Another great post by Dan Hull at What About Clients?, this one on Ease Of Use Services. Dan begins with a pet peeve I share, the way the gap between the lip service to client service and the actual service provided has rendered the notion of client service nearly meaningless. For some organizations–Dan’s firm, elite hotel organizations such as Four Seasons, and others–client service is part of the organizational DNA.
Dan raises the question of what if firms had to compete on our clients’ ease of use experience. He frames the question in the context of Folgers coffee can, which won an ease of use commendation from the Arthritis Foundation. Dan then issues this challenge:
Develop and apply ease-of-use concepts to pure services? Our clients’ services? Our services? Sure, why not? It’s probably coming anyway, even while it will be infinitely harder to do for services than for products. WAC? has noted before that even corporate clients that sell goods see themselves as selling solutions and not products.
Law firms, of course, have always sold services. And we are a small but powerful engine in the growth of the services sector. We strategize with and guide big clients every day. While that’s all going on–day in and day out–what is it like for the client to work with you and yours? Are clients experiencing a team–or hearing and seeing isolated acts by talented but soul-less techies? Do you make reports and communications short, easy and to the point? Who gets copied openly so clients don’t have to guess about who knows what? Is it fun (yeah, we just said "fun") to work with your firm? How are your logistics for client meetings, travel and lodging? Do you make life easier? Or harder? Are you accessible 24/7? In short, aside from the technical aspects of your service (i.e., the client "is safe"), do your clients "feel safe"?
What if law firms–or any other service provider for that matter–"thought through," applied and constantly improved the delivery of our services and how clients really experience them?
And then competed on it…?
That imagining thing is hard. Turning into reality? Way hard. But if client service was easy, everyone would be doing it. Instead of just talking about doing it. Dan’s post goes right to the core of real client service–it is not what you do,it is who you are.