Three Components of Service
If you’re going to improve the service aspect of your firm, you’ll need to focus on the three components of service: the people delivering the service, the quality of the service delivery, and the systems the business uses to deliver that service. By keeping these components in mind, you can identify where lapses in service spring from.
Service comes directly from all of the people in your firm–partners, associates, mail clerks, and assistants. Every employee of the firm, from the mail clerk to the managing partner, is responsible for the service experience. So, every person in a service-oriented firm should first and foremost be friendly. But beyond that, they should be caring. They should not only care about the work that they do, but they should be empathetic to the clients and each other. Finally, every employee needs to have integrity. Honesty and trustworthiness are crucial in a law firm.
After focusing on the people, we focus on the quality of the service delivery. When the firm’s employees interact with clients, they should remain alert, attentive, and connected to the client to show that they’re paying attention. It seems simple, but think back to a time when you dealt with someone who wasn’t looking at you—while they were supposedly helping you. Did you feel like you were being served?
In addition to that sense of connection, employees should always be prepared for client meetings, so that they project a sense of practiced experience. Clients want to feel like you’ve done this before, and that there won’t be a rush to tie up loose ends at the last minute.
Finally, employees should keep clean and organized. Sure, the floors are vacuumed every night, but if your desk looks like a bomb went off, then your clients won’t feel comfortable working with you. Don’t underestimate the symbolic image of an organized desk—it silently communicates your competence to anyone who walks by.
The last component of service is the systems that the business uses to consistently deliver its product to its clients. Systems are the glue that provides the metrics to evaluate service delivery, and allows your team to consistently deliver for clients. Consistency is key. It’s not acceptable to have a high service day on Monday, then completely fall apart on Wednesday. Every client should receive a similar (exceptional) experience. Beyond consistency, the systems should be efficient so that the client’s time and energy isn’t wasted. Once you’ve asked a question, don’t ask it again. Lastly, the systems need to adapt to new standards and opportunities. The firm’s employees need to do a better job tomorrow than they did today, and no part of the firm should be exempt from ongoing improvement.
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So you know you need to focus on your people, your delivery, and your systems if you want to improve your service. What can you do to start improving right now?