A few years ago, I remember a woman I know posting on Twitter that her daughter had said “this is the best day of my life. We went to the park, we’re going to mcdonalds, I found a penny. The best day of my life.”

She was 5 at the time, but she had already been through a lot, dealing with a very scary brain tumor that year.  And that, plus a few big things going on in my own life and friends’ lives, have me thinking – the best days of my life really have been about the little things.

Sure, graduating from college was exciting, buying my first house was exciting (well, more nerve-wracking and expensive than exciting), but were they the “best” days of my life?

Nah.

Those have been about the little things – the first time each of my nieces said my name for the first time (or any time they say it, frankly).  Every time one of my dogs comes racing over to see me like I’m his favorite person in the world (I am). Slipping my hand into the hand of the person I love for the first time. Crossing the line of my first marathon (okay, that was kind of a big one). Really focusing to help a friend going through a tough time, and knowing that being there makes a difference. Laughing until I cry with women who really get me. Those are some of my best days.


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Last week, we talked about channeling your inner Taylor Swift to connect with your clients – it seems silly, but no one understands her client base and instill rabid loyalty better than Taylor, and isn’t that all something we’d love to emulate with our own clients?

We may not have her reputation (see what I did there?), but that doesn’t mean we can’t practice some of her tactics in our own relationship development efforts with similar success. One of the things she’s got down pat is knowing when to engage directly. 
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Taylor Swift is my favorite client relationship genius.

That may seem a bit strange, but when you drill down into the brilliant marketing and business development machine that she is, you’ll agree that there are a few things that Taylor does that create rabid loyalty among her fans – and I mean rabid.

Before you start asking what Tay-tay and her music have to do with the law, first, ask yourself what it would feel like to have your clients feel the same way about you as Taylor’s fans feel about her? What if your clients trusted you so implicitly that they never took their business to anyone else? What if they called you first before making a business decision, because you’re their trusted adviser? What if your clients lined up every time you wrote or spoke, because they knew what you had to say was that valuable?
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In today’s Rainmaking Recommendation from expert and trainer, Jaimie Field, she’s discussing one of my favorite things – working with your clients to find out what they really want.

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With all due respect to the Spice Girls (don’t tell anyone, but I know all of the lyrics to their most famous songs), the title of this post is actually referring to the fact that in order to become a Rainmaker, you need to know what your clients want.

And there is only one way to do this – ask them.
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In order to keep them happy, we’ve all been told at one time or another to “think like a client.”

The idea of thinking like your client can be a bit overwhelming when you add it to your existing workload – while we all endeavor to understand our clients’ challenges, concerns, and pain points no matter what field we’re in, unless we’ve spent time there ourselves, we’re only privy to second-hand knowledge (for the most part).

But whether we’ve been on the client side in our own industries or not, we’ve all been and are clients – as lawyers, you are purchasers of various services, from consultants to building services to office products and more. In our personal lives, we are consumers of goods and services, including everything from groceries and electronics to personal care, travel, etc. At some point, we’ve likely all considered what it is we want from those interactions – things such as understanding of what you’re really asking, common courtesy, on-time delivery, exceeding expectations, etc. 
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ming-jun-tan-122694Today, I’d like to use a recent bad customer service experience to illustrate a couple of key points about client service:

  • Listening to your clients may enable you to get at the root of the issue, and find a way to resolve it.
  • Sometimes you can resolve an issue in a way that will strengthen and secure the client relationship, even if the client doesn’t get what they want.
  • Making every effort to solve an issue, even if you can’t achieve the desired result, is sometimes sufficient to please the client.

Last year, I had the opportunity to use a dress rental company for a gala event. Everything about the rental and the return process went flawlessly, and I was so happy with the results, that I shared the experience with a number of people, especially anyone who complimented me on the dress that evening, and when they saw photos. I was sure I would rent from them again and many years into the future. 
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zachary-nelson-192289The final session that I’d like to share from the Legal Marketing Association’s Annual Conference this year focused on learning lessons from businesses outside of the legal industry – while there’s something to be said for understanding what your peers are doing within the industry, there’s a lot to be learned from other professionals as well. LMA brought Maggie Watkins, Chief Marketing Officer of Sedgwick LLP to moderate Lynn Skoczelas, Chief Experience Officer of Sharp HealthCare, Lilian Tomovich, Chief Experience Officer at MGM Resorts International, and Susan Letterman White, Founder and Managing Partner of Letterman White Consulting to offer their perspective on how businesses are using the client experience to up their game.

The panelists shared with us some key learning outcomes that we can adopt in our own pursuit of the excellent client experience. 
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photo-1429277158984-614d155e0017“What if we showed up and said ‘We’re human too’?” asked Deloitte CMO, Diana O’Brien during last week’s Legal Marketing Association‘s keynote presentation.

It may seem like a strange message from a CMO when talking about marketing your brand, but like many of us, O’Brien has been emphasizing that the client experience is essential for marketing success – and the way to connect with your clients is by “creating moments that matter” and then acting on them.

She focused on a few key themes that supported this idea throughout her presentation: 
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Redhead girl with green phone on yellow background.If you ask any of my lawyers, they’ll tell you that I have a “mad face.” I reserve it for times when I need to get them moving from one thing to the next at conferences (and they’re not hustling), or when I am actually frustrated about something that’s not running as smoothly for them as I would like.

But truth be told, it actually takes quite a lot to get me legitimately mad. It happens so seldomly that I can remember each incident quite clearly – and that means they leave an impression.

I had one such issue in advance of our recent Annual Meeting, having nothing to do with the actual conference, and it was such a frustrating example of how NOT to treat a customer that I wanted to share it here as a cautionary tale for all of us to remember how easy it is to make or break a client relationship in a single interaction.

My customer service story involves clothes – the short version of the story is: I needed a few new things in advance of the conference, and decided to order from Boden, a British company (this is important). I’d never ordered from them before, but have gotten their catalog for years and always liked the look of their styles. I placed the order late on the 16th of May, knowing I was leaving on the 25th, and paid for premium shipping (3-5 business days). 
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I’m just back after being away for our 2015 Asia Pacific Regional Meeting in Shanghai, where we had one of the best examples of excellent client service that I’ve seen in a long time – which provides a superb learning opportunity for all of us in professional services. Our Asia Pacific conference is typically our smallest meeting, with around 20 attendees, and as such, we don’t make up a significant part of a hotel’s business in the same way that we do for our other conferences.

That generally means that while hotels will offer us good service, they don’t go out of their way to wow us – they just don’t consider it to be worth their time. But I was pleasantly surprised to see otherwise in Shanghai.

I’ve had quite a lot of experience working with hotel contacts all over the world in the last ten-plus years, and had been telling our Executive Director on the plane how pleased I was with the service that we’d gotten from our contact, Jecy, at the Grand Hyatt Pudong in Shanghai. She was efficient and responsive, whether on weekends or Chinese New Year – even at times I wasn’t expecting an immediate response from her.


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