A high five in client service

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11 September 2012

Posted by Helen Hamilton-Shaw, director of services at Legal Futures Associate LawNet

Say it loud: a lesson in customer service

The Olympics and Paralympics have inspired us all. And if, like me, you were lucky enough to have visited the Olympic Park or any of the other venues, you’ll probably know that one of the reasons that visitors have left on a high has been down to the fantastic efforts of the volunteer games-makers.

My nine-year-old son left the park doing a running high five with a team of 20 games-makers lined up along the walkway – keeping that adrenalin-fuelled atmosphere going, right up until the very last second.

Marked as the ‘best day of his life’ after the event, you can bet that if the Olympics were to return to London, he’d definitely be a repeat customer.

Many of us have come away from the events and achievements feeling we should really do a bit more sport; that we should encourage our children to aim a bit higher. But equally important are the lessons we can learn about customer service, as our experience that day was due as much to the fantastic enthusiasm of the games-makers as by the actual Olympians themselves.

But, of course, these volunteer games-makers didn’t just turn up on the day and know exactly how to do it. There were 70,000 volunteers and they undertook a total of one million hours of training – much of which will have been geared to anticipating needs and going the extra mile to make sure every individual visitor had the best day of their life. One games-maker describes on his blog how the focus of the training was on how to “wow visitors”. And the wow factor was about being welcoming, friendly, accommodating and sensitive to their needs at all times.

The legal services sector is in the business of delivering professional services, but too often people forget the “services” element. It’s not just about quality of advice and professional expertise. It’s also about the things that make people feel valued as a customer, and these are the things which will set you apart.

There’s much we can draw from the great success of the London Olympics to keep the spirit of the Olympian flame burning by learning from the commitment to customer service demonstrated throughout the Games and translating that into the client service we deliver in our firms.

It’s certainly going to be inspiration for me over the coming months as I finalise our new developments to help our firms ensure they deliver fantastic client service at all times.

High five anyone?

Helen Hamilton-Shaw is director of services with LawNet, where she is responsible for expanding the future portfolio of services, developing new initiatives for the network and member engagement

One Response to “A high five in client service”

  1. I work with many practices in relation to the Law Society’s Practice Management standard, Lexcel.

    Solicitors are trained to be cautious; taking risks in running their businesses or clients’ matters is anathema to them.

    I often find that the cautious approach ‘spills over’ into client care. One of the Lexcel provisions requires the solicitor to establish with the client in what timescale their matter will be dealt with; this should generally be confirmed in writing.

    Some people find it nigh on impossible to come up with a form of words that they can commit to for fear of the client ‘beating them up’ if they don’t stick to it. These words can of course be qualified in some way so that an absolute declaration is not made.

    When devising a client care policy, all law firms need to do is put themselves in place of a client who knows nothing about the legal system, terminology, how long something might take, what the stages will be in connection with the matter at hand.

    That approach will go some way to ensuring that there isn’t a ‘mismatch’ of expectations. Clients rarely complain about the quality of the advice – but how that advice is delivered.

  2. Christopher Gough on September 14th, 2012 at 11:34 am

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