A recent trip to a nearby tack shop to pick up some chicken feed got me thinking about the culture of our businesses seen through the eyes of our teams.
My wife and I headed over to a nearby tack shop on a Sunday, a little before 1pm. I decided to wait in the car and as I waited I observed a growing crowd outside the front door. It looked like they couldn’t get in. My wife, who was one of the few people in the store, returned and told me how happy she was to have gotten there on time because the store closed at 1pm and were turning people away. She was one of the “lucky ones” because she made it there under the wire just before they shut their doors.
But wait. It was only a few minutes after 1 pm, and they were already turning people away? What? Turning people away? The owner couldn’t possibly be inside turning away cash paying customers!
Putting Client First
Although running a tack shop and running a law firm are different in more ways than not, the same core philosophies apply to any business – whether you’re selling chicken feed or preparing complicated legal documents. One of the key elements to building a successful business is putting clients first and not just meeting, but exceeding their expectations.
Sure, maybe your law firm’s hours are 8:30am – 5pm, but what happens if you have a prospective client call you at 5:01pm? Are you going to turn them away because it’s closing time or are you going to do everything possible to accommodate their needs?
Furthermore, do you know what’s going on in your business when you’re not there? Are you 100% sure?
Is your team clear on your mission and the firm’s philosophy to go out of their way to exceed clients and prospective clients’ expectations? Or are they turning people away directly or in ways they don’t even realize?
Creating a Client-Centric Culture
When you break it down, establishing a successful law firm that’s built for sustainability is primarily based on building meaningful, lasting relationships. When your first priority is to take care of your clients and show them the respect they deserve, you’ll create a strong foundation for your business.
On the other hand, cutting corners and pushing them away in the manner that my wife experienced at the tack shop will negatively impact your relationships – and those customers who were ready to give you their business, will probably go find someone else who will happily have them as clients.
Every Interaction is Important
It’s crucial to have your entire team on the same page, and that is to place an emphasis on creating a “Wow” experience for your clients at every opportunity. Communicating expectations with your team and clearly defining your firm’s philosophies will help everyone effectively create a client-centric firm. Every meeting, every phone call, every email… there is an intentional way in which everyone on your team interacts with your clients. Not only you and your receptionist, everyone. You want your team to be fully invested and committed to serving their needs and making sure they walk away feeling cared for and looked after.
The bottom line is this: without satisfied clients who will sing your praises, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to make any real progress in business. This is especially true when you consider the modern age we live in where review sites, social media, and personal recommendations are increasingly prevalent and sought after for unbiased opinions. If you leave a bad taste in a prospective client’s mouth, it’s likely to come back to haunt your business. It can be a silent but deadly killer. That’s why it’s so incredibly important to put your clients first and ensure the rest of your team is doing the same, regardless of the day or hour.
Sanford M. Fisch
CEO & Co-Founder
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (800) 846-1555