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I am speaking on a panel for a law firm in a couple of weeks on client service. As you know, I write about that topic frequently based in part on what I learn about service from other businesses. In anticipation of my participation on the panel I put together an iBook Client Service Book , using iBooks Author. I think you will find some valuable ideas there.

I have recommended Raving Fans: A Revolutionary Approach To Customer Service many times on this blog. One of the main points of the book is to deliver what your customer expects, plus one. In other words provide extraordinary service that exceeds your client’s expectations.

Charlie, the main character in Raving Fans learns this secret at a service station. There he was greeted by two smiling service attendants in spotless uniforms. Needless to say the service was unlike what is experienced in most service stations today, yet the price was the same as the self service station. They called Charlie by name after seeing it on his credit card.

Charlie learned that the attendants were paid bonuses and were promoted on the basis of their service. After Charlie had paid for the gas, the attendants let Charlie know his business was really appreciated and gave him a gift certificate for a car wash and 10 percent off the next purchase.

The service station owner let the Charlie know that most importantly, you have to deliver all the time. The service has to be consistent to create credibility and earn trust. To accomplish that, Andrew suggested limiting the number of areas where you want to make a difference. Do one thing well and then move on to another thing. He also said to promise less than you deliver, but the focus in that statement is not to drive promises down, but rather to drive delivery up.

How can your law firm provide extraordinary service and exceed expectations? Here are a few ways:

  • First, figure out what your client expects, so you know the baseline to exceed.
  • Beat your budget or beat the estimated time to complete your project.
  • Be consistent and avoid surprises.
  • Do in-house workshops at no charge.
  • Share your legal research with your clients.
  • Sit in on your clients’ strategy meetings at no charge.
  • Whether it is a legal issue or not, when you find something you think may impact their business,  send them a copy.
  • Create guides on specific legal topics and give them to your clients.
  • Set up an extranet where your clients can access what is going on with their matter.
  • The latest thing is to create an iPhone app with the guide on it.
  • Brainstorm among your lawyers, and with your clients to find other ways to add value.

How would you assess your firm’s client service today? More importantly, how would your firm’s clients assess it?

P.S. I recommend iBooks Author as a tool for creating the handout for your next presentation.