On Monday, I presented a short recap about the Zappos session at LMA’s Annual Conference to my local LMA city group. So they’ve definitely been on my mind this week, particularly after a customer service experience I had with another company.
We’ve talked before about how bad client service experiences can have a negative impact – and a lot of that is common sense. But what about lukewarm client experiences?
To illustrate, I want to compare Zappos with the experience that I had with Groupon yesterday. Zappos mantra is customer happiness – they don’t just want a satisfied customer, they want an ecstatic customer. Ecstatic customers will go out and tell their brand story in a happy and positive way, so Zappos is not only creating repeat customers, but helping to facilitate new clients.
During the conference session, Graham Kahr told us that this aim to make the customer happy goes beyond satisfying the brand’s needs in any one situation – so if a customer orders a shoe, for example, and it’s out of stock, Zappos will help that customer to get the shoe that they want – even if they have to go to a competitor to get it.
Graham told a story, which a fellow marketer reminded me about on Monday, of a woman who had ordered a pair of shoes from them for a wedding she was attending. Prior to the wedding, her new puppy ate one shoe, and she reached out to Zappos to order another pair, telling them her story in the process. Not only did Zappos send her just the one shoe to replace the damaged one, but they also sent her a basket of dog treats for her puppy – I’m betting she’s a customer for life!
If Zappos can do this, why can’t other brands?
In contrast, yesterday I received an email from Groupon, telling me that they had "messed up." I’d ordered a set of sheets from them through their "Goods" section, and it turned out that they’d oversold them and didn’t have the stock to fulfill all of the orders. They apologized and promised not to do it again. The apology was the right thing to do, but they didn’t "wow" me with it. In fact, I’m pretty disappointed that the sheets won’t be arriving, and while Groupon refunded my money, they could have (and didn’t) go the extra mile to find me some sheets to replace the ones that they’d oversold.
It’s not a "bad" customer service experience, per se, but it makes me wonder whether Groupon grew too fast to effectively meet their customer’s needs, and I certainly will have to seriously consider any future purchases I make through them – it might encourage me to go somewhere else with better service.
What does this have to do with law firms? Plenty.
What kind of client experiences are you creating at your firms, particularly when something may not go as planned? Do you simply own up to the mistake and apologize? This approach certainly has a lot of merit, and is far, far better than either passing blame on to someone else or trying to hide it.
But even better than that would be working to fix it, at minimal pain to the client. When a mistake is made, if someone comes to me and owns up to it, and gives me a few suggestions for how to solve it (or better still, just solves it without involving me at all), that’s going to make me believe that they value me as a client. Since most companies/firms don’t do that, it’s also going to make them stand out, and make me more likely to not only use them in the future, but to go out of my way to find ways to use them – and recommend them to friends.
So give some thought today about the kind of client experiences you’re creating – in every interaction with a client, from your receptionists’ answering of the phone to the delivery of the bill and everything in between, ask yourself "Is this the best we can do for them?"