I have learned a great deal about client service from my experiences staying in hotels.

During the last week in June, Nancy and I visited McCall, Idaho, a beautiful town I heartily recommend.

This was our second visit in the last three years. This time we wanted to spend a night at the Shore Lodge. It is an incredible place with awesome rooms looking out on the beautiful Payette Lake.

Our room was really impressive. I remember the room number and we’ll ask for that room next time we visit. Here is the view from our balcony.

Shore Lodge View

I have been in law firm offices with great lake views, including several Toronto offices. But, most law firm offices can’t match the Shore Lodge views. But, you can match their service.

Keep in mind we were only staying one night at the hotel.

When I booked our golf package in April, I received an email titled: We are excited for your arrival to Shore Lodge. The email included a section on planning our stay and invited us to contact the concierge for help.

A few days later I received a call from the concierge to set up our golf tee time at Whitetail Club.

A few days before our arrival, I received a second call from the concierge, just calling to ask if we had any special requests or if she could answer any questions we may have.

When we showed up at the Whitetail Club, a young man met us and took our golf clubs and offered to park our car. When we went into the pro shop, we met Todd who I assume is the golf pro or one of them. He helped us find everything including the driving range and 1st and 10th tees.

At the conclusion of our round he met us to get our feedback on our round of golf and the young man offered to get our car and bring it to us.

Even though it is expensive, we will definitely go back to the Shore Lodge and definitely play golf at Whitetail Club. The hotel and golf course are magnificent, but the service is what will bring us back.

What can your law firm learn from our experience? I’m sure there are many things, but one of them is to make each client, no matter how big or small,  feel like they are the most important client the firm will ever have.

Yesterday I flew from Dallas to Denver. I scheduled the flight so I would have 90 minutes before my first coaching session.

Boing on runway
Boing on runway

When I took my seat on the plane, I told my seat mate I had not flown on many MD 80s lately because they are so old they were being retired. (Note: It was not the plane in the photo above.)

More than an hour after we were supposed to take off, the captain announced that the mechanical problem could not be fixed and they were taking the plane out of service. They would bring another plane to a different gate and we would leave from there.

We took our bags, left the plane stood by and 30 minutes later the gate agent announced the new gate. When we got there we waited as the plane was coming from another city fully loaded with passengers. Finally it arrived, the passengers got off, the cleaning crew did its task and we boarded.

Just when we thought we would be under way, the Captain announced the plane had a maintenance issue. Finally, it was fixed and we were on our way over three hours late.

I’m convinced airline employees are taught to say certain things like:

We are sorry for your inconvenience.

We appreciate your patience. (I was one of many who was not the least bit patient. I had to cancel two coaching sessions,)

Suppose you failed to meet a date. What would your clients say if you told them you were sorry for their inconvenience? Wouldn’t it be more than just an inconvenience?

How would they respond if you told them you appreciate their patience?

As many of you know, a law firm partner I coached went in-house in 2015 and shared with me ideas he wished he had thought of when he was with his law firm.

Last year I posted:

Client Development Tips: From Law Firm Lawyer Who is Now In-House

Client Development: More Tips from a Law Firm Lawyer Who is Now In-House and

Client Development: Even More Tips from a Law Firm Lawyer Who is Now In-House

Screen Shot 2014-01-03 at 4.01.49 PM

Well, my friend is back again with some new ideas for 2016. All three of the posts above and the one today are focused on improving client service.

I invite any of you who are interested to take a look at the four posts, pick out the top ideas from each and share with me how you might implement the ideas in 2016.

Cordell,

Here are some additional client relationship/client development tips:

If you get an RFP from me, look at value added (i.e. no or minimal cost to me) items you can bundle with your RFP response. This can help make your proposal stand out from the crowd. Plus, you may have thought of something that I haven’t thought of which makes real sense. When I am evaluating a proposal, I’m looking at total value to my company.

One way for me to get to know your firm better is to include me on your e-mail / webinar / seminar lists. I might not be able to attend your seminar, but someone in my organization likely will. This is true even if the seminar doesn’t directly impact the area I support.

Understand that in our view, there is no single law firm that can do all of our work. Law firms frequently do not see themselves in the way that in-house counsel see them. For example, if you see that we have been sued and you are tempted to send it to me in the hopes that you get the work, ask if you truly have expertise in the area. Do you have additional knowledge that would make your hiring make sense? Do you know the Plaintiff’s counsel? Do you have (or have you had) a similar case recently? Ultimately, I have to be prepared to defend my choice of counsel.

When I was outside counsel, I used to ask my clients, “What keeps you up at night?” While on the surface that seems like a reasonable question, it’s too easy to respond “nothing” or “not much.” For me, better questions to ask me are: “What kind of projects are you working on?” “Do you have anything you are working on that we could give you a quick – no charge – review?” “Do you have any recurring issues that we could help you brainstorm ?” “When was the last time you had your severance agreements reviewed?” Look for an opportunity to showcase your talents. You may have to do as unpaid, but I might be able to pay you for it.

One way to assist me – and help you in getting your name before others in my company – is to look where we operate. If we operate in Florida, think about whether you have a desk guide on operating in Florida. Do you have a 50-state guide – or multi-state guide – on a particular issue relevant to me or those who I support?

If you are going to have someone speak at a presentation at my company, make sure they are a good speaker. Nothing hurts you like having a poor speaker who reads their slides, seems nervous, or uncomfortable. Believe me, we talk later about what we saw – good and bad.

I especially appreciated the ideas suggested instead of asking what is keeping you up at night. I always felt that was a trite marketing question that came from a book on sales. My friends questions are far more effective.

In law, we have ethical rules on how we many handle a client’s funds. Among many things those funds may not be co-mingled with the lawyer’s funds.

What would you think if you prepaid a third party for a vacation in December, 2014 and showed up last week only to find that the third party never paid the resort? That’s what happened to us and I was shocked.

In December, 2014 we prepaid LuxuryLink.com for a three day package at Secrets Puerto Los Cabos. We love the resort and highly recommend it.

On December 9, 2015 Nancy and I arrived at Secrets. The person checking us in found our reservation. After he had made keys for us, he asked for my credit card. I assumed it was for some type of incidentals since we had paid for an extensive package.

At that point, I sadly learned Secrets had never been paid.

I called the LuxuryLink.com phone number from the website that remains unchanged to this day. When I finally spoke to a real person, I explained that our credit card had been charged $920 last December and we had a record of payment, but Secrets claimed that it had not been paid.

I had a strong sense this was not going to end well, when she told me she had to speak to her supervisor. When she got back on she told me that the new Luxury Link owner would not honor the payment I had made to the old Luxury Link owner.

After paying a second time for our three day vacation, albeit at a lower rate because Secrets Los Cabos, while not at fault does understand something about brand loyalty, I did some research.

First I found this on a Better Business Bureau site:

The BBB has been informed the following information:

Effective immediately, Luxury Link LLC aka Luxury Link Travel Group has ceased all operations and entered into a General Assignment for the Benefit of Creditors (ABC), following which all of its assets will be sold. As a result, Luxury Link will not be able to honor the travel you have booked through it…

Luxury Link Management

Luxury Link went bankrupt in May, six full months after we paid them for our Secrets vacation.

Here is one of many articles I found, explaining why I was likely screwed: Luxury Link Ceases Operations: Customers Paid for Hotels, May Be Out of Luck.

Here is what I learned in my old age:

Hotels don’t get paid right away when you make a booking through a third party like Luxury Link. Luxury Link has your money, and will pay later. Only they aren’t going to do that in this case. They just have your money.

At least Nancy and weren’t going on our honeymoon. Here is an article about a couple that lost $1800 for their dream honeymoon trip. Engaged couple about to honeymoon in Nicaragua loses trip to apparent scam. This article gives out the former CEO’s email address. I suspect he has closed that email address by now.

There are many more articles and over 16 pages of comments on a Trip Advisor page: please help Luxury Link Secrets PM.

Having been burned, I’m not certain I will ever prepay and book through a third party again. I certainly will never use LuxuryLink.com again.

Leila Rafi and Elder Marques are two McCarthy Tétrault  Toronto partners I coached a couple of years ago. You might recall they wrote a guest post here a year ago. Fast Forward: What Will You Be Doing in 2020?

Because I greatly value their ideas, I asked them to write another guest post. Here is what they had to say about The Client Revolution.

Leila and Elder

Measuring time by the billable hour has always been a cornerstone of the legal profession – not only for charging clients, but also assessing lawyer productivity and significantly impacting compensation. Accordingly, when clients started to question the billable hour, they raised concerns that have had a revolutionary effect on the way legal work is done, measured and valued. These issues are at the heart of how law firms do work for clients and the methodology used to incentivize their lawyers.

How should law firms respond?

First, they should make sure that they are giving clients more value for their money. For some clients, this may mean complimentary seminars for their business leaders and the use of office space; for others it may mean secondments to help address gaps among in-house legal teams, or entering into creative fixed-fee arrangements that permit ad hoc advice in key areas.

Second, they need to be bold about re-thinking what they do. The lawyers and firms that will truly excel in the profession are those that will think creatively about the way they actually help their clients solve problems. As a starting point, there are three questions that lawyers need to ask themselves in dealing with clients:

  1. What problems do we help our clients solve?
  2. Who do we need to work with to solve those problems?
  3. How can we do it most efficiently?

Understanding Challenges from the Client’s Perspective

Clients have always come to their lawyers for solutions to legal issues. Increasingly, those issues have become more complex depending on the nature of a client’s business. Some of that increasing complexity is because of changes to public policy – for example, regulatory changes – while in other cases it’s caused by technological change or public expectations about transparency and accountability.

The advent of social media has completely transformed the management of reputation, branding and stakeholder relations. Technological changes are disrupting traditional business models in a range of industries. Clients still need legal advice first and foremost, but more than ever lawyers must really understand their clients’ businesses, and the environments in which they operate.

Who Lawyers Work with to Solve those Problems

Never before has playing nice in the sandbox been so important. Many legal problems cross borders or have high-risk shareholder, stakeholder and public relations implications that cause in-house counsel a lot of anxiety. To be equipped to handle such matters, lawyers can’t work in a vacuum.

As a result, depending on the deal, case or issue at hand, lawyers need to consider whether they need to bring in other advisors to provide a client with a comprehensive solution. Such advisors can include colleagues in other practice areas of the same firm, and outside specialists like media and communications specialists, government relations experts, forensic accountants, consultants or other law firms.

Doing it All Efficiently

Expensive”. That’s the phrase typically associated with “lawyers”. Add some more professional advisors, and it only gets worse….. Lawyers must be pro-active in developing workable cross-functional teams where tasks aren’t duplicated and time is not wasted.

Clients should never pay for duplication, so each member of an advisory team (internal and external) needs to have clarity on their role. Project management tools can be applied to create and control budgets and costs and steer the work product towards what the client wants. All the foregoing help to meet a client’s expectations and bring innovation to fee arrangements. Ongoing communication among the team and with the client is key to nurturing the trusted advisory role.

What Next?

If law firms are to be prepared for this future of collaboration and problem-solving, they need to:

  1. Ensure that they truly understand the industries in which their clients operate.
  2. Develop effective relationships with other professional advisory firms and be prepared to collaborate, including by looking at alternative fee arrangements.
  3. Reward lawyers who demonstrate the skill set that fosters collaboration, both internally and externally.

Lawyers need to inspire clients. The way of the future is incentivizing lawyers to be industry-savvy, collaborative and creative in their client focus. Like it or not, the revolution is happening and it’s up to lawyers to ensure that they are ready and remain relevant.

What do you think?

 

Do you remember the tips I posted from a former law firm lawyer who is now in-house? If not, here was the first post: Client Development Tips: From Law Firm Lawyer Who is Now In-House and the second: Client Development: More Tips from a Law Firm Lawyer Who is Now In-House.

Well my friend has even more tips for you. Here are some he recently shared with me.

Tips

I would describe this as billing and service issues:

  1. If you quote me a price for a flat fee, don’t add an administrative fee. Flat fee means flat fee.
  2. When you proof your bill, imagine what the recipient is going to think when they open it. Does it make sense? Will I understand what you did? Will who I send your bill to internally understand it?
  3. If I am shocked by the size of your bill (it happened to me in the first month), then we have a problem. I may just decide not to call you again.
  4. Get your bills to me on a timely basis. I was once in your shoes and understand the importance of me paying on time. But, if you can’t get me a timely bill, I will wonder why.
  5. Provide a cover letter with your bills if you are mailing them. It lets me know you actually read the bill before it was sent. Read your bill before you send it by the way – see above.
  6. When it comes to billing your time, take a long term view. Don’t try to bill every second of every minute to me. Occasionally, note “No charge” on a short call to let me know you value the relationship.
  7. I am frequently calling outside counsel because I need assistance with a problem. Rather than offer to do a memo on the subject, offer to ghost write an e-mail that I can send internally. That has far more value than a memo.
  8.  Trust of outside counsel is enormous. It is harder for you to overcome bad service than getting your foot in the door to begin with. If I have to keep addressing issues with your work (i.e. billing, level of service, etc.) then I may lose trust in you. If that happens, you can assume I will steer our work elsewhere. Also, if the people I support don’t want to work with you, don’t assume I can change their mind or override them.
  9. If you don’t have expertise on an issue, be honest with me about it. I am relying on you to be straight with me on who can assist us. If you can’t help me, I’ll respect that and call back for other work.
  10. When I assign you a project, ask me questions. When do I need it? What type of answer am I looking for (short answer, draft e-mail, etc.)? Do I want a quick look or a deep dive on the issue? Talking it out might help me refine what I need and what you should be doing in response.
  11. I occasionally call counsel for recommendations on an area outside of theirs. Give me good options and don’t worry about whether who you recommend will “steal me away.” I’m not that fickle and I am loyal to the firms who I can trust.
  12. Occasionally, I need to call outside counsel for a sanity check i.e. “My gut says the answer is…, what do you think?” If that’s you, then you are viewed as one of my go-to firms. Don’t charge me for the call or e-mail if quick. Answer if you can and then ask if I want you to put some time into the issue.

 

I recently did a presentation for a law firm on client service. One thing I shared was clients may not easily recognize the quality of your legal work, but they can easily recognize the quality of your service and it begins with your staff.

I published this blog in 2011. It is worth reading again and if you want more on client service, here is a link to my Client Service eBook.

It’s 5:00 AM and I am sitting in the Admiral’s Club at the Philadelphia airport. For the last three nights I have stayed at the Ritz Carlton.

As you likely know Ritz Carlton refers to its staff as “ladies and gentlemen.”  The Ritz Carlton Leadership Center even has a blog that occasionally features some of their ladies and gentlemen. As you also know, law Firms refer to their staff as “non-lawyers.” I suspect the morale of the Ritz Carlton ladies and gentlemen is greater than your non-lawyers.

A1 Plus.jpgIsn’t the professional staff of a law firm as important to the level of service clients receive as the ladies and gentlemen who work with Ritz Carlton? When I practiced law, I thought so, and after reading Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles book  Raving Fans: A Revolutionary Approach To Customer Service I decided to create a”Plus One Client Service” program in each of our offices.

I wanted to share with you the game plan in case you want to start a program. We created office contests. Here is the plan one of our offices used that your office can use as a model:

  1. Purchase several copies of the book and circulate to your staff.
  2. Ask each staff member to answer the three Raving Fans secrets:
    • What do you want?
    • What do your clients (lawyers in the office and clients) want?
    • What three things can we do to really make a difference with our clients?
  3. For each service area decide:
    • What your service area wants.
    • What your service area’s clients want.
    • What three things your service area can do to make the greatest difference.
  4. Then the office administrator announces the contest. The staff will vote at the end of the year for which person in the office best represents the “Raving Fans” ideals. The prize might be weekend at a resort.
  5. Begin putting into practice: Each staff group in the office sets three top goals to be handled consistently Plus One.
  6. Long Term Goal:The staff discusses and creates their purpose, core values and mission statement of how they want to work as a team.
  7. Then, for the rest of the year the office staff shares and celebrates delivering plus one service.
  8. At the end of the year the staff in the office votes on the Plus One award.

I was recently asked what was one important thing I learned about building loyal client relationships. Great question. I responded:

Clients cannot always recognize great legal work, But, they can always recognize a lawyer and law firm who cares about them and makes every effort to provide exceptional client service.

When was the last time client service was on the agenda for a meeting at your firm? If you get a chance brainstorm how you can improve client service. Here are 21 of my ideas.

  1. Learn about the client’s company, business and industry at your expense.
  2. Identify clients’ needs that have the greatest impact on their business success and develop a solution to meet those needs.
  3. Ask clients to identify their objectives before beginning work and then develop a plan to achieve those objectives.
  4. Ask clients how often and how they want to receive communications on their matter.
  5. Establish scope of work, provide an estimate of time, identify law firm staffing and prepare a budget at the outset of any project.
  6. Advise clients when scope of work has changed, the time required to perform work has increased, law firm staffing needs to be changed, or fees may exceed the budget.
  7. Timely return phone  calls and emails.
  8. Deliver value as perceived by the client.
  9. Place young lawyers in your clients’ offices so they can truly “know” the clients’ needs, wants and desires and develop relationships with the clients’ representatives. (They will also likely bring billable work back to the office.).
  10.  Conduct in-house seminars and workshops for clients. If the workshop is for the clients’ legal department, obtain CLE credit for the clients’ lawyers.
  11. Seek to use technology like an extranet to improve efficiency and provide more cost effective services.
  12. Keep your client informed about “breaking news” that might impact them.
  13. Prepare an agenda for each meeting with specific stated objectives and be prepared for the meeting. Prepare action items at the conclusion of the meeting.
  14. Exceed clients’ expectations – to take a thought from the book Raving Fans by Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles: Deliver what the client wants-plus one.
  15. When something goes wrong, take responsibility and apologize.
  16. Let clients know when they, or others, can do the work better, or at a lower cost.
  17. Make sure bills are accurate, reflect value of the work performed, do not have names of billers unfamiliar to the client, and are prepared in accordance with the clients needs.
  18.  Offer to attend client business meetings at no charge.
  19. Never waste the client representative’s time.
  20. Ask good questions.
  21. Actively listen.

As you may know, I am a big fan of the Ritz Carlton. I have written about my favorite hotel chain both here and for Practical Lawyer. Recently I wrote: How a Law Firm Can Provide “Ritz Carlton” Service . Take a look you may get some additional ideas.

Today at 1:00 CST, Shawn Tuma and I are doing a Webinar on blogging and social media for the Legal Marketing Association. It is called: Simple Ways to Effectively Use Social Media to Help Build Your Law Practice and it is sponsored by the Social Media SIG. If your marketing professional is a member of the LMA, I encourage you to set up the conference room so you and your lawyer colleagues can participate.

If things go well in your career eventually, larger and perhaps more important clients will replace those who came to you first. How will you treat those first clients who are no longer as important to you as they once were?

I never forgot those first clients. I believed that if it was not for those clients, I would not have had the opportunity to get the larger clients.

I have recently discovered what it feels like to not be the “top dog’ customer of my favorite airline. When Nancy and I lived in Virginia, I regularly flew on Delta Airlines and US Air (after it acquired Piedmont Airlines). I have over a Million Miles on Delta, so I am a permanent Silver Medallion member, which doesn’t mean much more than boarding a plane slightly earlier than the half of the passengers who have no status.

Even though I rarely flew on American Airlines, I joined their frequent flyer program when it started. When we moved to Dallas in 1996, and Delta essentially moved out shortly thereafter, I became a loyal American Airlines passenger.  When American started the Executive Platinum status, I earned it every year, but one by flying over 100,000 miles. For many years, I also purchased the American Airlines AAirpass.

To show you how important being Executive Platinum was to me, two years in December I made roundtrip flights to Los Angeles in December, just to get the miles. Each time I would get off the plane at LAX, go to Starbucks and get a latte and re-board the same plane back to Dallas.

It was a heck of a way to spend Saturdays in December. If you think that is taking a flying status to an extreme, keep in mind that I was one of well over 20 passengers on each flight doing the same thing. I also talked to a flyer one time who told me he actually traveled to Tokyo, got off the plane slept a few hours and returned to Dallas just to keep his executive platinum status.

Several years ago, I received mail from American Airlines. When I opened the envelope, I was ecstatic to learn I had become a ConciergeKey member. You can read about it here. I confess, I have never received the kind of service I received as a ConciergeKey member.

I can tell you many stories. I will just tell one to give you the idea. A few years ago, Nancy and I were returning from Ireland. The plane from Chicago was late getting to Dublin, so we were late returning to Chicago. While we were rebooked on a later flight to DFW, the plane landed at O’Hare so late we would have missed that one. We were met at the gate by a ConciergeKey professional who whisked us away in a cart, help get our bags, get us through customs, personally rechecked our bags to Dallas and took us to the gate where our flight to Dallas was boarding. It was incredible.

Did you see the 2009 movie Up in the Air? If you did you likely remember the scene near the beginning when the George Clooney character and the Vera Farmiga character are comparing their elite status. They match pretty evenly until he pulls out his ConciergeKey card. You can see George Clooney throw his ConciergeKey card on the table in the trailer below or link to it here.

So, where am I now? Unfortunately, (or maybe fortunately given the stress of air travel and staying in hotels), I am coaching far fewer lawyers than the 120 I coached just a few years ago and as a result I no longer fly 100,000 miles a year. If I flew to Tokyo and back every weekend in December I doubt I would reach 100,000 miles this year.

As you will see on the card above, my ConciergeKey status expired in 2011. No one is there to meet me at the gate when things go wrong now. I was never really sure what I had done to be asked to be a ConciergeKey member and I truly never understood what I had done, other than getting older to lose the status.  All I know is that once I had it, I really miss not having it.

I have 4,959,459 Million Miler Miles, almost 5 Million. When I reached 1 Million Miles, I became a lifetime Gold member. When I reached 2 Million Miles, I became a lifetime Platinum member. When I reached 3 Million Miles, I was thanked and reminded that I am a lifetime Platinum member. When I reached 4 Million Miles, I was thanked again and reminded again that I am a lifetime Platinum member. I assume the same will happen when I reach 5 Million miles.

Why do I care? What difference does it make?

If any of you have reached the top elite status of your favorite airline you know what a big difference it makes. Among the many differences is just how you are treated. On American, I no longer receive the several system wide upgrades that Nancy and I used to fly in Business Class to Europe and Hawaii. I rarely get upgraded now and I have to pay for it when I do. It is a world of difference.

To American Airlines credit, I have been asked many times for my opinion and I have told them repeatedly that when those of us who have close to 5 million miles on American reach 65, or pick an age, we should get 5 years Executive Platinum status without having to fly 100,000 miles.

Oh, there is one nice part of my flying story. Back in the early 80s when Piedmont Airline offered its first airline clubs, Nancy and I bought lifetime memberships for I believe $300. When US Air acquired Piedmont, we became lifetime US Air Club members. That did not do us much good when we moved to Dallas. But, now that American and US Air have merged, we have lifetime Admiral’s Club membership.

 

 

If someone asked your clients about the quality of your law firm’s service, what would they say if they knew it would not get back to you? Some might say it is “ok,” but that is code for not very good. Some might say your law firm’s client service is “unforgettable,” like the song made famous by Nat King Cole.  So, the question is will they say your law firm’s client service is unforgettably good, just ok, or unforgettably bad?

Let me illustrate by telling you of my own experience. As I have gotten older, all of my old injuries, stress from running, lifting weights that were too heavy etc., have caught up with me. In the last 10 years I have visited several Orthopedic surgeons and had  arthroscopic knee surgery on both knees, hand surgery, and a hip replacement.

I would say the service at my first doctor’s office was “ok.” The service at my second doctor’s office was unforgettably bad. It was so bad I told my physical therapist after my hip surgery that he should have a heart to heart talk with the doctor’s chief assistant. So far, the service by my third doctor’s office has been unforgettably good.

Last year my knees started hurting again. After an MRI, I was scheduled to have surgery in January. Even though I thought the service at his office was unforgettably bad, I scheduled the surgery with the doctor who had replaced my hip.

In December I read several articles about a study. See: Common knee surgery ineffective in study and Procedure to repair a torn meniscus worked no better than a fake one to ease lingering pain. I decided not to have the surgery and notified the surgeon’s office to cancel.

Recently my knees have hurt more than ever before, even more than before the first surgeries. So,  I called the Orthopedic surgeon’s office to re-schedule the surgery on my right knee. I was told he no longer takes my insurance, but his brand new partner does. ( I thought that was akin to a partner in a law firm telling her long time client that she would no longer help that client, but a first year associate in the firm could litigate the client’s case.)

I called the surgeon’s office who had done both of my previous knee surgeries and found out he also no longer was on the list for my insurance. (I wondered if I had Obama Care to thank for that or was it just the fact I was on Medicare.)

I then went searching on the internet for orthopedic surgeons near my home. That is not the way I would normally find a doctor to perform surgery, but, I was surprised to find a site that was the equivalent of Trip Advisor, only for Orthopedic Surgeons. If you look at the site, you will see that one surgeon was “featured.” I wondered if that was like some of the lawyer ratings where the lawyer or firm pays to be featured.

In my search I found Plano Orthopedic Sports Medicine & Spine Center and made an appointment. I called both of my previous surgeons asking them to send my records to my new doctor’s office. My knee doctor’s assistant both called and emailed me to say she had sent my records and to wish me well. In spite of asking for a confirmation that the records had been sent, I never heard back from the office of the doctor who was supposed to do the surgery in January.

On the day of my appointment, I called the surgeon’s office again.  The receptionist asked if I had called Plano Orthopedics to see if they had received them. I thought that was an odd question to ask and told her so. When I said this was the third time I had requested the records be transferred she said she would fax them.

When I arrived for my appointment, I was immediately impressed with how differently I was treated by the staff. The receptionist was very helpful. The first person who escorted me to the examining room introduced himself and called me by name. The young man who escorted me to X-Ray introduced himself, called me by name and asked if I had enjoyed my 4th of July weekend. The X-Ray technician introduced herself, called me by name and helped me through the procedure. Another assistant came by, introduced himself and asked where the most recent MRI had been done on my knee. When I told him, he said he would get it from them.

Dr. McGarry was very helpful. He explained things to me that had never been explained before. He said he had received all the records from my knee doctor, but had not received the MRI from my hip doctor. He thought another steroid shot and therapy was a good place for us to start. For whatever reason his shot was not nearly as painful as the one I had previously.

What’s the point? I have great confidence in my new doctor and his staff. Right from the beginning I was treated differently. The doctor and staff are very professional, helpful and kind. I am telling you about it and I will certainly tell anyone who asks about orthopedic surgeons.

What impression is your receptionist making on new clients? What impression are your trusty assistants making? What impression are you making? If you, your law firm and its professional staff make a strong, positive impression on new clients, you will far exceed the impression made by most law firms. That is unforgettably good.

Are your clients saying your client service is unforgettably good? Want more? Take a look at my eBook on Client Service.