I was recently pointed to Are you being Served?, an interesting article on customer service by James Surowiecki in the New Yorker. Surowiecki notes a strong a disconnect between the values expressed by most businesses (customer service is deemed essential to success) and the implementation &emdash; treating customer service as a cost centre, a money suck and area to cut. Ironically most businesses spend more money trying to recruit new customers than retaining their existing customers.
I was pointed to Surowiecki’s article from a thought-provoking entry on Slaw by Jordan Furlong on improving customer service for legal firms. Furlong notes that law is different from other types of business since there is no real post-transaction follow-up required (after the case has been completed). But firms can look to increasing repeat business: why offer a discount to new clients instead of rewarding repeat business from existing customers? After all, they already know you and have used you.
(Slaw is a great Canadian legal blog that I’ve been following for a while now called Slaw. It has a real mix of articles ranging from very technical legal analyses, to workflow and productivity articles in legal firms, to lighter humour articles. If you have an interest in law, I recommend it.)