♫ So you got the looks but have you got the touch
Don’t get me wrong, yeah I think you’re alright
But that won’t keep me warm in the middle of the night
That don’t impress me much…♫
Words and Music by Shania Twain
This week I had the pleasure of moderating a panel of distinguished corporate counsel for the Legal Marketing Association – Vancouver Chapter speaking on: How in-house counsel view their lawyers, law firms and their marketing and business development efforts.
Panelists were Marie-France Leroi, Senior Counsel at Terasen Inc, Gigi Chen-Ku, General Counsel for Translink, Heather Northrup, Senior Counsel with RBC Financial Group and Sue Doi, Counsel for Intrawest ULC. There was a great deal of discussion on the topic on how outside counsel can best work with in-house counsel. During the presentation we had a question from the floor that opened up a whole new area of discussion …and that was novel and interesting as well.
The question was in the context of the corporate client wanting to provide feedback to the outside firm – but the outside firm never appearing open or willing to hear the message. Worse, the danger signs are there for the outside law firm – calls by in-house counsel are not being returned promptly, the invoices appear to include ‘education time’ for the associates, the firm now appears to have an attitude of ‘entitlement’…among others. So the question is – what is the best way for the outside firm to hear the message early enough to prevent the loss of the client?
The solution that was proposed from the audience (some of the best tips come from the attendees during presentations!) was for the marketing department to establish one person…call them a client concierge…to establish a line of communication with the client. The client concierge would be there to act in a similar manner to a concierge in the best hotels…to ensure that the questions and needs of the hotel guests are being met. The client concierge can hear the concerns and questions of the client – and ensure that they are directed to the right people in the law firm – and act as an early-warning system to ensure that the law firm is not only attentive to the client but is seen as being proactive and open. This implicitly recognizes that while the legal services may be top-notch, the service levels surrounding the delivery of those legal services may not be.
It is an interesting concept and one that recognizes that the firm as a whole is a team and the team has an overarching reason (*or reasons*) to ensure that the client is happy and has an open channel to raise small concerns before they jeopardize the entire client relationship. It is really a question of client ‘handling’ and ensuring that the firm has the right ‘touch’ for the client and continues to impress the client with all that they do.This entry was posted on Sunday, March 2nd, 2008 at 10:25 pm and is filed under Adding Value, Business Development, Change Management, Issues facing Law Firms, Law Firm Strategy, Leadership and Strategic Planning, Trends. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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