Oracle CRM Streamlines Customer Service at Z&A

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software helps companies with customer communications and services. A successful implementation of CRM can significantly improve customer satisfaction. While CRM has been widely employed by many multinational companies, small to mid firms rarely utilize CRM because of the lack of financial resources and management skills. In order to better serve our customers, Zhang & Associates implemented CRM in our everyday operations and management. Since 1996, Z&A has grown to a law firm with three offices in Houston, New York and Chicago. An advanced CRM system became a necessity after the expansion, for us to provide timely, efficient and secure client services. In April 2006, Zhang & Associates deployed Oracle’s Siebel CRM in all its three offices.

Siebel is the leader in CRM software in the world, offering a complete, complementary, world-class set of customer relationship management tools. Ninety percent of the largest corporations in the United States are Oracle Siebel customers and importantly, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) uses Oracle’s CRM to organize and process its cases and to manage and process the overwhelmingly high volume of immigrant and non-immigrant applications.

The utilization of CRM has improved quality of service, customer satisfaction, and the speed of case process significantly at Z & A. Our CRM system features multiple functions, including, potential clients, case recording, contact, calendar, task and data analysis. The flowchart of the CRM system and its functions are elaborated in the next section.

1. Flowchart

The CRM system has the following flowchart:
Potential client consultation (through telephone, email, face meeting and promotion activities) -> Input information of potential clients to CRM -> Free evaluation and feedback -> Retaining and Contract -> Case Set up > Attorney work and Clerk Work (filling application forms, writing and/or polishing reference letters) -> File application (FedEx) -> Input receipt notice from USCIS to CRM -> Notification of Client for the Receipt > Input the decision notice to CRM -> Inform clients the result of the case.
Next, we will explain each function of the CRM in our every day operation.

2. Potential Clients

Potential clients are those people who have contacted us by email, phone call, meeting, etc. or attended our seminars, but have not retained us. Z & A creates a profile for each potential client in the CRM, containing the potential client’s name, telephone number, email, initial contact time, case category, lead attorney, feedback schedule and other important information. Everyone who has contacted us will be recorded in our CRM system. Based on the profile of each potential client, the lead attorney will do a full evaluation of the client, and suggest the best immigration plan for the client. Potential clients’ information is well encrypted in the secured system. 

3. Communication with Potential Clients

It used to be an isolated event to respond to a potential client’s initial consultation or contact. However, with the help of the CRM system, we can promptly follow up a client’s communication and provide further professional suggestions regarding his/her case.

After a potential client contacts us, we enter the contact information into the CRM system immediately. The potential client is then assigned to an appropriate lead attorney. The lead attorney will follow up with the potential client, including giving a brief evaluation, and contacting the client. The CRM system will also remind the lead attorney about the task of following up with the potential clients. Therefore, with the help of the CRM system, fast service to each potential client is secured.

By accessing the case information in a matter of seconds from anywhere in the world, our attorneys are able to communicate that information to the potential clients in a few minutes and can answer the potential client’s questions and concerns immediately. This makes it possible for attorneys to respond to a potential client’s inquiries within 24 hours. In addition, after an attorney responds to a client inquiry, the CRM system will mark it as responded. Then, other attorneys who see this task will know that it is completed, and there would be no repetitive work involved. This helps to improve our work efficiency and customer satisfaction significantly.

One of the most important aspects of Siebel is the ability to set tasks to remind an attorney to respond to a case on time. This feature has a monitoring function. Z & A requires each attorney to respond any inquiry entered into the CRM system with 24 hours. The task feature ensures every attorney to see the task and monitor the feedback which is supposed to be done by the lead attorney.

At this stage, a lead attorney will evaluate a potential client’s credentials and the chance of a successful green card application or non-immigrant application. If a client is satisfied with the firm at this stage, the potential client may sign a retaining contract with the firm. After that, a potential client turns to a client, and all the information about the potential client will be converted to client information. An experienced attorney and legal assistants will start to work on the case.

4. Case Archiving

After a potential client becomes a client, his/her profile is conveted to a new client record, including a case record and a client contact information record. The case record contains personal information, case category, case status, lead attorney, fees, and over 100 items. The client information record contains phone numbers, email address, address, etc. CRM provides links among all the information in the system. This facilitates case search whenever necessary, improving work efficiency.

For example, Dr. Kim consulted us through emails in the beginning, and eventually retained us to file a NIW I-140 application and I-485 applications (derivative beneficiaries include his wife and daughter), When we search his case, we can see his own information, his wife’s I-485 case link, his daughter’s I-485 case link and all the communications in the format of email and phone conversation. When the attorney needs to see his profile, everything pops up within a couple of seconds.

After a case is started, it has a status of “In Process” in the CRM system. At this stage, the attorney will help the client prepare the application cover letter, fill out application forms, and supply the client with reference letter templates. After all materials are ready, we will mail the case package to the USCIS by FedEx. We enter the FedEx tracking number into the CRM system. 

Starting from the date when the USCIS receives a case, its status changes to “pending.” After we receive the USCIS’ receipt notice, we will enter all information on the notice into the CRM system, and send the notice to the client via email attached with a scanned version of the receipt notice. The original copy of the receipt notice is mailed to the client later on. A “pending” case status means a case has been filed with the USCIS and we are waiting on a determination from them. What we can do at this stage is only waiting and responding to any potential RFE.

The last step is the decision notice from USCIS. Most of our cases end up with approval notices. Information in an approval notice will be entered into the CRM system right away, and the original copy will be mailed out to the client within a couple of days.

In the entire process, each step is conducted through the CRM system, which is the platform of our every operation. All the information related to a case is stored in the system that means information is always a couple clicks away online. The CRM also helps us to monitor and control quality of each case. As a rule, each case is double checked by attorneys before it is filed with the USCIS. Without CRM system, the attorney needs to check all the paper documents of a case, which consumes substantial time. With the help of CRM, the quality control process is done very conveniently online.

5. Calendar Feature

In the CRM system, every user can set up his/her calendar and share it with others. Each attorney’s schedule is open to every user at the firm. Then, legal assistant can access and know each attorney’s schedule and make new arrangements. The calendar feature in the CRM system has an alarm function. For example, Dr. Park retained us to file I-485 petition in March. It is specified in his contract that the case will be filed three months later. At that time, we need to confirm if Dr. Park is in the US. If yes, we will file his I-485 adjustment of status petition; if not, he needs a consular processing. Because three months is a relatively long period of time, and an attorney needs to deal with substantial tasks very day. Therefore, a good alarm process is necessary to remind each task. In Dr. Park’s case, the attorney will be reminded by the calendar right on time to check his status and determine if he needs an I-485 adjustment of status petition or a consular processing.

6. Sort and Tabulate Feature

Tabulating is an advanced feature of the CRM system, and it helps us manage all information in the system. For example, we can sort and tabulate special kinds of cases, in terms of lead attorney, clients’ academic degree, clients’ employer, and so on. We constantly conduct research based on this feature to improve our services.

After Z&A expanded to three cities, it became difficult to communicate and possess all the information regarding cases or clients.  However, with the Oracle’s CRM system, all the members in Z&A are well connected and the whole firm is geared to handle cases at the three offices. With the CRM central database, the firm has provided an unified platform for the attorneys and supporting staff to work together seamlessly as a single team united for the benefit of our clients, making it seem like all of our members are under the same roof.    

Z&A will continue to use Siebel CRM as well as other cutting edge technologies to provide the best service and highest customer satisfaction for our clients. We always deliver the best.

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