A while back, I was talking to my lawyer about the “client service” I experience from him and his firm. It was evident that he was truly interested in my feedback. My response was simple. “I just have one complaint. I wish you would respond quicker to my phone calls and emails.”

When Can I Expect Your Call? | By Shep Hyken

Many times, he would take several days to respond – to both my phone calls and my emails. For what I was paying him, I felt that he should be giving me a better level of service. Well, it turns out that I wasn’t the only one who felt that way. Upon surveying clients of law firms, one of the common complaints is a slow response.

    It wasn’t long after that chat with my lawyer that I was hired to speak at a large law firm’s partner retreat. There were almost 500 lawyers in attendance. The client at the firm who hired me asked me to go over my content for the speech. One of the areas I emphasized was a quick response, specifically to phone calls. He asked me to take that section out. His explanation was that it was too basic and would potentially cause the audience to lose interest over information that was so rudimentary.

    The speaker who spoke just before me happened to be their number-one client, who worked at a company in Washington, D.C. that did millions of dollars each year in business with the firm. He talked about how great the law firm was, and then he opened it up for questions. The first question from one of the attorneys in the audience was, “Can you tell us something that we could do to make your experience better?”

    Without hesitation, the client said, “Return my phone calls faster.”

    I glanced over at my client and he had a petrified look on his face. He looked at me and whispered, “Maybe you should put the part about a quick response to phone calls and emails back into the speech.” I smiled and gave him the “thumbs up.”

    Here was a law firm that charged hundreds of dollars per hour for their work. Their clients were willing to pay this, adding up to millions of dollars per year. And, the first thought that came to mind when asked how to improve the experience was basic common-sense: just return calls quicker.

    I can’t emphasize this simple concept enough. Customers want to know that you are focused on them. Taking three days to call someone back shows a lack of focus, if not a lack of concern, for the customer – whether it’s true or not.

    So, there’s nothing fancy to teach for today’s customer service lesson. Nothing technical or difficult. Nothing that really takes practice or role-playing. It’s just a simple common-sense tactic that shows you are paying attention to your customer, and that’s just to call them back in a reasonable timeframe. Not three days. Not two days. But ideally, the same day. Maybe even within a few hours, if you’re available.

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    Shep Hyken
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