Berlad Graham is not afraid of the Co-op
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Understanding that exceptional customer service is the key
Having interviewed lawyers from the Co-op who moved there and very quickly moved away, or wanted to move away, I do not think it is going to be a long term threat to any law firm that understands and values its customers. Firms, such as one I knew, said to me that I did not understand, despite running law firms for 15 years, how they worked as I’d used the word customer and they only had clients!! This is the kind of firm that will fail as it does not understand that law has always been, but very openly now, a service to a customer.
What about the Co-op being ‘local’? At Berlad Graham we state right at the beginning of our relationship with our customers that we will meet them wherever and whenever ‘they’ want. Coupled with an ability to log on to our full system from anywhere in the world and have access to all aspects of the legal and business sides of the practice, means we are not restricted and the concept of ‘local’ is extinguished! That, I feel, is where a lot of firms will fall down; it is their mentality rather than their clients that will cause the problem.
In my view it never was, and certainly not now, acceptable to charge travel time to see a customer – they are paying for your advice, not to sit on a train. I know the comeback from some people “But our clients pay for our time.” No they don’t! They pay for your years of training, expertise and experience!’
‘…how important do people think it will be to offer a good online presence?’ It has always been massively important but, what is more important is knowing what your clients want and then operating in that way. BG’s new client form asks how ‘they’ want to communicate with us; where do ‘they’ want to meet with us; when do ‘they’ want to have meetings – it’s all about the customer.
Aim for a very high level of customer service and the Co-op won’t impact on you.