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Solo In Chicago

...empowering the Second City's entrepreneurial legal community

Friday, October 27, 2006

You can make almost any service upscale

I just wanted to follow-up on Thursday's post regarding Total Customer Experience.

The September 2006 Entrepreneur Magazine had a piece about C & M Moving and Storage, "white-glove movers." They're a Houston-based company offering specialty moving services to customers with artwork or high-priced furniture.

If movers can go "upscale," aren't there ways to make your legal services more upscale (and profit greatly from it)?

A quote from the piece, "luxury consumers are not lacking in material goods, and they also frequently look for what I call luxury experiences." I think this is applicable to the practice of law. Clearly not all aspects of a practice. Some legal work is hard slug-it-out stuff where a client needs to be in the trenches with you. However, the example I go back to is the boring/bland real estate closing. I think some clients want to make one phone call telling you they want to sell their home and that's it. They want to be hands-off. They want a nice package of documents post-closing not just some slip-shop old envelope of things. They want more than the correct result. Great customer service feels good, right?

I know I often miss this point being cheap and almost too logical. I'm overly analytical and just see some of these extras as "fluff." But a lot of people want to pay for the fluff. I was just down at a conference at the Ritz-Carlton in Naples, FL...nice place. I think the subject of this post is analogous to the turn-down service at the Ritz. I think it's "fluff" and I'd never pay for it myself. But lots of people want to pay for those little chocolates and vases of flowers!


At 8:17 AM, Blogger RJon@HowToMakeItRain.com said...

A relevant snippet from a recent post over at my blog, howtomakeitrain.com/blog. . .

Over the past 30 years our present Service Economy displaced the previous economy based on goods.

In other words, it became less important to have a better mousetrap, than to be able to just catch the mice for your customers, who began to think of themselves as clients.

And what we're beginning to see are signs of our Service Economy being replaced by one where a person's Experience with a product or service is of tantamount importance. In other words, it's no longer good enough to catch the mouse faster & cheaper & more reliably. Now you have to give the customer/client an interesting Experience, not just the expected result.

We're already seeing this happen throughout the legal industry where so many legal services are percieved to be commodities. The authors of The Experience Economy write, "Those businesses that relegate themselves to the diminishing world of goods and services will be rendered irrelevant. To avoid this fate, you must learn to stage a rich, compelling experience."

I know it's scary to think that when you went to law school, all you were told you had to do was learn how to be a great lawyer and everything else would take care of itself. Then, reality hit you in the face and you begrudgingly accepted that not only did you have to be a great lawyer, but you had to give great service - fast, valuable and predictable service - which law school never taught you anything about.

And now here I am telling you even THAT is not enough! Not if you want to grow your practice and prevent clients from being poached by all your competitors.

So, the question you are faced with, if you want to make more money and have a better life, is how can you package your services to deliver an EXPERIENCE clients will pay for?


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