(Guest post by Keith Wewe)
While passing time during the Olympic commercials, I wandered upon a book review (http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/10_08/b4167079069773.htm) in Business Week of “The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right” by Atul Gawande. It’s the byline that caught my eye – “How tragic errors can be sharply reduced with a piece of paper, hand-drawn boxes, and a pencil.”
The author examines how the ever-simple and lowest-tech checklist can greatly improve outcomes. Successful examples include a decrease in infection rates at hospitals, the triumphant flying of the Boeing B-17 in World War II and the heroic landing of US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River.
Where is the example of the lawyer and a satisfied client?
It occurs to me that as we enter the 4.0 era of client service we should not forget to check-off the basic tenets of client happiness. The forget-me-nots below (an homage to Valentine’s Day) are must-do’s for any lawyer working with any client.
· Return the client’s phone call within 2 hours (or have your designee do so)
· Provide unbilled value to client by making introductions and peer connections for her
· Demonstrate willingness to understand the client’s business in his terms
· Take a critical eye to all invoices before they are sent
· Identify potential landmines long before they explode.
This checklist may seem simple and old-school (attorneys have been talking about this for decades), but how often are the individual elements forgotten? Add them to your daily client service canon – write them down, actually do them, and you’ll create the best foundation on which to build a successful (and mutually profitable) client relationship.
But don’t stop here. Create a Post-it® note checklist (that’s how simple it can be) for your client service and marketing activities to ensure compliance. In client loyalty interviews, we often hear that it is these basic relationship investments that set one lawyer above the others in the fray.
If you want some free feedback on your checklist, share it confidentially with us — email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Keith Wewe, Director of Client Service and Growth, Content Pilot LLC