for documents and signatures, or prolonged back-and-forths which delay service delivery.
To ensure your client engagements run smoothly, we’ll look at the workflows which support collaboration and how to make them more efficient.
Completing the approval process
Securing sign off is the final and potentially most frustrating stage of collaborating with clients. If clients must access and navigate several apps to sign off work, you’ll likely need to do some coddling.
App fatigue is real for professionals but can be doubly frustrating for clients who aren’t familiar with your apps. Additionally, if urgent documents are being received as non-descript emails, you’ll be penning follow-up emails until you get a response.
The best way to make your document turnaround faster is to invest in apps with great CX (client experience) and look for integrations between the systems you’re using. Another method would be to pare down your app stack using features from existing apps that you may be paying a separate subscription for. For example, centralizing your digital signing and file sharing to one platform so that clients only have one interface to navigate.
File/signing requests should be backed with context such as a note describing the intended action and a due date to prompt action. Adding these details will distinguish your requests from the rest of the emails in your clients’ inboxes. As will having your branding, logo, and colors in the emails your clients receive from your signing platform.
Avoid losing momentum by tracking the status of your documents and following up with any blockers stalling your progress. We’d recommend automating follow-up so that scheduled reminders warn clients that they’re running short on time.
Following these recommendations will keep chasing to a minimum, bringing a tidy resolution to your client engagements and making your service delivery more efficient.
Keeping up-to-date with clients is difficult when you’re receiving several emails a day in an already crowded inbox.
It can be even more complicated if you’re reliant on manually saving each email to your document management system. In a busy work week, standards will inevitably slip, leaving you searching through your inbox to source an important email. If you’re sharing a client with a colleague and their correspondence isn’t being stored in a central location, you won’t even be able to find it yourself.
The solution is simple – you need to delegate the manual task of saving and filing emails to an automated workflow. As emails are received, they should be flagged for automatic saving into a chosen folder.
Once saved and filed, you’ll be able to view all of your correspondence history from one spot. On top of this, your conversations will be stored logically next to your client files so that you can have a full picture of your engagements.
Moving forward, every client interaction you have will be backed with context giving you greater confidence in future interactions.
According to our customer community, gathering documentation is the number one difficulty professional services firms have when engaging clients.
It’s easy for file requests to fall off a client’s radar and put a halt to your lodgements. Without the appropriate contact info, bank account details and credentials from your tax office, you risk delaying your overall output and at worst, missing important deadlines.
It pays to consider the other end of your online document gathering. Essentially, the client experience of uploading and downloading files as well as navigating your platform.
To cater to clients, look for a portal which prioritizes ease of use, including a straightforward interface and features such as single sign on. When clients are ready to access your portal, they’ll be able to log in to the platform independently and navigate without contacting you for support.
For clients, this translates to a better experience of uploading and reviewing their files. For you, it’s facilitating your clients’ ability to self-service and send through documentation promptly.
Download our guide to get all of the above in a PDF alongside advice on staying up-to-date on files shared with clients, client-based document management, and a client collaboration case study.