Consistency in Customer Service
I just finished reading The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael E. Gerber. He suggested that every small business owner design their business like a franchise in that all your policies and procedures are impeccably documented and train your employees to consistently provide the same exceptional service.
This makes a lot of sense. Think about your favorite restaurant – I bet every time you’re there they dress the same, treat you the same (maybe even use the same phrasing when they speak) and the food is consistent in terms of quality and presentation. There’s comfort and security in consistency and with that comes trust.
But how does that translate to a law firm where we do custom work for each client? Our work products may be different for each person, but our interactions with clients can be consistent. Think about how you answer your phone, how you respond to emails, your tone and mannerisms, your word choices and even the way you dress. If you do these things the same with each interaction with a client, you will give them a sense of security in their relationship with you, which builds their trust in you and your company.
You can do things like everyone else, or you can customize it to your needs. It’s your business – run it however you want. You can be formal and proper all the time or you can chose to be a lawyer who wears t-shirts for client meetings and doesn’t hesitate to swear if the situation warrants it. The key is to be consistent, both as an individual and as a firm.
Let me give you an example. My friend Eric Mayer is owns a small firm that does military criminal defense work. He signs every email “Very truly yours.” I know this is part of his signature that he programmed into his email, but it still makes me smile that I know I’ll see it every time I get a message from him.