Hello. Welcome back from lunch. I am super pleased to introduce Erin Gerstenzang
to you. Erin is a criminal defense lawyer in Atlanta,
Georgia. She is involved in a wide variety of leadership
and sort of personal development, activities. But on a more personal note, I’ve gotten to
know Erin quite well actually over the last year and I just want to say that she is one
of the most interesting, sincere, open minded. I could go on and on but she’s just truly
a really great human being, besides being a really great public speaker because she’s
a criminal defense lawyer so she knows how to get that done. Let me stop talking so you can hear from her. Ladies and gentlemen, Erin Gerstenzang. Awesome. Thank you. I’m really excited to be here to talk to you
about two of my favorite topics, which are both designing an exceptional client experience
and also building in amazing efficiencies into your office so that you can save time
and spend less time at the office hopefully. To start, I want to ask everybody in the room
to just take a moment and imagine the best attorney that you know in your space. You don’t have to close your eyes, just get
that person in your head. I would be willing to wager that the person
you’re imagining is the person who delivers the best results, the best outcomes. In my world that means the best trial attorney. While I think that results are very important
and I spent many years developing and focusing just on trial skills and results. I think we might be missing the mark a little
bit as attorneys and we maybe over emphasizing results and under emphasizing client experience. I want to illustrate this I want to share
a story with you about something that happened to me now about two years ago where I had
a local friend of mine, a local attorney reach out to me. He’s like Erin I need your help. Steve had a secretary who’s husband had been
arrested for DUI and it was in a far away state, for purposes of anonymity we’re just
going to call that state Maine. He said look, I know you’re really involved
with the National College for DUI Defense, tiny little group, but we need to find the
best attorney to represent him. Who is the person that you would recommend? I like Steve and I would have helped him and
given him the best recommendation regardless of who he was married to, but he happens to
be married to a judge in front of whom I practice quite regularly. I was going to be sure to give him the best
referral. I knew who it was. I was like, I know the guy, I’ve taught with
him, we’ve done mock trials, he has a great reputation, although I’ve never seen him in
court I happen to know he’s the best attorney in this example is Maine. I refer him to them and they end up ultimately
hiring him, although they’re grumbling a little bit about the price. They come back to me and they say Erin, you
know $10,000 is a lot of money. I said, well you know that seems about right. In my world at least you do often get what
you pay for. They hire him and I don’t hear anything about
for about eight months when my phone starts blowing up. Steve is texting me, his secretary is texting
me, I’ve gotten to know her along the way. They are just beside themselves. Not only have they not really heard from the
attorney since they paid him $10,000, the communication from the awesome has not been
awesome and they recently got a call from the office saying not only do you owe us more
money but your case is coming up next week and you need to figure out a way to get a
plane ticket and get up here next week for court. Now I’m under the gun, because I’ve convinced
these people to pay $10,000 for this attorney who I vouched for. I text my attorney friend in Maine, just sort
of checking in. Like hey, what’s going on? How is everything? Is there anything I can do to help? Of course he apologized and said, so sorry
Erin I meant this was supposed to be a VIP client, somehow it slipped through the cracks. Don’t worry, they don’t have to come to court,
I’m going to handle it. The good news is, that this story ends well. He ends up getting the case dismissed, which
is not if you don’t do criminal defense work particularly DUI work, that’s somewhat rare. The case is dismissed and it’s amazing news
and we’re all very relieved. The problem for my friend in Maine is that
you know I will never refer another case to him ever again. My friend Steve in Atlanta will never refer
another case to him again and his actually client will never refer another case to him
again. You know, why is that? Because for $10,000 although we hoped for
the best possible defense we never expected that when you pay $10,000 you were going to
get a dismissal. But what we absolutely did expect is that
when you pay $10,000 you’re going to be treated well throughout the process and the experience
of being the client will be a good experience. What’s happening there? Why is he losing these referrals? Right? That is this the results should matter. Right? There’s actually really good data on this
particular topic. I’m a big fan of Malcolm Gladwell and in his
book, “Blink” he looked at the research done by Wendy Levinson and Daniel Shuman. What they studied was they were looking for
a correlation between doctors who were being sued for malpractice and what they expected
to see was incompetent doctors were going to be sued more often. I mean, after all, that’s why in part we have
the civil system, to weed out. How can you agree this problematic medical
situations while you use the civil system? Surprisingly they found almost no correlation
between competency and malpractice suits. Rather what they found was you were much more
likely to get sued if one of three things happened. Your patient was made to feel ignored, treated
poorly or rushed. They were all experiential based reasons. This is a little bit curious and they dug
a little deeper. First they said well look, this is really
interesting. Results as it turns out are not what people
are necessarily focusing on and that seems a little bit crazy. It was actually the results plus experience. When they dug deeper they ended up doing a
second study and I have no idea how they got people to agree to getting this data but they
got transcripts of doctors talking to their patients. They took two groups of doctors. One group who had been sued two or more times
for malpractice. The other group that had never been sued. Immediately upon looking at the transcripts
they saw a dramatic difference about what was happening in those rooms. On average the people who were not getting
sued, they spent three or more minutes on average with each patient. They said things like, I’ll leave more time
for questions at the end. They asked things like, tell me more about
that. They used humor in the interaction. These are not necessarily medical procedures,
but it was making the world of difference. What this tells us is experience matters even
if it shouldn’t. The problem is in the medical world we assume
why would that matter? You have a medical problem, you have cancer,
you go to a doctor because you want to cure cancer right? You go to a lawyer, you have a legal problem
you want the legal problem solved. If human beings were rational beings then
that would make sense. We love to pretend that we are, but in fact
we are not. If we were rational beings we would all be
eating a lot more fruits and vegetables, we’d be exercising all the time. We would be doing all the things that we know
are good for us, but yet we choose not to do. We are social animals. Experience matter and what the data tells
us is experience matters, not just as much often, crazily enough it matters even more
than the result. Lawyers should be paying attention to this
because we are so focused on results that we sometimes forget that your trial, right,
a trial in my practice is usually about a day or two days long. My representation is 365 days or longer. That client has an attorney and has a representation
and has needs for so many more days beyond trial and if we’re not paying attention to
that then we could be creating problems for ourselves along the way. Results plus experience matter. Now you could say well, that’s ridiculous
Erin. This is terrible news. That makes no sense. I think there’s a better message to take from
this. I think there’s a message of optimization
because much like doctors we cannot control for results. I cannot control for the facts that come in
my office. You’re arrested for DUI I cannot control the
fact that you fell out of the car when the officer asked you to exit the car and told
him you drank a case of beer in the last two hours. I can’t change those facts, no matter how
good my trial skills are. But what I can control for 100% control of
is experience you have with my firm. If that’s what matters to you just as much
and sometimes more than the results, well then that is not only a huge competitive advantage
but that is a message of optimism. That is something we can absolutely give to
our clients. What does this look like in law firms? I want to give this example of Billie…,
is she here? She’s here at the conference. I’ve never told this story in front of her
so it’s a little nerve racking to tell her story in front of her but she runs the Modern
Law Practice in Arizona and it’s family law practice. She has designed most stages of the client
experience with her office, but my favorite one is her onboarding experience. Here’s how it works, you know most family
law practices or any legal practice, a client, a new client calls and your secretary has
some kind of list of information they’re getting and family law practice how many kids do you
have? What are your assets? Things of that nature. Great, an attorney will be in touch with you,
we’ll talk later. That’s not how Billie runs it. She has a team dedicated exclusively to the
onboarding experience and their job, they don’t have a list of information to get. They have one mandate and that mandate is
to stay on the phone with that person for 40 minutes. Just talk to them. That’s it. This is an amazingly brilliant business strategy
for a couple of reasons. First of all, it really shows know how to
put herself in her clients shoes and understand their paying point. People who are calling a family law attorney
are in terrible emotional turmoil. Right? If they have children they’re about to break
their children’s heart, they have their whole life is swirling around them. Giving that person someone to just listen
to them, talk about their pain is an incredible client experience to deliver. It’s not only a nice thing to do, but it’s
super smart and strategic as well. The second thing that’s really smart about
this is that the 40 minutes that that person spends talking to someone who she’s paying
not nearly as much as the other lawyers in her office. Those are 40 minutes of hand holding and just
emotional outpouring dumping that the lawyer does not have to do. That person, she provides them with someone
to do that on the front end. She’s saving time for the lawyers, and this
probably the third reasons is probably my favorite strategic reason, just super smart. After a person spends 40 minutes talking to
someone in her firm about all their woes and all their most intimate personal drama that’s
happening in their life they hang up that phone and they are emotionally exhausted. There is no way they are picking up the phone
to call another law firm to make another appointment with one of her competitors. It’s just not going to happen. You know when people call us it’s usually
the first time they’ve ever hired a lawyer, right? They don’t know that that’s not going to happen
every single time. They’re like oh forget this, I’m going to
go meet with that lawyer and I’ll decide later. This is just a brilliant strategy because
she’s building in not only the customer client experience but what’s working for her law
firms. Now she says when she hires people she’s also
doing something really smart, she’s hiring them remotely. These are not people on site. The one skill she’s hiring for is empathy
and she tells people look, you’re going to burn after a year so this is a one year gig. This is what it is. You can’t take that kind of pain and put out
that kind of empathy for more than a year and still stay effective. Okay so what does this look like when we’re
talking about our own firms? Regardless of what your practice is. We want to look for simple process improvements. You’ll know that you found the right improvement
when it’s both better for your client and better for you as a lawyer. Let’s talk about the client experience. Billie has curated and designed an amazing
onboarding client experience, but that doesn’t mean that the firms who haven’t spent that
kind of time are not creating a client experience. There is a client experience that that client
is having, it’s just the default client experience. It’s whatever your secretary’s mood is, whatever
the person who’s picking up the phone is. It is not designed and therefor things are
happening that you may not approve of or that you may not want to be happening and may not
be beneficial to your firm. When you start thinking about how do I bring
these practices into my office to enhance client experience and office efficiency you
want to really think hard about designing it because defaulting it can be dangerous. Let’s talk about general places where you
can really dramatically improve. The first thing you should be thinking about
in your office is where can you be developing phone friendly practices? By that I mean, let your client interact with
your firm through their phone? Can they get it done on their phone just like
we like to do everything? If I can do something from my phone. I tell this story. We had to pick a new dentist and maybe the
responsible thing for teeth cleaning would be to ask a bunch of people and get good referrals. But quite honestly I’m a mom and I’m a practicing
attorney and I don’t have a ton of time. I will tell you the dentist who I signed up
for let me schedule online, let me book the appointment from my phone. These are things that consumers expect now
and we are looking for and it is a place to be very competitive. The first thing I had worked for in my space
is a large firm but laughably small for other spaces. We had about like 10 lawyers in criminal defense
firm. I had four secretaries at the time that I
decided to go solo. I knew that when I went solo I didn’t want
that overhead. You know there wasn’t anything that they were
doing that I couldn’t do, so I had an amazing boss and a great runway to sort of design
my practice before I had to leave. I looked around and I looked to see where
they were spending the most time and what was happening in this process. One of the places that they were spending
time was in this retainer agreement. Sometimes the people would come in and sign
and when they were physically coming into the office but that’s also if you can figure
out a way to keep clients out of your office and doing this over the phone it’s a huge
time saver. Electronic fee agreements was an amazing unlock
for my practice. This is so good for the attorney. This is how it works, the client says we’re
on the phone, I’m talking to them. They say okay great Erin I’m ready to hire. What are the next steps? Awesome. Hopefully, usually I’m in the car driving
to some other court in the morning. I’m like hey just text me your full name and
your email address. From my car I can start a chain reaction which
sends them an electronic fee agreement. They can read and sign from their phone. They submit it, I get it back, I can sign
it from my phone. Everybody gets emailed a copy of the PDF. I also run a paperless office, I never have
to print it out and it’s done. Now this is important also for the psychology
of the consumer. What when a client has a legal problem, what
is usually the only thing they can do to start solving their problem? One set. Legal problem. Anybody? Hire a lawyer. That is the one thing they can do. How can they know if they’ve hired a lawyer? They’ve signed a document. I have colleagues who truly they’re like oh
yes this client is going to be onboarded. I just got to get around to sending the fee
agreement. Well, if you’re waiting a week man and somebody
is asking that client hey do you have a lawyer? I don’t know I think I do. They’re still shopping. Clients love … I did this from an efficiency
perspective, what I realized is its a huge competitive advantage. Clients love to check this off their list. We are one of the to do items on their list. Giving them the electronic fee agreements
let’s them do that. You also want to look for ways to be collaborative
with your clients. One thing clients hate, and lawyers we do
it all the time we think you’ve hired me to take on your legal problem. Now it’s my problem, go ahead and get out
of the way. I’m handling it, don’t get in my way. I don’t need your help. How many people have had clients offer their
nephew at NYU law school. If you need any legal briefing just let me
know, he can help. Why thanks that’s really helpful. They like to be collaborative. That is what they’ll ask, what can I do to
help? Usually the answer unfortunately is not much. But, what I’ve found and again I came to this,
I started using these online designing and using an online intake form. I did this again, I will admit, for an efficiency
reason. This was something another place where the
secretaries were spending an immense amount of time doing this intake and we get the ticket,
we got a ton of different pieces of paper, they are hand typing my clients name into
the case management software. Not only was it very time consuming and I
knew it was a task I did not want to do as a solo, and remember I also don’t want to
hire someone to do. It was prone for errors. If you’re doing that intake and you’re putting
in five clients a day, names are going to be misspelled. Maybe it’s the police officer’s name, maybe
worse, the clients name. Maybe it’s just me, maybe nobody else in this
room has ever been in the nightmare situation where some pleading goes out and the client’s
name has been misspelled and then the client sees it. There could be no greater offense for the
client that’s paid you a ton of money that you can’t even spell their name right. What I’ve found when I started using these
online forms and the clients were filling out the information 100% of the time the names
are spelled correctly. They are very invested in giving me all the
right information about their case and they love working on it. I’d given them an assignment. What can I do to help? You’re going to get an email from me and we
are going to get the form. I need you to fill out the form. You can attach all of the documents. We make it time to talk about this, let’s
see, even better … This is one up. Anybody here familiar with like Zapier? Automation tools. There’s some fun automation tools, you don’t
need to be a tech whiz. You just need to have patience, like a 10
minute YouTube video, you can be a whiz in Zapier as well. Zapier let’s your applications talk to one
another. When that client fills out that form that
I have them fill out, not only do I have the information emailed to me so I can see it
but it also goes and populates a new client file in my Clio, case management software. I haven’t done anything. I have the clients, so I’m on the phone with
my client and they say great I went to hire and I’m driving to court. I start the chain reaction. They have signed a fee agreement by the time
I pull into court, signed a fee agreement, they have filled out the form so my new client
profile is in my system already and I will have sent them an electronic invoice so I’ve
been paid. That’s just on my morning commute to court. The clients love it. What I found was I started this as an efficiency
tool and it actually was this huge competitive advantage. As anyone who’s sane has gone out solo I was
terrified when I did it like am I going to pay my mortgage? Is this going to work? Are clients going to find me? Then my phone started ringing off the hook. One of the things I discovered was I was doing
this as an efficiency out of necessity, out of the desire to be a solo, but this is the
modern world, this is how clients want to interact with their law firm. It really was an eye opening experience to
discover this was a huge competitive advantage. The other place you want to look is let’s
reduce friction when it comes to working with a firm. You don’t need to make it overly difficult
to communicate. If you’re still requiring them and here are
examples of making it difficult. Do they have to pick up the phone and talk
to a live person? Is a phone call involved? That seems crazy if you were practicing law
10 years ago to think of course, you have to call the secretary and you have to get
information. This is now a new world. This is not how the world once interact with
us. We don’t want to have to talk to a live person
to get important things done. One example of that is online scheduling. I really like this tool Calendly. When somebody first suggested online scheduling
to me I thought they were crazy because over my dead body was I putting my schedule, you
know too out there so that people could just schedule the time that they wanted. There’s no way I was going to let that happen
until I started. I just was curious. A lot of this, if you’re not using technology,
don’t feel overwhelmed. All you need is a little bit of curiosity
and YouTube. It’s true. Is started playing with Calendly and what
I like to use Calendly for and you can use it however you want, whatever kind of scheduling
you want. I use it in a limited scope for … I’ll give
you an example. This is my least favorite email to get from
a client. It’s Monday morning, first thing. Hey Erin, what’s going on? Nothing urgent, I just want to touch base. Give me a call whenever you’re free this week. That is a nightmare email for me to get. Because I’m not going to remember that, I
don’t have four secretaries anymore chasing me around to make sure that’s going to get
done. There is no moment in the day and yeah I have
a to do list but that is just not going to happen. I have a very strict policy as a solo without
a secretary, there is never a time when a client is like oh you said you were going
to call me back. I built procedures around me so I never say
hey I’m going to call you back. What I say is hey I’m going to be free on
Friday around 10. I’m in trial right now, I’m going to be free
on Friday around 10, call me then. You know who never forgets to call me? Clients. It’s really important to them. When they do amazingly I get these emails
apologizing to me for forgetting to call. I use Calendaly for those kinds of emails
where they say hey. I’m like, great I have a link set up. It only looks at my calendar from the hours
of two to four, five days a week. The reason that I do is I’m in court most
mornings. Two to four is my window where I like to talk
to clients where I’m not going to get interrupted. They can pick 15 minutes. They schedule it through Calendly, really,
really easy. The interface is amazing. They get an email once they’ve scheduled it
saying you’ve scheduled a phone call with Erin. You will call her at this time and at this
number. Then you can set it up however many reminders
you want. I have mine set up for an hour before the
call, just a reminder you have a call scheduled with Erin, call her at this number. Sometimes they don’t call because they don’t
need to talk to me anymore. That’s a ball that I never ever ever will
drop and it’s a super useful tool. I have friends who use the Calendarly in a
lot of different ways depending on the practice. One that I love, Brooke Moore, who you heard
from this morning she uses this and she uses Zapier. This is Zapier enabled tool, where she likes
to use Aquity and that’s her scheduling tool. She lets clients schedule consultations online. When they schedule it, it also interacts with
Stripe, which collects the payment for the consultation. Without her or a secretary getting involved
the client has booked and paid for the appointment, which just shows up on her calendar. There are really clever ways to make these
apps work for your process. While every practice is going to be different
we can all capitalize on these tools and make them fit for our practice. We have to remember and there’s been amazingly
I love how many people have been emphasizing practicing law as a business. It absolutely is, that is why I’m doing it. I think lawyers struggle with what does that
mean? How many people in here accept credit card
payments? Okay good, this is like actually better than
most groups of lawyers. How many people in here accept credit card
payments by online? Okay. Fewer number. About half the people are accreting credit
card payments here are still the alternative is what do you have to do if you’re not dong
it online? Between nine and five call my secretary, play
your credit card, give her the payment information and oh if you’re on the payment plan do that
every month. Credit card payments, if you’re in business
right now … I understand why people don’t want credit card payments and why they don’t
want to use the services where you can invoice because it does cost money. Back in 2010 maybe that was an optional cost,
but in 2018 credit card services are just a cost of doing business. Rent office rent, is a cost of doing business. Getting business cards is a cost of doing
business. Dry cleaning is a cost of doing business. I don’t like to pay any of those, but you
still have to pay it. Clients don’t want to pay bills between nine
to five. They’re busy just like we are. They’re paying bills at 11 pm at night when
they’ve gotten everything else done and the kids are in bed and now they can get started
on their to do list. Make working with your firm easy. Don’t introduce those friction points where
they don’t have to exist. I will tell you that I’m in a war. My daughter takes ballet and I don’t know
why but ballet schools, a lot of them think that they don’t have to take credit card payments
at all and they send me invoices and they want checks and they’re like well you haven’t
paid for three months. I’m like well … We mailed you an invoice. I’m like well that’s why you haven’t gotten
paid. Send me an email and I’ll pay your invoice. I’m very happy, I will tell you consumers
will turn on you in an instant because I am turning and we no longer using them and I
am picky. I’m like now I get to go a different company
and I’m going to pick a company based upon in part hey do you take electronic payments,
do you make it easy for me or not? Because my life and everybody’s life is too
busy, it’s not just me. You also want to … The overarching theme
here is embracing technology. We heard it this morning, these are the places
you can build in a competitive advantage. When it comes to basic organization and the
standard of care, it used to be the case that for instance case management software was
rare. Anybody in here using case management software? Putting your files in the cloud? Okay good. A pretty good number. There are concerns about people say wow I
want to user my server, I don’t want to put things in the cloud. Let me just say this one point. You know I guarantee that whatever part time
IT guy law firms are using, he’s not nearly as sophisticated as Clio’s full time around
the clock security team. When we talk about these sort of breeches,
data breeches, because that’s something lawyers have to worry about on top of ransomware. One of the things that we look to when establishing
whether or not the lawyer was taking precautions to protect the data is were they taking the
reasonable standard of care? When you talk to people at your state bar
what they will all strongly recommend and tell you is case management software. It’s shocking to me that they don’t actually
just come out and tell attorney’s. It would be very helpful if they just said
hey we require it. That is the first thing when you get disciplinary
complaints, and it often leads to investigation and often it’s like an organization problem. They’ll come, at least in Georgia they’ll
send a representative come to your office and they’ll sit down. The first recommendation is case management
software. This is no longer we have to stop thinking
of this as optional. This really is mandatory in order to function
and it’s great because I can run my practice here. I can run it off my phone. I have every single file available. Okay so when we talk about client experience,
and I’ll tell you in particular in the criminal defense world. I get a lot of people who are pretty jaded
about it and they say you know what Erin, I’ll tell you what my client experience is,
you’re not going to jail. That’s the only client experience that I’m
focused on. They don’t think necessarily that it’s important. I like to talk about Uber as a great example
of they didn’t really change much about the transportation industry. Uber still serves the basic service that taxi
cabs do. Do you move from point A to point B? Right, you got that. What Uber did which was just brilliant is
it zeroed in on these pain points. Where’s the friction in getting into a taxi? The first one is calling it. You have to actually pick up a phone unless
you’re in New York or in most cities around America as I learned when I moved from New
York to Atlanta you cannot hail a cab. You have to actually call a cab. First you have to talk to a live person. The second pain point is you have to wait. You don’t know how long you’re waiting. It could be five minutes, it could be 45 minutes. They eliminated that pain point. The third pain point they eliminated was,
do you know where you’re going? Directions. Or are you worried that the guy is driving
you around the city because maybe you don’t know. That pain point was eliminated. Finally, my favorite was the exchange of money. I took a cab, like old fashioned a tax to
this hotel from the airport and I just got out and I’m ready to go out and check in forgetting
that I had to pay. These experiences really deeply matter to
humans. We are social beings. We value the experience. If you can pinpoint those pain points and
those points of friction and eliminate them in your firm it’s a huge competitive advantage. It’s not just me up here saying oh work for
my practice. This slide is a slide of the design value
index fund from 2005 to 2015. It’s compared to the SNP 500. What you will see and you’ll see what they
focused on was hey let’s get a bunch of companies that care a lot about design and customer
experience and let’s see if they’re going to outperform the market. Let’s put them together in an index and you’ll
see Apple, Coca Cola, Walt Disney. Companies that are known for doing and delivering
amazing client experience. What you’ll notice from 2005 to 2009 there
wasn’t much of a differential. They didn’t really pull that far away from
the SNP 500. At around 2009 you see a dramatic difference. Now one explanation for this difference might
be, well maybe they weren’t really paying that close attention to user experience but
anybody’s who’s owned an Apple product or who has been to Walt Disney before 2009 know
that that’s not true. They’ve always been investing in it. What’s the other explanation? The other explanation is it’s not the product
that’s changed, it’s the consumer that have changed. We as consumers are different than where we
were in 2008. We know very well what a good client experience
is. We are willing to pay for it. That is why these companies are doing so well
and like the ballet example, I am very willing to pay … companies that do not not pay for
it. A good example is the cable box. For years how annoying was that? Tivo was way better. The cable box never invested at all in user
experience. Oh it’s sort through, push the button a million
times to get where you’re wanting to go. Nobody is really that sad that nobody owns
cable, nobody continues to have a cable subscription anymore right? As soon as Apple TV came out and they invested
a ton on user expedience so many people moved, myself included. I don’t feel at all bad about leaving AT&T. Never. They did not have my loyalty because for years
they did not care that they were delivering an inferior product. When you’re thinking about how to design for
this want to think of Disney’s rules of customer service. Most of think of Disney because of the theme
parks or the movies. Disney actually has a very profitable side
business. It’s the institute of customer experience. It’s actually where companies pay, their consultants
and companies, large companies pay an outrageous amount of money to go get trained by Disney
to figure out how to deliver this client experience because they frankly are the experts. Disney have a lot of rules about customer
experience but what they have in their parks and what they train their employers on are
four specific steps to customer service. The first one is to listen. Somebody is having a problem, make sure you
listen to them. The second thing, no matter what it is that
they’ve said, you apologize. Now interestingly of these four things lawyers
are not particularly known for listening or apologizing. But if you follow the Disney and customer
service rules you will find that almost all of your problems are solved by implementing
those two rules. If they don’t work, well then you roll up
your sleeves and you solve them and at the end you thank your client for bringing this
problem to your attention. I want to give you an example of what is so
common for attorney’s when they get bad reviews. John Doe, this attorney was very pushy and
rushed through everything with me as a client in criminal court. Very mind boggling experience, very stressful. Was misled in almost every aspect of my case. I will tell you as a criminal defense attorney
I see this happening in the hallways all the time. This story is very true to me about a lot
of criminal defense attorneys. Now, this is like a little bit of a practice
pointer you should respond to negative reviews, you should not respond this way. Attorney response the client was a pimp who’s
exposure was cut from 200 plus to 20 years. He fired his first lawyer after two weeks. I would take whatever he says with a grain
of salt. The fact that he couldn’t face a trial, lied
about the 12 to 13 times I visited him in jail and his life long criminality should
tell you everything about him. That after 10 years of pimping he only had
gold teeth to show for it. [inaudible 00:36:55] everything. Not awesome. I really love legal ethics and their due rating
into all of these ethical problems as well when it comes to confidentiality by responding
that way. But this is unfortunately very typical of
how we do respond. What I like is I came across this, and this
is sort of embracing the Disney spirit of own your mistakes. We are going to make mistakes, we can’t always
be perfect. I love this example of how to respond to the
negative reviews. I’m so sorry you had this experience. At the Smith law firm we spend so much time
helping so many injured workers get the worker’s compensation benefits they need. Perhaps we can sometimes be slower at returning
individual phone calls than we would like. It’s our mission to stand up for the average
working guy against big insurance companies, so that does take a lot of time. We will recommit to helping as many injured
workers as we can so thank you for bringing this to my attention to address. Now, not only are they embracing the Disney
rules of customer service. Who are they really speaking to? The next client. I’ll tell you what, I would hire this guy. Why? Because although he might have failed that
other client, what he is communicating is he cares about his clients. He’s working hard to help his clients and
he’s going to recommit to make sure that it doesn’t happen again. There’s another part of this Disney rule. It’s funny I got to talk to a bunch of lawyers
and this is a group that I’ve known ever since forever, since I started practicing law. There’s this one guy and he’s a legend in
my world. He comes up to me after. We were talking about this and he goes, well
that’s great. I think it’s great Erin, whatever. I’ll just tell you that I can yell at my clients. He’s reached this pinnacle and he’s so well
known that he just yells at his clients and they do what he says and they beg him for
representation. I was like that’s great, it’s also great that
you’re retiring. He is retiring. It wasn’t a dig. He’s retiring because that did work. What he was reflecting is how attorneys always
have behaved, but that no longer works. In fact, the better you are, if you’re charging
a $10,000 fee for a DUI representation the more customer experience or service they expect. If you have a reputation for excellence or
sit at that high end you need to work much harder to ensure this excellence occurs at
each and every customer interaction. Otherwise, you will lose customers that would
have accepted the same treatment from your competitors. If you have, if you’re lucky enough to have
reached that point in your career, where you are the best. You are delivering the best results to your
clients you cannot rely on that reputation alone to continue your success. The 2009 consumers and beyond expect far more
than just excellent results. In closing, this is actually shouldn’t be
terrifying, it shouldn’t be scary. This is actually an optimistic message and
it’s actually a great opportunity for attorney’s, especially younger attorney’s, who may not
have the experience that these more reputable trained attorney’s have. You can be highly competitive by just embracing
these practices and just recognizing hey, we can’t. Even the best of the best of the best attorneys
can never control for results. If they tell you they can you should definitely
not trust them. You cannot control for results, but what you
always can control for is the experience that your clients have with your firm. With that, thank you. Do you guys have any questions? Hi. Hi. My question is when you’re talking about getting
the client forms come on. You have a similar practice to what I do so
I’m curious. A client calls, son just got arrested on DUI,
you know let’s assume they’re outside the area, you can’t get them in the office. Obviously you want to get them in if you can,
but let’s assume you do the consult over the phone. Okay yeah that’s great, you know. I really want to come in and meet you. When do you send them the intake form? The second they call? Do you send it to them after you’ve spoken
with them? Give me a better sense as far as the process. Sure. When they do come into my office and traditionally
the way I was trained and mentored and my parents both practiced this kind of law and
the way that they had done it was doing the in office intake. Now when I do those I will send them afterwards. There’s no paperwork that’s exchanged. I’ve actually designed my practice to get
really good on the phone because when I can sell on the phone and now 90% of my clients
hire over the phone. When I sell on the phone that’s what they
want to do because clients don’t want to come in for a face to face meeting because now
they have to take time off, they have to take their out of school. When that opportunity is available to them
but that does hinge on your ability to communicate hey, you have an online presence that corroborates
like they this person is trustworthy, they’re going to help you. Then they can hire on the phone. The point is, consumers that is I do still
have old school people. They want to come in and see face to face
and I have no problems with that but the better we get at selling on the phone I save so much
time by not booking those appointments, mainly because I can’t exit. If you’re in front of me and I’m going to
help you solve the problem time just files and all of a sudden I come out and it’s like
two hours later and I’ve lost half my day. I will send it to them afterwards and occasionally
I will say I have some older clients and they’re like can you print that out for me? That is few and far between increasingly as
the years go by. With my office, this is just my take on it,
I’ve found that the close ration is about 80% higher if they’re face to face. I understand what our rule is it’s distance,
if it’s more than an hour a way then we’ll talk to them over the phone. If they’re under an hour we want them in the
office. Honestly there’s some cases you can tell they’re
ready to go right there. My problem is I find they shop, particularly
in DUI. They do shop for a DUI and it’s one of the
most competitive next to PI, it’s one of the most competitive industries. That’s where thinking about design thinking
around your intake process and around that conversation is really critical to your business
because I can’t tell you when I nailed that and when you can sell on the phone. I almost had no idea like what am I going
to do with all of this extra time? I went from working outrageous hours to it’s
like the week would go by and I had all of this free time. Those are exactly those moments. The client actually doesn’t want to come into
your office and talk to you. They really don’t. They want to be able to make that decision
over the phone, so spending time thinking about what are the words that you’re using,
how are you communicating with them on the phone will really help you be able to pivot
and close on the phone. I’m making money when I’m driving to court. That is where I want to be. I don’t want to have my whole afternoon as
you know if you’re doing those consultations. They can be agonizingly long. You don’t want hem to be shopping and part
of this is I [inaudible] they don’t have to shop. My prices are far higher than what the average
DUI attorney is charging so they are paying a premium and they are so happy to do it from
the comfort of their office or home. Any other questions? Okay well I had some bonus slides but we’re
out of time so we’re going to close there. Thank you.

Designing your Law Firm to Work For You
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