Last week Nancy and I were in Los Angeles and we stayed at my favorite hotel The Peninsula Beverly Hills. It is probably one of the more expensive hotels in the area, but I am willing to pay more because the service is far superior. The rooms are nice, the mattress and pillows are nice, but it is the service that brings me back each time. What can you learn from the Peninsula?
In my last post One Sure Way to Stand Out from the Crowd: Provide Better Service, I pointed out that while most all law firms talk about client service, a high percentage do not deliver it. Since law firms know their clients are not enthused by the service they receive, it should be a top priority for every law firm. Why isn’t service a top priority? From my experience in my own firm, I think I know some of the reasons:
- Client service is not an integral part of the firm, office or practice group strategy.
- Client service is not financially rewarded in compensation or bonuses.
- Client service is not part of the firm, office or practice group culture.
- Senior lawyers don’t teach junior lawyers client-focused strategies.
- No systems ensure client service is carried out.
At my old law firm I went to monthly practice group leader meetings. Client service was never mentioned at any meeting. I went to our annual retreats. Client service was never mentioned at any retreat. We did client surveys to determine what our best clients wanted. We never formulated a plan to implement what our clients told us.
Your clients expect your lawyers to do good work. You and every law firm you compete with does good work. Like The Peninsula, you can differentiate your firm by providing extraordinary service.
When was the last time your firm brainstormed ideas and formulated a plan to improve client service? When was the last time your firm asked its best clients to share one client service idea that would most benefit them? You have a huge chance to differentiate your firm if you make client service a priority.