I hope everyone is staying safe. Seems that the virus is still dictating much of our lives and movements. My wife and I and the whole company are still ‘hunkered’ down in the Bay Area and all of our people are still working-from-home.
I am proud to say that June was the best month the law firm has had in the last year for resolving cases and new clients – we actually signed up more cases than we have ever signed. I truly believe having a great 360 Culture can allow you to pivot in an instant. When you focus on what you can control and get away from the worry of what you can’t control, things can truly change.
My Podcast on Chris Anderson’s Unbillable Hour was released last week. Chris is a law firm consultant and truly one of the best. There are a lot of podcasts out there on small law firm management. The Unbillable Hour is worth the listen. You can find it here.
If you haven’t had a change to read The Case for Culture yet, I’ve reduced the price on Kindle again to $.99 cents. You can get it here.
One of biggest challenges in the pandemic is to maintain a level of customer service that truly moves people, creates a great experience for the team, the customer and builds loyalty and community. People can no longer come to our offices, be greeted by the friendly faces at the front desk or be handed a coffee menu in the lobby.
One more aspect of the human element of our service has been removed. We have become more and more a ‘call center’. Something no one really wants, especially in a personal services company.
To accommodate the new reality we face we had to make some immediate and impactful changes. We knew extra empathy and connection (via phone) was going to become even more important. We spent time early in the pandemic coaching our people on delivering better service through better listening, extra empathy and caring for our clients. It is still a daily challenge but it seems to be working.
I can honestly say that without the amazing team that we have built we couldn’t have made these quick changes. To help us create these changes I went back to a few of the best books I know of on customer service. Here they are:
Micah Solomon’s book Ignore Your Customers and They’ll Go Away is a great place to start to revamp your customer service. Micah understands that customer service is the foundation of everything else in the company, including culture. Few give a detailed approach to revamping your service. It is unfortunate that today’s reality is that most companies have become ‘call centers’ and that many of our own experiences with call centers are terrible. Micah’s deep understanding of service allows any environment to humanize to be able to deliver extraordinary service. He reminds us that our telephone interactions can not only be good, they can be exceptional. He writes a lot about Zappos and how they have been able to create an exceptional experience by setting standards and then allowing great people to manage them. If you’ve never read a book on customer service, this is a good place to start.
Danny Meyer’s Setting the Table is the story of how Meyer built Union Square Café, Gramercy Tavern, Shake-Shack and other wildly successful restaurants through extraordinary customer service and culture. Meyer has built one of the largest restaurant groups in the country. He is an strong advocate of Robert Greenleaf’s Servant-Leadership and flipping the focus of stakeholders. Setting the Table is a deep dive into customer service, leadership and making smart decisions.
The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact, by Chip and Dan Heath was an absolute delight. The book reminds us of how important moments in our life, shape our life. When we focus on the moments that matter in life, things change drastically. This book has had a large impact in the way we onboard new clients, hire and onboard new employees and how we handle every phone call that comes into the office. Every transaction your company has with someone is another opportunity to create an amazing moment. It’s these moments that shape the service you provide – internally and externally. I love the story of the little boy that left his teddy bear at the hotel after vacationing in Los Angeles. The hotel staff set up scenes of the bear at the pool, dining and getting pampered at the spa. They took pictures and included them when they sent the bear back to the little boy so he knew that the bear was well taken care. That is exceptional service.
Customer Service is the core of any business. How you treat your team will reflect in how they treat the clients. I have always said that your job as the company leader is to take care of the employees, they will take care of the clients and the clients will take care of everyone.
For more advice on building an amazing culture, you can find The Case for Culture on Amazon.
Eric Farber is on a mission to change how law firms operate by showing lawyers the value of putting culture first. During his twenty-five years as a lawyer, Eric has lived the transformation from scarcity to abundance that becomes possible when you shift your perspective and prioritize people. As the CEO and chief legal officer of Pacific Workers’ Compensation Law Center, Eric’s focus on culture helped him build a seven-figure firm that’s gone from four people to forty in just five years, been an Inc. 5000 company twice, was named to the Bay Area 100 list of fastest-growing companies, and spent two consecutive years in the top fifty of Law Firm 500.