Are your service levels consistent?
As many of you know, I suffer from inflammatory bowel disease which means I must be careful what I eat. I am intolerant of gluten, dairy and eggs. This makes life interesting when I am travelling about, staying in a variety of places to deliver lectures.
Take this week, I have visited both Norwich and Hull. I stayed at the Dunstan Hall Hotel just outside Norwich where I gave a presentation to the CIOT and STEP East Anglia branches. The hotel was part of the QHotel chain. Last week I stayed in the Nottingham Belfry, which is also a QHotel. The experiences were quite different. In Nottingham all the staff I had contact with regarding food were helpful and acted upon their initiative to give me relevant and tasty food with which I was happy. By contrast, the same hotel chain in Norwich was disappointing. Yes, it was a beautiful building; the grounds were immaculate, the weather was glorious but the food – well put it this way I ended up at the local Tesco’s in order to have a decent breakfast and supper as there was little on offer and no willingness to help.
This highlights the problem of large organisations – consistency of standards. By contrast, I regularly stay at Premier Inns and they are a good example of a large organisation where local staff appear to have autonomy to find solutions and usually manage to work with me to deliver an acceptable meal I can eat. This was very true in Hull, for example, but I have found it to be similar in other Premier Inns.
You might be wondering what this has to do with law firms. Well some of you will work in firms that have more than one office. How consistent are the service levels in each office? If I attend one office to make a Will would I find the same level of service if I were to attend one of your other offices to make a Will? If not, why not?
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Even if your firm is in a single office, would there be a similar quality of approach offered by each of your staff? Do you give your staff autonomy to find a way of delivering the service to meet the client’s needs with a ‘can-do’ approach?
The quality of the service offered is important to us all as consumers and our clients are no different in expecting a consistent level of skill for the price they are paying. Clients will continue to put pressure on fees with transparency requirements likely to expand. A set of strong principles and solid service skill levels will make a difference in ensuring a reasonable fee can be recovered – this is what clients can understand, even if comparing legal technical skills eludes them.
I can help facilitate the conversations needed to make improvements happen. Call me on 01962 776442 or get in touch via the Contact us page.
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