Why Should You Care...?
Published on September 11, 2009
… that I ordered contact lenses from Amazon last week? Because it could be a reflection of what’s wrong with your law practice.
Long story short, I’ve been using the same eye care firm for over 20 years, and buying my contact lenses from them the whole time. This costs a little more than getting them from Sam’s Club, but I’ve always felt that you vote with your dollars and this was my chance to vote for a small local busines over the corporate behemoths.
It never was particularly easy to buy from this firm. My optomitrist and my records are at one location, but the other office is closer to work so I always tried to pick my order up there. When I’d call to place an order, the staff would invariably pass me back and forth from one office to the other – neither office wanted to take the trouble to process the order if they could pass the task off to someone at the other location. Finally, a year or so ago they launched a website so that their patients could place orders online. Impersonal, but at least I could place orders while the office was closed, print the receipt I needed for insurance reimbursement, specify where I’d like to pick up, and the only time I had to deal with the lazy staffers who made it clear they really didn’t care about my business was when I actually went by to make the pickup.
Recently, I couldn’t log in to place an order. So I sent an email message through the website requesting my login and password. And I waited for a week. Nothing. That’s when I checked Amazon. Not only could I get the same lenses within the same time frame and for less, but they would deliver them right to my door. The contacts arrived last week, and I’m still waiting to hear from the local eye care firm. Well, not really. I don’t care anymore whether I hear from them or not. We’re done.
Amazon may not take your clients away, but there is another law firm right around the corner that will if you don’t make sure that you are responsive to your client’s requests for information. Failure to communicate is the signle biggest reason that clients file grievances with the Office of General Counsel. And it’s also the biggest reason clients change lawyers. You can make or break your law practice by how well you and your staff interact with clients, keep them updated on the status of their cases, and deal with their requests for information.
Decide what types of legal business you want to handle, and what things you don’t. If you don’t want to provide a particular service, don’t. It makes a lot more sense to just dispense with something if it’s more trouble to you than it’s worth than to alienate clients by doing it badly. Then review your systems to make sure that your clients are getting through when they need to, and being treated well when they do.