Wednesday, December 5, 2012
1. Commit 100% to customer service: Just as Nordstrom customers can go elsewhere to buy merchandise, clients can go elsewhere to get legal services. A lawyer can set his/her firm apart by focusing on customer service. A lawyer can do this by following through on whatever he or she has committed to, or apologizing when unable to and trying to make up for that.
2. Provide choices and stay current: Just as any retail associate needs to know options on the sales floor, lawyers should know various ways to solve a problem, or build a network so they can find who does know the answer when they aren't sure. Give clients options and then let the client choose the solution according to his or her values.
3. Create an inviting environment: Nordstrom's environment is inviting for various reasons, and similarly, lawyers should offer amenities in their offices to create an inviting environment. Small gestures such as coffee, tea, or juice and a comfortable public space can go a long way.
4. Hire thoughtful, motivated employees, and empower them: In retail and in legal practice, it is hard to anticipate what will be important to each particular customer, so it is helpful to educate every employee and empower them to find solutions.
5. Every customer or client has a different definition of service: Nordstrom was one of the first companies to have an almost no question asked return policy. Goffe follows suit and respects that some clients express different preferences. In this increasingly competitive world, customer service and catering to some of a client's special needs can set a law firm apart.
See Wendy S. Goffe, How Working As a Stock Girl At Nordstrom Prepared Me For Being a Lawyer, Forbes, Dec. 3, 2012.
Special thanks to Wendy S. Goffe (Attorney Stoel Rives, LLP) for bringing this article to my attention.