The week before last, I was on the road in Chicago. Funnily enough, I checked in to the Amalfi Hotel in January, and because they changed names, checked out of the Kinzie Hotel in February. 

One thing that didn’t change was their high level of service though, and I want to share a story with you to illustrate how easy it is to genuinely please a client, and not only make them loyal to you, but make them an advocate for your brand at the same time. 

We were checking out of the hotel on Saturday afternoon. I’d arranged for a late checkout, and was traveling to the airport with two of my friends and colleagues. One of them was delayed a few minutes, so two of us were sitting in the lobby of the hotel with our bags, waiting for her.

The doorman came over and asked whether we needed transportation to the airport. We said that we would, but that since we were waiting for someone else, we’d grab a taxi when she arrived. 

Within a few minutes, she was there as well, and we headed outside to find our taxi, crossing our fingers that we’d be able to find one large enough to accommodate all of our bags. 

Lo and behold, the doorman had already arranged for a hotel van to be waiting for us by the sidewalk. He had seen a need, and addressed it, without making a big fuss. The three of us were so pleased – it made the initial part of our return trip so much more pleasant. And it has totally stuck in my mind as going above and beyond the call of duty.

I would have been satisfied with his assistance in hailing a taxi once our party was all together. But rather than relying on that, he quietly and efficiently made other arrangements, and all at a very decent cost. Moreover, he wasn’t doing it so that I’d go out and trumpet the reputation of the hotel, or tell all my friends to stay there, but because it was the right thing to do and he’s very good at his job. 

So what’s the lesson here? 

If you’re listening closely, your clients will always tell you what they really need and want, where that hidden "pain" is that may not really be part of your purview, but you can go the extra mile to solve. Listen to them – what are they really saying? 

Meeting their needs can be as large as handling legal matters for them (and doing so in a way that makes them comfortable), or as small as making sure they have a cup of coffee made in the way they like it when they arrive at your office. 

We hear so often about clients being surprised in a negative way by their lawyers (it’s true, every client panel I attend addresses this very topic, every time). Isn’t it time that we start surprising our clients in a good way? Legal marketers, this applies to you too – are you really listening to your lawyers? How can you go above and beyond?

That’s my challenge to you today – read between the lines. What are your clients really telling you, and how can you show them not only that you’re listening, but that you really care?