Workflows are one of the most powerful aspects of the system, as long as you are maximising the functionality available. These are our top tips for getting the most out of Workflows:
- Know your Process
- Preparation before building workflows
- Testing & Refining
- Version Control
Know your Process
There are four stages to competency:
- Unconscious Incompetence
- Conscious Incompetence
- Conscious Competence
- Unconscious Competence
When beginning to think about Workflows, we find that most clients are unconsciously competent about their business processes.
What this means is that they can usually perform processes such as onboarding a new client with their eyes closed, so when it comes to actually documenting/building this process it can be a challenge.
The biggest tip that we can give users is to consider what your process actually is vs what you want this to be - and know explicitly what this is
While you might know that Step 1 is to contact the client, what does this ACTUALLY mean?
Within a workflow that could include:
- Send an SMS - is this a template that we could create and re-use down the road for added efficiency?
- Create a Notification on the Client Portal - if clients are not currently using the Portal, are we wanting to add an option to set them up on the Portal at this stage?
- Send the client an email - do we want to template this, if so how do you want the email to look and what should the wording be?
- Call the client - would I like their contact details brought into the Workflow so I don't need to navigate back to the Client's Record? Do we need follow up tasks if we cannot reach the client?
It is a great time to look at the way you are currently servicing your clients as well as standardising processes/documentation across your practice.
Preparation before building workflows
Similar to the above points regarding knowing how you want the overall process to look, preparation can go a long way with constructing workflows.
If you are wanting to include templates such as emails, documents (reports, letters or documents like FDS/Opt-In) it can streamline the build process to have these ready to go.
If you are creating workflows on the go and do not have templates like emails, etc ready to go, then you may find it useful to create a 'Shell Template'. This is simply an empty template that is then linked into the workflow, which you will update at a later date.
Email templates are the perfect example when you want to link one in, but haven't decided on the wording yet. You can go back to the email template, add in wording/adjust the format and because the workflow is already referencing this template, it will automatically be included in the process.
This is true for adjustments down the road even after you have created the template. For example, if you were to move offices and wanted to update the email signature, you only need to change the template to reflect the new address and not the whole workflow.
When we get into the building of workflows and knowing what it is we are wanting to do, there are a few shortcuts that we can suggest to our clients - they revolve around Custom Screens.
The most commonly used example is that of client contact details; rather than jumping out of the workflow and into the client's contact details, why not just bring that information to you:
Custom Screens can be used for a whole range of applications inside Workflows, the most common that we see include:
- Client Contact Details
- Important Dates such as Next Review/Opt-In/FDS/Appointment
- File Notes - a handy way to reference strategy notes on the go for Paraplanners
- Documents - allows for quick downloading/printing to post, or pushing documents to the Client Portal
Testing & Refining
Workflows are designed to be iterative, so you may find that once you run through your process once or twice, we can guarantee that there will be changes that you want to make.
Once complete, assign your Workflow to a test client and run through the process from start to finish
It is easier to make these changes after a few rounds of testing against a dummy client, rather than when you have assigned the workflow to multiple clients as you are not able to edit a workflow that is 'live'/assigned against a client; the workflow must either be complete or terminated (Menu> CRM > Assigned Workflows > Terminate)
If you have a workflow that is live against clients and you wish to make changes to the process without terminating the active workflows, the easiest way to mange this is through version control.
- Make a Copy of the workflow you wish to adjust
- Make the existing Workflow 'unavailable' (untick the available box in Workflow Design)
- Make the relevant changes to the new workflow, considering updating the name of the process to reflect what Version you are up to, for example 'New Client Process V3'
- Make this new process 'Available'
Moving forward, new clients will be pushed through the adjusted process rather than the older version, but it also allows you to finish the process for those existing clients rather than terminating the workflow and starting again.