Are your current clients your first priority?

Are your current clients your first priority?

I recently switched from one high-speed cable internet service to another at home. (I know, this sounds like the beginning of a rant, but please stay with me. I think the point of the story will be worth it.)

The new service costs a little more, and the connection speed is only marginally better than before. So why change, you ask? And, even more importantly, what on earth does this have to do with operating a law office?

After almost a year as a customer of “Magna Carta” Communications (the names have been changed to protect the guilty), without any technical problems on their part or late payments on mine, my connection speed slowed to a crawl that made a dial-up connection look good – when connection was possible at all.

After calling the company’s 800 number and getting into a progressively weirder conversation with a disembodied computer voice that wanted to answer pre-programmed trouble-shooting questions that weren’t being asked, followed by what seemed like hours of listening to The Captain and Tennile on hold, a Real Person finally came on the line.

The Real Person suggested that I “reboot the modem” even though I had already rebooted the modem about 500 times over the last week and a half, and was about ready to boot it one more time – off the roof.

After about twenty minutes of this reboot nonsense, the Real Person eventually conceded that the problem probably was not the modem, and consented to make a service appointment – for a week later. No one from the company showed up at the appointed time, but the company was very happy to make – and then break – three additional service appointments over the course of the next four weeks. In the interim, I even dragged out and fired up my old computer with modem to use the dial-up connection I’d never gotten around to cancelling. Now that’s desperation!

Finally fed up with the situation and still waiting for the service person to show up, I cancelled my service with “Magna Carta” and placed an order for new service with the other cable company in town (which has just as bad a reputation for service among its current customers). Surprisingly, the second company sent someone out the very next day. They showed up on time for the appointment and within an hour the waves were up and the surfin’ was fast and easy.

But that’s not the end of the story. (Stop groaning – I’m almost done but the rest is important.) Being so impressed with the responsive installation service, after a month of reliable connectivity the last person on earth without cable TV decided to finally bite the bullet and get it. As of now it’s been two weeks since initial contact about this and maybe someone will call back soon to schedule the installation appointment. Maybe.

The moral of this story is that all businesses want a new customer, but no one seems to care nearly as much about the customer they already have.

Is this the way your existing clients feel that you treat them? Since nearly 75 percent of people searching for an attorney seek a recommendation from a friend or family member, it’s something to think about. Would your existing clients recommend you?