Site moved to www.nonbillablehour.com

299 posts categorized "Client Service"

September 23, 2010

Are Your Conference Calls Like This?

Funny, but true:

 

August 25, 2010

Your Clients Don't Care Where You Went to Law School

After my Law Firm Website Venn Diagram got such great feedback, I thought I'd do another highlighting one of my big pet peeves: lawyer bios.  Here you go:

  Lawyer Bio Venn Diagram
 

August 24, 2010

Use Words that Suck Less

Unsuckit
As someone who splits my professional time working with both lawyers and with corporate America, I hear just as much business jargon as I do legalese. 

Though I've not found a "de-legalese-r" site on the web, I have found Unsuck-it, a website that takes business-speak and makes it, well, less sucky.

Some examples: 

Incentivize: In order to meet our phase 1 deliverable, we must incentivize the workforce with monetary rewards.

  Unsucked: Encourage or persuade.

Low-Hanging Fruit: Our budget’s tight on this one, so we need to go for the low-hanging fruit first.

  Unsucked: Easy goal.

Synergy: We are actualizing synergy amongst team members directly related to the project.

  Unsucked: Working together.

You can search for terms, and even generate an email to the offender who used the word.  Now, we just need the legal version!

August 23, 2010

What are your Relationship Rituals?

Keith Ferrazzi shares a few simple "Relationship Rituals" that should be on every professional's weekly checklist:

1.    First thing every day after you turn on your computer, ping one friend and one acquaintance.

2.    Every weekend, invite someone else into an activity that you normally do alone (walks, gym sessions, gardening, shopping trips).

3.    Pick a day for a weekly check-in with a colleague/associate/friend, during which you share a success, a challenge, and make a commitment for the upcoming week.

4.    Every Friday, send a broadcast – status update, blog post, Tweet, etc.

5.    Host a monthly dinner or happy hour.

What are the things you do every week to maintain your client relationships?

August 19, 2010

Do your customers trust your apology?

In this NYT article, author Daniel Pink challenges businesses to speak like real people.  The whole article is worth your time, but what grabbed me was this simple quote from the head of the t-shirt site Threadless:

The best way to figure out if you're running a good company is to figure out if your customers trust your apology.

I think this is right on, and a great measure for every business.  Do your customers trust you when you apologize to them for making a mistake?  You do apologize, don't you?

August 18, 2010

Building the Service Centered Firm

Here's my new presentation, "Building the Service-Centered Firm" that I just gave as the keynote at the Minnesota Solo/Small Firm Conference in Duluth the first week of August.

July 19, 2010

Say it again?

A quick client interview tip from the always helpful Rules of Thumb website:
If someone you're interviewing makes the same point more than twice, it's the most important thing to him, and a crucial clue to his personality.
Worth keeping in mind!

Should you tell prospects why they shouldn't hire you?

Jessica Hische, a tremendous print designer and illustrator has a section on her website titled "Why you should not hire me to design your website."  Some excerpts:
I might seem like a jack of all trades because I do print design, type design, lettering, and illustration, but really I’m a specialist. I specialize in drawing type and illustration. This is what I’m best at and is probably why you found my website in the first place. I find it strange that I get so many requests for web design—I went to school for graphic design, yes, but each subfield of graphic design has its own set of problems, limitations, and guidelines.

Just as you wouldn’t expect any random person that owns Adobe illustrator to be able to draw a decorative initial from scratch, you can’t expect any print designer to be able to really and truly design for web. Web design is not print design, it is so much more complex. With book design, a person that encounters your book knows how to view it. They look at the cover, they open the cover, and page by page they work their way to the end. With web design, it’s (for the most part) not linear. You have to understand how people are going to use the site (and how people use the web changes all the time).

Anyway, to conclude a fairly long rant: Hire people that are best at what they do. It’s not that I (or other print designers) CAN’T do web design, its that you should want to hire someone that will do it best—someone that knows the ins and outs of the web and can then hire people like me to do what they do best: draw ornaments, logos, illustrations etc that will make the site sing.
I'm quite certain many lawyers and firms would benefit from a similar "disclaimer" telling potential clients why not to hire them.  Communicating what you do -- and most importantly, what you don't (and won't) do -- goes a long way towards getting you the clients you want and dissuading the ones you don't from picking up the phone.


July 14, 2010

How Much Should Legal Fees Be?

Lawyers, do you think clients would use a service that describes itself as follows:
We are an independent, unbiased resource designed to deliver legal fee and price transparency and the expert information legal clients need. Our team of expert lawyers has helped us comb through a mountain of flat fee and billable time data to ensure you have the information you need when it's time to hire a lawyer.
Well, that service doesn't exist for legal clients just yet (as far as I know), but it does for people with car trouble.  It is called RepairPal, and it gives people pricing advice (including printed estimates) for various auto service repairs.  Here's how it works:
RepairPal takes the mystery out of car repairs with a simple tool that will tell you the average price you should be paying for a repair in your zip code.  You just pop in a few details about your repair and car, and it will do the rest.  It breaks down the estimated repair cost in a few ways, showing you the range to expect depending on whether you go through a dealer or independent repair shop, the cost of labor and parts, plus the parts usually needed and how much they cost.  The result?  You can feel better about making an informed repair decision, and you don’t have to scramble to get your friend the “car expert” on the phone to ask a dozen questions.
Imagine a world where your clients' expectations of the cost of your services is driven less by the facts of their case and more by an "estimate" they got from the internet.  A brave new world is coming.  Are you ready for it?




July 08, 2010

Measure Time the Way Your Clients Do

Just a quick thought: Are you measuring time the way your clients do? 

Are you keeping track of the days (not minutes or hours) between when you first promised something and when it was finally delivered?  Are you measuring the time between your last client update and the next one?  Do you know how long -- in calendar time, not billable time -- that the average __________ takes? 

You should, because even though your clients see every moment you spend working for them on their bill, I bet they wish you'd pay the same attention to their calendar as you do to your stopwatch.