Customer Service And Social Media

I was reminded recently how much I value good customer service after visiting an all-inclusive resort in Jamaica.  We decided to book this vacation – more specifically book at a particular resort after reading reviews about the quality of food, cleanliness and “excellent customer service”.  Well, what we actually encountered was two extremes of service – either great customer service or incredibly horrible service.  Amazing how you remember the bad over the good.

It makes me think how understanding your use of social media or how you communicate through the channels is fundamentally following the ideals of good customer service.

We start with the proper etiquette.   Let’s use a LinkedIn sample for this.  Look at your profile settings.  First, think about your audience or your connections.  Under your privacy controls, do you let people know when you change your profile, make recommendations, or follow companies?  This feature has a purpose when used but some people may not be interested in seeing what you are doing.

Good eye contact – recognition.  A key step in good customer service is recognizing someone in the proper time.  If you were a waiter and you were experiencing being slammed with multiple tables seated at the same time; thinking OMG! – I don’t know how to handle this.  The approach will always save you and its part of recognizing your guests.  It’s easy to go to a table and simply let your guests know that you are happy to be of service and will be right back after servicing the two tables that were sat before them.

When someone follows you in Twitter, use recognition and engage with that follower.  “Look them in the eyes” and thank them for following you.  They recognized you – they chose to follow you for what you had to say or what you share.  It’s easy to send them a tweet thanking the gesture.

Appropriate behavior is also part of good customer service.  Make sure that you are appropriate in what you communicate to your audience.  Think twice before sharing a joke on Facebook.  While at the initial onset, it may make you chuckle, you may find that not everyone feels the same way about the punch line.  The last thing you want to do is to offend someone who is a friend connected to you.

Listening is very important.  One way of making a customer happy is listening to how you can fulfill their need.  Okay – you have a presence on Google+, are you listening to what your connections are saying?  If you truly are listening, then you’ll find that you also answering.  Listening is totally a form of engaging in social media and fulfilling your follower’s needs.

Taking an extra step can differentiate you giving good vs. fantastic customer service.  When sharing a piece of relevant information, make sure you take that extra step and research it properly and provide all the references that you used along with it.  I love using Zite on my iPAD and sharing articles on certain topics with my followers.  I always pay close attention before sharing something that is factual, whether or not the references associated to the article are valid.  That’s my extra step in sharing.

Now you’re ready…take one extra step towards recognizing, listening, engaging and providing exceptional social media interaction.

Do you REALLY know what attorneys are doing on social media?

How do we really know what goes on internally at a law firm and how do we really know what our attorneys are doing in social media?  As an administrator or a director of marketing the responsibility of helping someone become successful in their business development practice is really not that far out of your reach.

The goal is to make the attorney successful by providing them with the necessary tools.  Some are in the form of education while some are technology based.  Some are designed to protect our attorneys against malpractice or help our attorneys’ families with health insurance needs.  We ask that our attorneys embark on marketing practices – some of which they are uncomfortable performing.

We ask them to join groups and become members of prominent organizations to make them known in their communities.  Sometimes our attorneys are great public speakers and enjoy articulating to the masses and some are wordsmiths in the true sense, manipulating words and publishing an article in a trade publication to stimulate their client’s interests.  Our attorneys attend conferences to educate themselves on their practice area and network with their peers to share experiences that make them successful.

Our attorneys entertain in the hopes that when a client or prospect requires a legal service, there is no question who that client should turn to.  All of these activites – continuous actions are ones that are considered to be the traditional way of building one’s business, establishing the community or generating leads that may turn into business.

OK.  How are your attorneys creating their communities on LinkedIn?  What audience are they trying to attract through Twitter?  How often are your attorneys providing blog content and spreading the news to stimulate the folks interested in being educated?  How are your attorneys actually using social media?  Do they know how to use it for business development?

Your job is to know, to understand and to guide.  Where can you start?  How can you evaluate?  There’s a simple way to find out.

Start with a social media survey.  You want this survey to be comprehensive so your results can yield conclusions on how your firm’s attorneys execute their social business development practices.  The goal is to generate useful data from this survey so the information you are about to request should be relevant to the individual taking it.  Understand your audience.  Use logic in your survey to direct an attorney to only the questions that will be pertinent.  And don’t forget that when you have results and action items, you want to be able to quantify future direction.

Your survey should be one that allows you to sort on demographics for example, you would want to evaluate associate versus partner responses.  You may want to filter by a practice area to compare results from another practice area.  Remember that an attorney has an analytical mind, so the wording of the question is just as important as the idea behind the question.

Lastly, don’t keep the results to yourself.  Share the results — educate your attorneys on what you found.  Compliment where necessary, create the appropriate action items, review on a regular basis and visit your survey a couple more times during the year.  Understanding what makes someone productive is just as important as realizing a person’s misplaced practices.  Remember that the key to success is understanding what makes a person effective and prosperous.

Hats Off to a Totally Awesome Administrator

We are proud to recognize someone that is very special to many people who touch the Association of Legal Administrators’ (ALA) Community locally and nationally.  John Kirk, Director of Administration of Manko, Gold, Katcher & Fox LLP (MGKF)  was given the highest honor – “The Spirit of ALA Award” presented to him at the conference on May 24th.  And in the spirit of this rare occasion, the Philadelphia chapter is toasting his achievement of “leadership, commitment, tenacity and dedication” as defined by the ALA award next month at the Four Seasons Hotel in Philadelphia.

As a 24 year supporter of ALA, John has held positions on committees including the Annual Conference Committee, one as Chair, the Certification Task Force and the Business Partner Relations Committee.

John is a huge supporter of all the vendors who support ALA and promotes the belief that vendors are more than suppliers of services – they are partners through and through.  He is the first to reach out to you when you need assistance and most supportive of making sure you succeed.

John S. Kirk is a Certified Legal Manager and has worked in the legal industry for over 25 years, first in litigation support consulting, and later in law firm management and administration. Before joining MGKF, John was the Director of Finance and Administration for Fletcher, Tilton & Whipple, P.C., a law firm in Massachusetts.

Hats off to you John – you make us proud to be a partner and a friend, we love your down to earth ability of being humble and for especially making every vendor feel equally important to the ALA Community.  Bravo!

Blogging is the ‘Meat’ of Your Social Presence (Not Gaga Style)

Many clients I talk with are saying, do I really need a blog? Should I be blogging? And by the way, how do I go about doing that?  My questions to you: Do you have what it takes to maintain a blog(s) long term? Is the blog supported from the top and is the blog tied to your firms overall succession plan or firm strategy? Blogging is a committment and not one to be taken lightly.  Statistics have shown that blogging is the best part of an overall social media strategy. I agree with this for many reasons.

1. Blogs showcase your expertise.
2. Blogs attract readers who then may become clients.
3. Blogging, if done correctly, increases engagement with potential clients.
4. Blogs can bring in business and that one big client.
5. Blogging allows you to share quality content on other social channels increasing your exposure and elevating your expertise.

It’s the meat of any social strategy. The downside to blogging is the committment and consistency. BUT it is do-able!

So, here is some ‘meat’ for thought:

  1. How will you create and maintain your brand?
  2. What blogging platform will you choose? (LexBlog, WordPress, Blogger, TypePad, Tumblr, etc.)
  3. How will you define your target audience for your blog?
  4. Will it be maintained by one or multiple professionals?
  5. Will you have one firm blog or multiple professional blogs?
  6. How will you promote your blog?
  7. Add Google Analytics and be sure to regularly analyze your blog.
  8. Create a community for your blog.
  9. Create posts that engage your readers.
  10. How will you create quality content? You’ll need ideas and a strategy.
  11. How can you create ‘clickable’ and readable headlines for your posts?

These are just a few thoughts that you’ll want to consider when setting up a blog.  Lastly, don’t forget to promote your new blog on the social channels or create a social press release!

I’d love to hear about successful blogs you have launched, what you have gained by launching your blog and any tips you think new bloggers should know! What have I missed? Would love to hear your thoughts!

Social Media Budget Considerations for Law Firms

Every managing partner, executive director, chief marketing officer and administrator of a law firm need to be thinking about one thing this fall  – what am I going to budget for to bring my business development practices up to par in 2012?  Here are a few considerations to think about.

  1.  Social Media Evaluation.  Look at every aspect of the firm’s business development practice to determine your competitive landscape, communication habits, consistencies and best practices.  There are consultants who can perform a detailed assessment and can help direct the energies in the proper direction.
  2. Social Media Strategy.  Formulate based on the definition of your goals, develop a solid business development plan, create timelines and implement.  So many times we say, “should’ve and could’ve” but as the leader in your firm, it’s your job to execute.
  3. Social Media Training.  Refine your current practices by educating all parties who are involved in social media and business development – especially those responsible.  How often have your evaluated a person’s performance and realized that if that person would haven known what to do, they probably would have done it!
  4. Policy Development.  Remember that all practice areas are not created equal.  So create compliance, protect the firm and your employees, share in understanding, lessen the exposure(s) and keep your Brand safe.  On guard or is it touché?
  5. Blog Site/Website.  Is it time for a makeover on your website?  Is the information static?  Where’s the blog site you said you were going to launch last year?
  6. LinkedIn/Twitter Design.  Are your profiles consistent, worded properly for the web, compliant, follows your branding efforts and is executed?
  7. Social Media Administration/Staffing.  Get it done.  If you can’t hire professionals.
  8. Social Media Monitoring.  Evaluate, listen and learn.

The time is now – especially for an evaluation of your performance in 2011.  For more information, you can always find your favorite legal specific social media friends right around the corner.  Keep your firm at the level your clients deserve.

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