Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Whats wid da signs? or a lesson in customer service

Yes - one month later I'm still dealing with signs. I've received two proposals from two sign companies that bite the big one. One was "Smith Law Office" in raised letters pasted directly on siding - in an ugly yellow color (against a muave-ish building). Another was a black sign with yellow letters with a "scale of justice" on one side. Both took two weeks to get back to me, and the latter sign is the EXACT duplicate of another sign in my town - down to the same color scheme. I told the first company that I didn't care for the design, and could they please get back to me with a design incorporating certain elements (I swear, I was nice!). I haven't heard word one (or email one) from them. I called again this morning, begging for a time to meet with the sign representative, and his assistant said he would get back to me this morning - but still haven't heard anything.

A third sign company has still not gotten back to me (after my calling them 3 times and promising earlier that he would get a proposal to me by last Friday), and a fourth sign company's owner has gone AWOL - with no "signs" of returning. I contacted a FIFTH company today, who did seem to listen to me (I even had pictures of signs that I liked) who said that he would go out to the building I'm subleasing in a day or so and get back to me with ideas soon (I've heard that one before). Normally I would be hopeful, but ....

And I naively thought that getting a sign would be the easy party of opening a practice. I am not looking for anything fancy - just "Smith Law Office" in raised letters on a burgundy background. No lights. No graphic. At this point, I'm all for the "KISS" style of signage ("Keep It Simple, Stupid").

Other than ranting - I think the lesson to take away from my experience is the importance of basic CUSTOMER SERVICE. Specifically -

1) Deliver a product or proposal when you say you will;

2) Listen to your customer, incorporate her ideas, and don't insist on producing a product without having a clue what she wants (she is the expert on what she wants - even if you are the professional);

3) Return phone calls in a reasonable fashion and in the time frame that you say you will; and lastly

4) Don't make people beg you to give you money and retain your services!

All of these points can and should be adopted by a legal office. Remember your own frustrations in receiving bad customer service (whether it be the phone company or a supplier) and don't repeat the same mistakes in your own practice!

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