Sometime last year, I began receiving emails from a blog titled The Daily Blur, written by Tim Miles. I have no idea why I got on the list (though I’m sure I subscribed) but I found value in almost every email, so I kept reading. Tim is a Mac aficionado, and his emails helped guide me through my switchover. Handy tips, links to interesting posts across the ‘net, but I still wasn’t quite sure what the blog was all about.
After what seemed like a long silence in the Fall and early winter, I began getting daily emails at the beginning of this year, and they started focusing on customer service with a Jan. 9 post that announced “Best Buy Made My Mom Cry”. A long series of posts culminated in the eBook The Whats, Whos, Hows, & Whys of Shareworthy Customer Service, which is available for a minimum 99-cent donation to Touchpoint’s Central Missouri Autism Project. Being a sucker of a win/win proposition, and having been impressed with the blog series, I bought. So should you.
According to Tim, “shareworthy” customer service is composed of “policies and procedures that arouse such delight in customers that they head to Facebook and Twitter and their blogs to brag about you.” Realistic for lawyers? Probably not, given the sensitivity of the matters we handle for clients. What is attainable, however, is service that will prompt your clients to tell their friends and colleagues about you, service that makes it a pleasure to deal with you even (or perhaps especially) when the underlying matter is anything but a pleasure. You might even get call-outs on Facebook or Twitter, not to mention positive reviews on LinkedIn, Avvo, and the like.
Tim suggests that “shareworthy” service always has two common threads: professionalism and kindness. Each of these threads breaks down into seven subcategories, which Tim calls the 14 Facets of Shareworthy Customer Service:
- Active listening
Nailing these “whats” of shareworthy client service isn’t easy. It takes thought, creativity, and dedication. It also takes willingness to discover and shift following a failure.
Stories of terrific customer service help to inspire creativity, and Tim shares plenty of stories. One recounts the experiences of visiting the Cleveland Clinic. A hospital with great patient service? I’ve never heard of that before, but it appears that the Cleveland Clinic delivers from the get-go in ways that lawyers might adapt, such as making quick appointments designed to match the patient’s schedule, a website and social media presence that provides a plethora of useful information, and a health information file that patients can access and update. You can deliver amazing customer/client/patient service, regardless of whom you serve or what you do.
Where Tim’s eBook excels (and where it goes substantially beyond the series of posts I mentioned earlier) is in its implementation section — the “how” of shareworthy customer service. In short: get granular. Ask your staff to implement each of the 14 Facets. They may know more about what frustrates and what delights your clients, and they’ll certainly have insight that you’d miss otherwise. What’s more, they know what will energize the team, the ones who create the client service experience. Energize the team, get them thinking about how to dazzle the client, and you change your clients’ experience.
What if you don’t have a staff, or if you’re a cog in a large firm wheel? You can still apply Tim’s insights. You’ll find it helpful to get input from others about what kind of client service they want and need, and you can even seize the opportunity to ask your clients for their suggestions. (You’re a large firm associate with little direct client contact? Remember, the more senior lawyers with whom you work are your clients.)
There’s more to it, of course, and I encourage you to buy the eBook for the rest of the story. It’s 93 pages long, you can read it in no time flat, and your brain will light up with ways that you can make your clients’ experience better. I’m always skeptical of something that only costs a buck, and especially skeptical when a product purchase benefits a charity, but I’m glad I took the plunge on this — and even happy that I chose to pay more than the recommended 99 cents.
As for me, I felt inspired when I finished the eBook, and I have a list of changes to make. It’s tough work that always delivers rewards. If you’re ready to improve your client service, buy Tim’s eBook today and read it by the end of the weekend.