The 4 Biggest Client Service Turkeys of 2017

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Next week we will give thanks for all our good fortune. This week, The Mad Clientist gives thanks for all we can learn from the most egregious acts of client service. While these may provide a few laughs, they also provide insight into how clients think about their interactions and their experience—and why they appreciate superior client service.

Sure I Have Time for an Important Update—or—Whoops, I Have to Go

My law firm called and asked me if I had time for some important updates on my case. I said of course and settled in for the unscheduled call. They promptly started giving me a very detailed briefing on what appeared to be delicate issues in a matter which was not ours. I told them this wasn’t my case. Then—they simply said they “had to go” and hung up.

— As shared by the General Counsel of a leading pharmaceutical company

My Attorney Really Hit It Off with Opposing Counsel

I decided to give one of our newer law firms a complex but manageable case after they lobbied hard for more work. We had a good kick-off meeting—I felt they understood my key concern about risk and the need to contain the other side with language I wanted them to develop. They performed the work well.

The lead lawyer called me and asked if the partner who performed the work did a good job. I was immediately impressed—they had never asked for feedback before. I told the lead lawyer his firm did a good job. I’ll always remember—his next words were: “Then you wouldn’t mind if the lawyer who performed the work teamed with opposing counsel to work on a matter together at a nonprofit in which both attorneys have an interest—because the 2 attorneys really hit it off.”

— Shared with me during an in–depth interview with a partner at a private equity firm

My Accounting Department Won’t Let Me

“One my new goals was to provide better reporting to top management,” explains the Deputy General Counsel of a global bank, “I met with my partner at the firm who does the bulk of our litigation. I took the most recent invoice the firm sent me and marked it up with comments to show the changes I needed in order to be able to prepare my reports. He listened and acknowledged what I said. The next invoice came through and it looked just like all the other bills. No changes I could see. I sent my partner an email asking what happened. Two days passed and I had no response to my email. I called and left a message. We talked a day later at which point my partner explained he would investigate. Again no response until I called him a couple of days later. My partner told me: “my accounting department won’t let me make the changes you want.” I had to wonder to myself how he would stand up to my adversaries if he wouldn’t stand up to his own accounting department.

— As explained by the Deputy General Counsel for Litigation of a global bank

I Know the CEO

One of the attorneys (at Law Firm X) was so obnoxious that we actually told the firm we would only work with certain attorneys and not this particular attorney on any of our cases. He is very rude and abrasive. But we didn't hold this against the firm because there are so many very good attorneys there. He actually went behind our backs to complain about us to our CEO. After that, no one trusted him, not even our CEO, who asked that the firm never work on any of our cases again.

— Detailed by the EVP/General Counsel of a large power generation company

The moral of these stories: Don’t be a turkey—gobble gobble.

Happy Thanksgiving!

MBR