How to Become a Client Visionary - Look to Your Mechanic, Subway Sandwich Maker etc.

Posted by Douglas Sorocco at April 25, 2005 07:47 PM

Matt Homann appears to have come out of LexThink induced blogging hibernation today and has fired off several client service oriented posts.  Well worth stopping by The [non]Billable Hour.

One of Matt’s posts was about becoming a “client in order to become a visionary” with the main premise being that lawyers don’t often go out and use legal services, so we don’t see “it” from the point of view of the client. Matt suggests going to the best attorney in town who has the worst client service reputation and see how you are treated. 

Interesting experiment – I will be curious to see if anyone takes the challenge and the outcome.

I don’t think most lawyers would learn anything from the experience, however. Why?  I don’t believe that most lawyers would be able to apply the experience to their own circumstances. 

Think about it for a moment – we are deluged daily with bad service experiences.  For every bad lawyer client service cliche there is one from your daily life:

    • A receptionist who puts people on hold: the gum chewing young woman who ignores you while talking on the phone to her boyfriend.  
    • Not returning a client’s phone call:  the doctor who waited three days to call you back with the results of your test results.
    • Unexpected bills/surcharges: the cellphone bill, the mechanics bill, the building contractor (this list is endless).

While it would be convenient to explain away poor client service on the basis of the lawyer never being in the shoes of a client, there are more than enough examples in our day to day lives that we should be able to draw upon.

The problem is, lawyers tend not to borrow from outside experiences.  For example, we don’t tend to read outside our comfort zone nor do we apply the experiences we have gained in our day to day lives to the problems confronting our cleints.  Not really all that much different than the doctor who makes you wait for 90 minutes in an examination room by yourself.  How would that doctor react if his lawyer made him wait 90 minutes with no explanation?

So, instead of being a client – why not simply make a list of service providers you hate, loathe, despise or abhor and then detail what they have done to make it on the list. 

And then do the opposite. 

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