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August 01, 2008

"All hat, no cattle"


Real client service--i.e., know-how consistently delivered as an experience the customer likes and wants more of--is by now a global cliché. Hey, you must say you are "into" it--but do you even know what it is? It sounds easy, and intuitive to the speaker and listener. "Client and customer service...how hard could that be?" But making a client be safe and feel safe at the same time is as hard an order to fill as we can imagine.

Whether you're a lawyer, accountant or house painter, superior work alone won't keep a good client or customer coming back. Clients want something more. You have to figure out what that is. And then everyone in your shop--yes, everyone--has to buy into CS like a cult, like a religion, like an angry sermon that took them out of their pews at The Church of the Final Thunder.

"Yes, yes, got that covered." One problem is self-deception: (1) most service providers think they know what CS is, but they don't; and (2) if they really do know, they don't know how to discipline their organizations to make CS stick. (WAC?, by the way, does know what and how; the reason we give away our "secrets" is that we are confident that virtually none of you will ever be able to get and deliver client service. Color us in-your-face.)

"All hat, no cattle." The second and more immediate problem is deceiving clients themselves. At a minimum, even if you don't have a clue what CS really is, do you say you provide it when you don't? Is CS a little joke at your shop? A ruse, maybe? Something for the website? For that first pitch? Well, there are voices in the wilderness besides ours on that one. And one of our favorites is Tom Kane at The Legal Marketing Blog. See again his post from June, "Don't Let Client Service Be Merely Lip Service" and the related links.

Posted by JD Hull at August 1, 2008 11:59 PM


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