By Nerino Petro at 20 August, 2009, 1:50 pm
If you haven’t subscribed to the gruntled employees
blog by Jay Shepherd (Shepherd Law Group), you should do so immediately. I always enjoy reading Jay’s blog as he consistently provides insights and information on management and law firm operations often times relating real world nonlegal experiences everyday needs of law offices and lawyers.One of his recent blog posts "We don’t treat our employees like children
" resonated with me as we’ve all experienced something similar to the two different dining experiences he had.
Jay did an eloquent job of conveying the idea that no matter how good the food is, poor service can take all of the enjoyment out of a meal, leaving you feeling dissatisfied and unhappy. I’ve often thought as well that even a mediocre meal can still result in a satisfactory experience if the service is excellent. This idea easily fits the legal world where the "meal" is the legal work you’re providing for client.
Do you know how your staff treats your clients or potential clients when they call? Are they pleasant on the phone or are they unprofessional and churlish? What kind of experience do your clients have when they come to your office? Are they welcomed warmly by your staff and treated as you would expect to be treated? Clients coming to your office should be treated in very much the same way as guests at a fine restaurant.
Too often have I see lawyers and law firms creating elaborate policies and guidelines but never taking the time to sit down and convey what they really want and expect from their staff. They don’t share their "vision" of how they want clients to experience receiving service from the firm. More importantly perhaps, they often don’t follow-up to see if their "vision" of client treatment is actually occurring or not.
Having elaborate and detailed written guidelines and policies will have absolutely no effect unless you lead by example with your staff and make them responsible for their actions. By the same token, you also need to treat your employees with respect and not second-guess them or embarrass them in front of clients. Remember, coming to your office and having legal work done shouldn’t be an unsatisfactory experience for your clients.