Archive for the ‘Customer support’ Category

How to run your office more efficiently

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

Running an efficient office includes a number of elements – staff, equipment, processes and a healthy order book. However there are some functions that you are probably happily living without but that can really make a difference to your productivity, customer care and bottom line. We’ve worked extensively within the professions and developed a client portal that provides solutions you didn’t even know you needed!

Meetings are vital of course. But unnecessary meetings, just to sign things off, are not the best way for you to manage client time. When you are in front of a client you should be showcasing your knowledge, skills and cementing the relationship. Asking for a signature is just a waste. Imagine being able to do that legally, with a full audit report, online? It’s something we’ve been asked for – so we added it in to our portal. Some of our clients use it to send a batch of documents to many clients at once and they get a daily report to show who has read it, opened it and signed it. That way, they can spend their time chasing the few that haven’t.

Some of our clients handle extremely sensitive data – accountants, solicitors, IFAs for example. Recent news stories throw up the horrors of professionals who have emailed information to the wrong people, emails that have been hacked and data protection guidelines not being followed. Our answer is to build a secure client portal that allows for data exchange – you upload information to the client’s portal and the client collects it safely. It’s the perfect solution to both hacking issues and plain old human error.

We love the fact that clients can collaborate via docSAFE. One document, being held centrally, can be accessed by all authorised parties. No need for confusing email trails, lots of versions of the same thing and, if you are working internationally, you don’t even need to all be awake at the same time!

Other things – automatic back ups, 24/7 access, creating dynamic forms, collating multiple documents into one neat pdf, a branded, good-looking portal – are all part of the docSAFE offering, designed to make your office practices more streamlined and efficient.

What are your ‘sliding doors’?

Tuesday, September 6th, 2016

IMG_6084“The Sliding Door Company doesn’t use sliding doors” – this is a funny social media post currently doing the rounds. Yes it’s funny and ironic BUT we all have a sliding door that we should be using. What does your business do? How do you showcase it? It’s a top marketing tip for any business to talk less and show more. I drove past a design business recently that had its company name and corporate branding displayed in 3 different ways, demonstrating how NOT to brand your business. His sliding door clearly wasn’t in operation.

It’s tougher if you offer a service like accountancy. What you can do though is make sure that the important qualities of an accountant are as visible as possible – be reliable, answer calls promptly, show efficiency, demonstrate a modern approach, use cutting edge software, work in the cloud, operate an excellent client portal and never get your sums wrong!

What’s your sliding door? What should you be showcasing?

The art of networking just got easier

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

Networking in its traditional sense is my idea of hell on earth. Early morning meetings with weak coffee, a lukewarm bacon butty and endless small talk and hand shaking before I’m fully awake. Then the horror of speaking OUT LOUD in front of 25+ equally sleepy people about who you are, what you do and what you sell. Not fun.

These days there are the equivalents of types of services for businesses. If you know your market and have a clear focus on the types of clients you want, you are highly likely to be able to find a company that can provide these direct to your door. We came across one such service for financial advisers and accountants – – an ‘in your face’ introduction service. The founder, James Vinicombe, describes the business as one that helps people and businesses find trusted financial and accounting advice. We like the idea – it saves lots of time and wasted energy and connects people.

We completely subscribe to the idea that you employ people to do the things you can’t.


Behind the scenes

Thursday, March 31st, 2016

What goes on behind the scenes of any organisation isn’t usually something you outline to your customers. But is there ever a time to explain things in more detail? We work in IT on many levels – websites, social media, blogs, software development to name just a few areas. We are extremely security conscious as it is a vital part of our credibility and imperative for our customers’ operations. One of our software features offers a more secure alternative to email – it’s something we shout about, particularly when you are exchanging sensitive data.

However we don’t talk much about the nitty gritty of our approaches to security – researching constantly, keeping ahead of the game – understanding potential security breaches and, as we are now doing, paying just that bit more to ensure we have the best solutions. Maybe there is a time to outline your backroom operations and that’s when it benefits the customer.

Is there something you do (that your competitors possibly don’t) that provides an extra, unseen level of service? If so, it’s worth a discreet mention but be careful to be succinct and don’t scare-monger! If there’s nothing you do that your customers don’t know about, it could be time to implement something new (but more of that in another blog).

What do you do?

Tuesday, March 8th, 2016

At Online Practice we usually write about things that are resonating with us that we think you’ll find useful. Currently we are aware of a lack of clarity in how we communicate what we do to the different people we’d like to work with.

Our main services are web design for professional firms, docSAFE – a secure client portal (for cloud working) and managing our clients’ online presence. We also offer some consultancy and one-to-one work with clients who like the benefit of more attention. We even create short marketing videos so you can see how we can make our own marketing messages too busy.

We do all of this for a number of professional markets – accountants, solicitors, financial advisers and many more.

It’s really important that you are clear in your communications – not only in what you are saying but in addressing different audiences. This is especially relevant if you offer many services to a number of sectors.

When you multiply your services with the number of sectors you work in, it can result in a muddled or confused presentation of your company’s strengths so we recommend the following:

  • Go back to basics (start again, be bold)
  • Assess who you most want/like to work for (where do you work well? where do your strengths lie? who is most profitable? what do you enjoy?)
  • Work out what it is that each of your chosen market sectors needs from you (be very specific)
  • Design marketing messages that speak loudly and clearly to each sector (engage)
  • Be prepared to do a lot more activity to the same number of people (more effort, yes, but much greater rewards)
  • Assess and analyse your results
  • Adjust your campaigns accordingly

We can support you in this journey – let us know if you’d like to brainstorm it and we’ll guide you through the process.


Take the next step, call us today
0121 794 0685