Thursday, April 9, 2020
COVID-19 and the stay-at-home orders are resulting in a significant slowdown in serves leading many to wonder what to do with their time. Whether you’re trying to find things to keep your employees busy or just need productive ways to occupy your time, now is a great opportunity to do the things that you would normally say you don’t have time to do. Here are some ideas to keep your business active until litigation picks back up.
Since it’s the first impression your client has of your business, you want to make sure your website is clean, easy-to-use, and clearly expresses what you do and how to reach you. Along with potentially making it look more modern, you can update older content and add an order form. Here are some website essentials that make your online presence competitive. Or if you’d like it handled professionally, ServeNow can build you a customized, mobile-friendly site specifically for process servers.
Connect with other process servers, make sure your headshot looks professional and accurate, and fill in all the information that you can about you and your business. To promote engagement, create a couple posts as well as interact with other posts within your network. While you’re at it, make sure you’re part of ServeNow’s LinkedIn group.
Never stop marketing, especially now. But your normal campaigns might come across as insensitive, so take a more empathetic approach. Call all your customers and offer a word of support. This both lets them know that you care about them and that you’re still operating your business. If you’re not serving papers, inform them what services you are offering.
We may be biased, but now is as good a time as any to invest in a practice management software like ServeManager. There are so many benefits like saving time, enabling remote work, optimizing workflow, and easier collaboration with clients and servers. Even if you already have ServeManager, now is a good time to explore all the features ServeManager has to offer that you may not be using.
It’s time. Nothing modernizes your office quite like making everything digital. Plus, moving everything to the cloud keeps your files safe and organized in a way that physical storage doesn’t. Access what you need when you need it from wherever you need it without having to thumb through packed filing cabinets or dig through overstuffed folders.
Your processes will be more efficient if you have a clean, organized space to work. Declutter by getting rid of anything unnecessary (including all that paper mentioned in number five!). Donate, sell, or recycle any unnecessary equipment and supplies.
Let your staff know where they excel and what they can improve. These meetings can be brief and held via Zoom. They can also be used to get employee opinions on their work environment and how you can communicate with them better.
Similar to one-on-one meetings, you can use Zoom to meet as a staff and discuss any work environment feedback or potential innovations as well as solutions to issues the company might be facing.
Have a plan of attack for when the stay-at-home restrictions let up and litigation returns in full force. Figure out how you’re going to manage the backlog of jobs and who you will assign them to. Identify new contractors and new technology that will help you manage the increased workflow as well as your customers. Let your customers know that, when the time comes, you’ll be prepared to do the job.
Because sometimes the best thing for your productivity is taking a break. Both entertaining and horrifying, this show will have you questioning humanity with murder (maybe?), polygamy (definitely), and borderline cults.
If you already have ServeManager, you can use this time to clean up your account and keep your software functioning at full efficiency. Check out this webinar and blog from the ServeManager ProSeries about how you can properly maintain your account.
Capital investment might be challenging right now but if you’ve been putting off upgrading that computer from 2003, now might be a good time to modernize. Think about updating your office computer or your laptop so you can work better from home.
You can use Google My Business for free to manage how your business information appears across Google. This adds your business information to Google Maps, Search, and other Google properties.
Since you’re already reaching out to your customers, ask them to leave you a review. Tell them it’s quick and easy to do on both mobile and desktop. You can also take the time to respond to reviews both positive and negative.
Like your website, your social media is sometimes the first impression a potential client has of your company. Make sure your information is accurate, your profile and cover photos are classy, and that anyone interested has an easy way to reach you. If you don’t have a Facebook page for your business, now is the perfect time to dive in and promote the page!
Are you still using an AOL email address for your business? Consider switching to G Suite. It allows you to communicate with your colleagues as well as access to Google Drive, Google Docs, and more. Set up your email address with your domain (email@example.com) and stop using that hotmail email that you’ve had since college.
If you’ve thought about investing in a new tool whether it’s a body camera, a voice recorder, or a fancy GPS, this could be a great time to pull the trigger. Normally, you may not have time to try out the tool and learn its intricacies before going out into the field. Now you do.
There’s a lot more that goes into process serving than just carrying papers to a door. In order to better serve your customers, add to the skills you can offer them. These skills can include notary, electronic filing, skip tracing, and document retrieval. Take a class or get certified so you can increase your value to your clients. Note that there are a lot of additional services that you can offer from behind a computer such as virtual notary, social media investigations, and consulting to legal support startups and fledgling entrepreneurs.
Zapier is an application you can use to automate parts of your workflow. It moves info between your web apps automatically, creating less work for you. For example, you can send a Tweet everytime you publish a blog or send an email when someone fills out a form on your site. If you’re a ServeManager user, there are all kinds of automations you can create to eliminate the most tedious parts of your workflow.
Whether it’s a Masterclass or a Ted Talk, there are plenty of experts out there sharing their business and networking know-how. Pick up tips in books, magazines, podcasts, videos, and even LinkedIn. You never know when you’re going to come across a game-changing technique. Share and discuss what you learn with your team. You can even watch our webinars which include tips and advice for process servers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Integrate efficient methods of payment into your business via Stripe. Using this online payment platform, you can get paid more quickly, save yourself from standing in line at the bank, and eliminate paper payments. ServeManager has already integrated with Stripe so you can accept credit card payments through your account invoices and statements.
It might sound boring but managing spreadsheets efficiently can lead to a more successful business. Take this course by Wharton (free in April!) or this Google Sheets 101 course by Zapier to learn how to get the most out of your spreadsheets.
From 1password to LastPass, there are plenty of password managers that you can use to store all your account passwords. This way, you’ll never have to use the same password over and over again. You can also share passwords with employees or coworkers who also need access.
It may seem mundane, but you never know if your client is immunocompromised or in serious need. Offer to help by picking them up basics like toilet paper or hand sanitizer. This will both remind your customers that you’re there and show that you’re willing to go above and beyond to support them.
Especially during these times of confusion and hardship, it’s good to have support from those who understand what you’re going through. Get on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to start conversations with servers both in and outside of your area. They’ll be there with suggestions when you have questions and they’ll be able to sympathize when you have complaints.
If you have a topic that you think needs to be addressed or want to have a discussion with your peers, a webinar is a good way to do that. You can host webinars via Zoom or other apps and can control who talks as well as present your screen.
Catch up and get ahead on writing blogs if you maintain a blog. Even if you don’t usually keep up with a blog, you can write and post articles on LinkedIn or for other publications like ours at ServeNow. You can use your writing to share your experience while also drawing attention to your brand. Contact us if you’re interested in contributing!
If you’ve been working as an independent contractor for a while now, it might be a good time to legitimize your business by incorporating or creating an LLC. Most of the time, you don’t actually need a lawyer to make this happen. Learn whether an LLC is right for you and get the process started.
Find support and discuss relevant topics with your colleagues using the Process Server Slack Community. Right now, you can even join a channel dedicated to everything COVID-19.
As important as it is to be productive, it’s even more important to make sure you’re safe and content during these stressful times. Keep up with your mental health by limiting your time scrolling through the news and using quiet times to pray or meditate. It’s also healthy to spend at least 30 minutes a day outside and in the sun even if it’s just going for a walk. If you’re anxious about all of this, that’s ok! It is inevitable that this will end and you will be stronger for it.