I was sitting here thinking about an article I need to write and Casey Reagan, our Director of Operations sent me an article to read. Now of course I probably got nothing from it that she intended, but it did make me think, so here goes. With the recent “hacking in” situation off passwords at Gmail and LinkedIn, crisis and issues, trauma and DRAMA are all relative, for several reasons, 1) are they happening in your life, 2) are they happening to you personally, 3) are they truly a big deal – life, death, financial ruin/destitution and the most important question of all 4) how are they being handled by you and those around you? This is where your firm’s being client centric and the “whole client experience” kicks into overdrive. If you look your client in the face/eyes and say “I’ve got this, try your best not to worry”, then you’ve said a ton. If however, much like LinkedIn, you say very little, really didn’t address what happen and do very little to assuage the concerns of the millions of users/clients who have trusted you with their personal information, again you’ve said a ton. But the wrong ton! And remember the first rule your mother taught you, you never get a second chance to make a first impression, so, if the first time your client/potential client meets you; you say the wrong “ton”, sorry but there are very few “do overs” in life. You have just sunk your own ship.
So, here are my suggestions for you and your team to put into place that will help when the “CRISIS Client” ( and unfortunately to them 99.999% of them are CRISIS Clients) comes in:
- Make sure you’ve done your best to communicate with your team that they are coming. Your whole team needs to treat all clients with kid gloves or as if they are your only clients, but, if there is one in particular, that is having some “special issues”, make sure those who will come in contact with them know it.
- Make sure that all persons that speak to them are pleasant and polite, but not chatty. The less said the better.
- Make sure the tone of voice everyone uses is soothing, calm and confident. But again, the less said the better.
- Get them into an isolated space, comfortable with ice water, coffee, iced tea, or a cold beverage quickly. Poisonous clients infect the air.
- The entire time this is going on should be lasting less than 5 minutes and you should be ON TIME. If they are on time, you should be. If they are early, you should be, if at all possible.
- Try to have a brief bulleted outline of their complaints and how you can address them, be prepared of course for their “counter claims”; their “but, that’s not really the way it is for MEEEEE”, “ “my situation is completely different”…..
- Be sincere. Be very sincere. And Be Honest. If you aren’t going to be able to get them what they want, tell them, nicely and give them some of your give away items and don’t apologize for doing a great job. Just say that with the opposing insurance co and the facts as they are today, this is the best we can hope for.
Everything here has put the client first. Everything has been within the Bar’s guidelines in every state and everything here will leave them coming back for more and referring their friends and family. Don’t forget – if it is raining – I’d better see you walking them to their cars with your logo umbrella! (That I stole from Carter Mario in CT, thanks Carter!).
Hope everyone enjoys their summer. Looking forward to PILMMA, lots of new things to see and talk about in September! Until then, it’s time to turn so you won’t burn (and slather with that sunscreen, no more baby oil and lemon juice! – for those of you who are old enough to remember).
Lauren B. Currin, J.D.
President, Lawyers Marketing Associates, Inc.
919.637.9144 office-cell/919.692.0280 fax