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). 
Continue Reading How to Lose a Client in One Easy Step

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.


Continue Reading Client Service Excellence: Make Everyone Feel Like a VIP

You may recall that at the beginning of 2014, I put together five posts on my wishes for you for the coming year: 

More than wishes, these posts were full of challenges to you on how to make 2014 a better year professionally. So how did you do? Let’s see if I took my own advice in 2014…

Plan & Be Open

I am, by nature, a huge planner. I LOVE lists and keep them everywhere, and I enjoy the challenge of putting together a marketing and business development plan for the coming year. So this was a no brainer for me. 


Continue Reading 10 Wishes for 2014 – How did we do?

It’s hard to believe that only three days ago at this time, I was snorkeling with my clients in Costa Rica and seeing my first sting ray! Spending a few days with my clients always gets me thinking about networking, as you know, but it also gets me thinking about client service. So for today’s Two for Tuesdays, I have two tips for improving client service!

Tip One: Say Thank You

In the US, this week is Thanksgiving, so people are talking a lot about gratitude and what they are thankful for. After a tumultuous few years in the world economy, I think we can all agree that along with family and friends, we’re also pretty grateful for our clients. What better time to tell them?

While I advocate active gratitude on a yearly basis, Thanksgiving can be a good reminder for this. Reach out to your top five clients this week and thank them. Even if you’re not in the US, use it as a reminder to offer your clients your gratitude. Try: 

  • Thank you for trusting me with your business. 
  • I’m grateful for the opportunity to work with you. 
  • Thank you for being a client. 
  • I appreciate being your business adviser. 


Continue Reading Two for Tuesdays: Client Service

You are in for a treat today, while I’m away at the ILN’s Regional Meeting of the Americas – we have a very special guest post! We’re welcoming Joanne Thorud, the Director of Marketing for the ILN’s Boston member, Davis, Malm & D’Agostine. She’s talking about one of my favorite subjects – client service – and shares with us an excellent post on why communication is so important in keeping clients happy. 

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Last week, I attended the Legal Marketing Association New England’s annual regional conference in Boston. The theme of this year’s conference was Simplify to Maximize. There were a dozen programs and over 30 speakers who presented topics focused on cutting through clutter and static and delivering clear and concise messages. One message that resounded in almost every program I attended was communication is key to maximizing client relationships. It is not a new or revolutionary concept, but it is extremely relevant, especially in today’s legal climate.


Continue Reading Silence Isn’t Golden When it Comes to Managing Client Relationships

One of the things I think a lot about is client service – I’m regularly trying to figure out how I can bring more value to my own clients, but also looking critically at how others meet their clients’ needs and wants. 

For all of us, no matter what work we do, we are all acting as providers and receivers of client service. As a receiver of service, I can be quite demanding – I’m very detail-oriented, I know the level of service I deliver to my clients, and I expect the same attention to detail and passion in those I’m working with. 

Unfortunately, it’s fairly rare that I’m impressed by someone’s level of client service. Which got me thinking this afternoon about two ways we can "up our client service game." Although these are two separate tips, they generally have to be undertaken together in order to really wow someone. 

Tip One: Responsiveness

I almost can’t believe that I have to include "responsiveness" as a tip for great client service – we’ve talked about it SO much, and I’ve heard it mentioned time and time again, so it should be the norm today instead of the exception. 


Continue Reading Two for Tuesdays: Up Your Game

Today, we welcome to the General Counsel Corner Tina Rao, the Chief Counsel, Healthcare for Maxim Healthcare Inc

Our question to Ms. Rao was: 

What is your process for selecting outside counsel?"

She let us know that: 

There are many ways that you can select outside counsel but personal relationships and connections are most significant. Additionally, showing expertise as a subject matter expert in a particular area by writing articles and client alerts are helpful. Once engaged in a matter, regular communication updates are a must. It is very off-putting if you find out after the fact that motion was filed and you were not alerted."

Ms. Rao’s response is something that we’ve heard a number of times – "personal relationships and connections are most significant." But she further expands that, suggesting, as we would expect, expertise is important – and showing that expertise through articles and client alerts is helpful.  


Continue Reading General Counsel Corner: Selecting Outside Counsel

The more I see of Taylor Swift, the more of a marketing genius I realize she is. And not just because I can’t get "Shake it Off" out of my head this week. 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? 

While I don’t picture your clients lining the streets of your offices and swooning at the mere sight of you anytime soon (though the image of that does bring a smile to my face), there are a few things that Taylor does REALLY well that you can adapt to your own business to help drive client loyalty. Let’s look at two of those tips today. 


Continue Reading Two for Tuesdays: Tips from Taylor Swift

The advice to "think like a client" in order to improve your client service is not a new one – but today, I want to offer you a little bit of a twist on that advice, which will help you to up your game. 

The idea of thinking like your client can be a daunting one – 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, and more. 

I’ve asked you before to think of yourselves as the client in these cases, and to identify what it is you want from those interactions – things such as understanding of what you’re really asking, common courtesy, on-time delivery, exceeding expectations, etc. 


Continue Reading Client Service: Think Like a Client!

For this month’s installment of our General Counsel Corner, we are pleased to welcome Assistant General Counsel and Assistant Director of Internal Operations for Jacam Chemical Company, Jayson Macyda.  

Mr. Macyda is not only a lawyer for Jacam, but also a general business manager. Because of his dual function, he is keenly aware of how legal decisions impact business operations, and vice versa. Jacam Chemical Company is a division of Canadian Energy Services, and provides chemical solutions to the oil and gas industry worldwide. 

In his role with them, Mr. Macyda assists in managing their North American and overseas legal operations, focusing on transactions and litigation matters regarding a number of different areas of law.  He is also responsible for the general business management overseeing the operations of Jacam’s IT, HR, safety & Department of Transportation, health & environment, and public relations and marketing divisions. 

This expertise, along with his diverse educational and employment background, means he has interacted with hundreds, if not thousands, of lawyers – so Mr. Macyda can quickly identify those who will be able to assist him in managing Jacam’s legal and business affairs.


Continue Reading General Counsel Corner: Clients Want a Partner