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299 posts categorized "Client Service"

April 13, 2011

Explain the "Why" to Your Clients

Smashing Magazine has published a tremendous guide to designing an easy to understand e-commerce checkout process for web sites.  If you take credit cards on your site, it is a must-read.

However, even if you don't charge people on the web, you should check out the article anyway, because it explains something about collecting sensitive information from people that we all need to understand: it isn't just the "what," but the "why" that matters:

Even unambiguous fields, such as “Email address,” are great opportunities to explain what you’ll use the data for. “Email address” may be a sufficient description, but most people would want to know how you’ll use their email address. Why do you need it?

In your client intake forms, do you explain why you need all the information you are asking for?  Perhaps you should.

Respect Your Clients

I think it is fair to say that this goes for clients, too.

Respect for Audience
From This is Indexed.

Watch Your Time Like Your Clients Do

Next time you're chit-chatting with a client over the phone, head on over to Lawyer Clock and watch how fast your "burning" your client's cash -- they certainly are.

Lawyer Clock


March 04, 2011

Don't Complain

A great Venn diagram from Indexed:  

December 22, 2010

Hug Your Clients

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via: Hugh MacLoud

November 10, 2010

What's in Your Manifesto?

I really liked this, from Holstee:

Holstee_Manifesto

October 26, 2010

Stop Negotiating Via Email

PsyBlog recently highlighted Ten Studies About the Dark Side of Email.  One highlights why you should never negotiate (with clients on fees or opponents on settlement terms) via email:

Email negotiations often feel difficult, especially with people we don't know well. When Naquin et al. (2008) compared them with face-to-face negotiations, they found that people were less co-operative over email and even felt more justified in being less co-operative.

Part of the reason negotiations are difficult is that people tend to be more negative on email. For example, Kurtzberg et al. (2005) found that when people evaluated each other in performance appraisals using both pen-and-paper and email, they were consistently more negative about their colleagues when using email.

Yet another reason why, when the stakes are high, face-to-face wins the race.

October 22, 2010

Cognitive Dissonance and the Low-Cost Lawyer

This interesting Wired Magazine piece, titled Why We Love Our Dentists, explores the unique relationship between price paid and perceived value.  According to a recent study, two dentists will reach the same conclusion when looking at an identical x-ray only about half the time.  Yet despite the fact that dentists are so frequently wrong (they can't both be right, can they?), people love their dentists more than any of their other medical providers.

The reason, according to the article, is due to cognitive dissonance, "the human tendency to react to conflicting evidence by doubling-down on our initial belief."  The study's author Dan Ariely attributes our irrational love of dentists to the pain they inflict:

 

I think all of this pain actually causes cognitive dissonance and cause higher loyalty to your dentist. Because who wants to go through this pain and say, I’m not sure if I did it for the right reason. I’m not sure this is the right guy. You basically want to convince yourself that you’re doing it for the right reason.

The article has a few more examples of irrational behavior influenced by perceived value.  Consider this study:

[R]esearchers supplied people with Sobe Adrenaline Rush, an “energy” drink that was supposed to make them feel more alert and energetic. (The drink contained a potent brew of sugar and caffeine which, the bottle promised, would impart “superior functionality”). Some participants paid full price for the drinks, while others were offered a discount. The participants were then asked to solve a series of word puzzles. [T]the people who paid discounted prices consistently solved about thirty percent fewer puzzles than the people who paid full price for the drinks. The subjects were convinced that the stuff on sale was much less potent, even though all the drinks were identical.

What does this mean for lawyers?  Know that your clients hold deep-set beliefs that the value of your advice is tied (even if subconsciously) to the price they pay for it.  In other words, if you're the lawyer offering the lowest prices on your services, understand that your clients believe your advice is less valuable than the same advice offered by your higher-priced peers.

An unanswered question: do lawyers offering that low-cost advice believe they're less competent than their higher-priced peers? Just as their clients expect to get what they pay for, do lawyers expect to deliver what they charge for?  What do you think?

 

October 21, 2010

Legal Rebels Video

Here's my six-minute / twenty-slide presentation on Building the Service-Centered Firm I delivered as part of the ABA Journal's Legal Rebels project.

October 19, 2010

Communicating Value and Price

I've been a big fan of Merlin Mann for several years now.  As I was checking out his website yesterday, I found his pricing page cheekily titled: Do You Charge Money to Do Things?  Here's how Merlin describes his pricing scheme:

For most all of my speaking, consulting, and advisory work, yes: I do charge a fee, plus expenses. And, candidly, I charge kind of a lot....  I learned a long time ago to only work for or with people with whom you have mutual admiration and respect—and who already think you’re valuable and great at what you do. In my experience, the folks who expect you to make a case for your own value make for terrible clients. They may be good negotiators and nice people, but working for them is a gut-wrenching travesty. And I don’t do travesties.

With all that said, I do a fair amount of (private, unpublicized, non-ribbon-based) work with non-profits and other deserving groups. And, no, I normally do not charge for this work. So, If you’re working for a good cause or represent an organization that’s trying to do something you know I care a lot about, please ask me. No promises, but I’ll do what I can with what I have.

So, yep. “Expensive” or “Free.” It’s a fee schedule that works.

I think it would work well on a firm website, and provides an important reminder every lawyer should have on their desk: "The folks who expect you to make a case for your own value make for terrible clients."