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Why Email is Holding Your Firm Back

Chris Farrell
Posted by Chris Farrell on Feb 2, 2021 9:43:06 PM

In our last article for The Woodard Report, we covered why clients are often late sending documents to their accountants and bookkeepers. The “Five Whys” exercise pointed to email as the main culprit. Clients just don’t respond quickly to emails.  

It's not surprising that most firms rely on email to communicate with their clients. But what is surprising is how we all ignore the challenges and issues email creates for firms and for clients. Why is that? 

Your own history with email indicates one of two attitudes. You remember when it first became a “thing and you were so excited to get an email (“You’ve got mail!”). Or you came into the workforce and email was already just a part of your day at work. You used it to keep employees in the loop and to communicate with clients. Although it worked reasonably well, you had to supplement it with meetings, task tracking, document sharing, and eSignature software in order to get things done.   

Each year the volume of emails grew. Marketers used email as the primary way of reaching prospective clients, and scammers and cybercriminals jumped onto the gravy train too.  Everyone’s inboxes became overloaded. Now it is difficult to separate the signal from the noise. 

Firms started using Slack, Teams, and other forms of IM in order to keep employee communications out of email, and that helped a bit.  But client emails are still the norm. Some clients started texting their accountants or reaching out via social media direct message instead of using email.  Firms added portals in the hope of bridging firm and client document sharing. The result of these multi-channel communications is that firm employees now must look in several different places for an answer from either a staffer or a client. 

The worst part is that because of all the data silos (I can’t see into your email inbox or Facebook Messenger account, and vice versa), staff now bcc: and cc: their teams to keep them in the loop about client information, which results in more email! 

And while all of this was happening in your office, your clients became increasingly mobile. Their smartphones and tablets now go with them during their busy days, and they are even less responsive to email. 

Troubling Stats for Email 

Here are some stats that illustrate why your email policy should be examined: 

When you add it all up, it paints a troubling picture overall.  75% of all emails go unopened, which means that your primary online communication channel isn’t effective.  Up to 45% of the email volume received by your clients could be spam or a phishing attack, meaning your email is competing with a lot of noise.  And 85% of all emails are read using a mobile phone. The items will be left behind in the Inbox unless the client has everything needed to respond to you in the moment. 

Why Your Clients Aren’t Responding on Time 

Why is it a problem for clients to respond to your requests in a timely fashion? Because you are asking them to overcome too many hurdles. If your request contains an action item, your clients will likely fail unless they have everything they needFor example, if you request that your clients send you a document, they won’t do so unless they have it available then and there. If they don’t, they read your email, know immediately that they can’t respond and make a mental note to get back to it later. Then their busy lives take over. The email drifts down the page, and they forget to respond. This leaves you with no choice but to send another email, and possibly another.  Yikes. 

There is a Better Way!  

Client Experience 2.0™ firms give their employees and clients an affordable alternative to email that is secure, spam-free, EASY to use on the go, and they are getting amazing results. Imagine your request for a document coming in as a push notification on your client’s phone. Using the Liscio app, clients quickly click the notification. Using only their phonesthey can securely scan, send, or review and sign documents for you. They can also answer your questions seamlessly during their busy days. If your client doesn’t have everything they need to respond in the moment, Liscio keeps your request at the top of their minds. It provides them with a focused client-facing to-do list and automatic weekly reminders. No more badgering clients for documents you need. Instead, clients respond quickly and your team gets more work done. 

To learn more about how to tame email and become a seamless part of your client’s day, take this short quiz.  At the end you will get a frank assessment of your firm's current communication and technology strengths and uncover areas for improvement. You will also receive free resources designed to help you give your clients and staff a more modern experience. Now,  everyone can get their work done quickly.  

Topics: Client Experience


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