Have you ever dined at a 5-star restaurant? If you have, then you will know that customer service is an essential part of the experience. How you make the customer feel is as important as the preparation and taste of the food. From anticipating the customer’s needs, making sure everyone feels welcome and appreciated to exceeding their expectations, all of it together makes up a memorable customer experience.

This is the experience diners have at a well-known local restaurant in the Napa Valley.  It is not only one of the most highly regarded restaurants in the area it may be one of the most highly regarded in the world.

The world-famous chef who started it has a long list of accomplishments to his credit.  But it is not only his food that makes him so well known around the world, he is also know in the film world as well.  His impeccable and flawless techniques inspired a beloved character in a well-known PIXAR movie as well.

With his amazing culinary skills and his impact on the movie business you would think that he would have no time for the day to day “grind” of running a restaurant.  But, not only does he have the time for it, but it is his gift for making guests feel like they are the only one’s dining in his restaurant that truly makes his restaurant and its experience so unique and special.

Like most fine dining restaurants, as you walk into at his restaurant, you are immediately struck by the atmosphere – the dim lighting that creates a welcoming atmosphere, the impeccably set tables and flowers whose wonderful aroma you can smell across the room – and you begin to “see” the experience you’re about to have. However, he sees something very different. What he sees is “the pallet of individuals dedicated and committed to you. Only you.”

It is his intense focus on each diner’s experience that has defined what success means for him. It’s not about the recognition or awards, but rather, about creating meaningful memories for each guest. He actually goes out of his way to meet his guests to make their dining experience all the more memorable and special.  His goal to be in each diner’s list of their top 5 memories of their lifetime.

But his recipe for the experience of a lifetime is not automatic nor does it happen by accident.  This experience comes from a very exact formula.

Great Client Experience= Ingredients + Execution

He believes you start with the finest ingredients available.  These “ingredients” include everything from the suppliers, the wine, the restaurant space to the people you don’t see who make the restaurant run smoothly. In addition, the finest ingredients must also include the best of the best meat, butter, vegetables and fruits.  EVERY ingredient counts.

The execution piece of the formula is equally as important.  Without execution, the “ingredients” just sit apart and are never stirred together. The heart of a restaurant is its people, and they must have passion and desire. They also need to be trained and mentored so they have the confidence and courage to perform at the highest level. The key to execution – each day do it just a little bit better than the day before.  This makes each team member exceptional at the thing they are doing and the team exceptional as a whole.

 So, how does this all apply to my law firm, you are wondering?  If a chef sets out to have a place in a guest’s top five experiences of all time, why can’t a law firm approach client experience with the same determination and drive?  If your clients were asked who the top 5 service providers in their life have been, would your law firm make the cut?

If you consider the ‘ingredients’ in your client’s experience, you might be inclined to think about the best web experience, the best chat experience, the best phone experience, the best in-office experience, etc. Each of those “ingredients” is critically important, but most clients don’t think in “channels” or “ingredients” (e.g. “did I have a good web experience?”), they think in terms of the overall experience with your brand – “did I have a good experience with this firm?”

There is nothing more frustrating for a client than to be transferred to an attorney and have to repeat all of their information because the “channels” are not connected (e.g. the ingredients haven’t been stirred together). The best “ingredients” will fail if they are not stirred and blended in the right way.

In terms of execution, here are four key things you can do to create a memorable experience:

  1. Create memorable moments –“Success is not about fame, fortune, recognition or awards. It’s about memories that we collect throughout our lives.” Are you creating those memories for your clients? Create a great experience for clients.  Make moments memorable and you help build loyalty.
  2. Make it personal –You have a tremendous amount of data on your clients. Use these insights to let them know it’s all about them. Only them. It’s amazing how many law firms don’t take advantage of Big Data and/or don’t understand how to use it.
  3. Make it simple –Whether it’s hiring your firm or helping them get support to resolve a small issue, do you make it simple for clients to get what they need? In the world of client service, the path of least resistance is the winning path. Make it as easy as possible for your clients to get things done.
  4. Focus on intent –Forget the idea of channel-centric engagement (where most firms are today). Move to intent-driven engagement. This means using data to truly understand what your clients are trying to do, and responding accordingly. Leading firms are learning to anticipate and act on the client’s intent across any channel in those moments that matter most. This is what we see as the formula to deliver successful outcomes and it can help you provide intent-driven experiences for your clients.

“Leadership= confidence + courage.   It means having the confidence and courage to step outside the norm and say “I’m going to do better. I’m going to create a new standard.”

Are you ready to create a new standard in client experience?