The 4 Biggest Client Service Turkeys of 2016

Once again it's time for The Mad Clientist to give thanks to the attorneys delivering some of this year’s most egregious client service turkeys. We share these true stories from corporate counsel in the hopes we can all learn some lessons—and have a few laughs.

Using Time Wisely

I asked the law firm we pay the most money to for ideas to help shape an RFP I was asked to prepare. I told them I was not being forced to change firms—the decision as to final hires was mine and mine alone. After a day or two this firm came back and told me they did not want participate in the RFP if I wasn't changing firms, telling me “it wasn’t a good use of their time.”

I did not include this firm in the final new panel—and they asked if I would reconsider. I declined.

– As shared during a client feedback interview for a BTI client (used with permission)


Where Does Our Partner Work

I called my law firm one day and asked for our partner. The person who answered the phone asked me: “Does that person still work here?”

If that wasn’t bad enough, she then said, “I don’t know if that person works here anymore.”

– Experience shared during an in-depth interview with General Counsel as part of BTI’s annual research (used with permission)


Waiver First, Then the Subpoena

One of our law firms also represents a competitor in a suit in which we were involved. They sent us a subpoena that was over-broad--easily the most outrageous subpoena I've seen in 15 years. And then they asked for a waiver of conflict.

– Experience shared during an in-depth interview with General Counsel as part of BTI’s annual research (used with permission)


Why I Would Want to Talk to Our Partner

I called a new law firm who had won some new work with us. I called our partner and the call was answered by announcing the name of the firm. I asked to speak to our partner—I heard some hushed discussion in the background and was asked, “Why would I want to speak to Mr. Partner?” I responded: “I am a client of Mr. Partner’s.” I could hear more hushed voices in the background discussing how no one “had any idea” where Mr. Partner is and wondered out loud what to do with the “person on the phone.”

– As shared during a client feedback interview for a BTI client (used with permission)


You can find more client service turkeys—and the skills to keep yourself out of the turkey fryer—in my Amazon Customer Service Best Selling book: Clientelligence: How Superior Client Relationships Fuel Growth and Profits. Already in use at more than 100 law firms, the 17 activities within Clientelligence are proven drivers of superior client relationships and growth. Based on 14,000 in-depth interviews BTI conducted with clients, this consistent and systematic approach to developing superior client service skills gives you unparalleled access to your clients’ most complex—and premium-rate—work.

MBR