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.

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!

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.

A Thought During the Anniversary of 9/11

It’s really here – the 10 year anniversary of 9/11.  It’s just horrible to hear that even after all this time hate continues to breed in the world.  According to ABC news, the CIA has identified in the past 24 hours a major threat indicating that at least three individuals who entered the U.S. in August; their intent to launch a vehicle-borne attack against Washington, D.C. or New York around the anniversary.

“The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security have sent a bulletin to 18,000 law enforcement agencies around the country warning them of the potential plot. The bulletin notes that al Qaeda might seek revenge for the death of bin Laden and other key figures on a symbolic date like the anniversary of 9/11.”

I was in my late 30’s when the disaster occurred and I often think about the heroes of the event.  The firemen, the police, the victims, the volunteers, the survivors and the families directly influenced – they all are heroes.  9/11 changed a generation who was once trusting and not knowing the feeling from terrorism to becoming cautious and weary of what could be around the corner.

I can’t help but think as well what impact social media could’ve had back then.  Sure there were some forms of social media used but nowhere near the amount of communication that occurs on a daily basis 10 years later or the amount of technology.  Would the event been changed in some way?

It’s pretty much a common practice to use texting as part of our daily communication.  Statistics show that there are over 1 million tweets a day.  Could we have influenced someone then to change that horrible timeline of events?

It’s amazing the time we live in – we are now communicated to about a world-changing event via Twitter.  It reaches a broader audience much faster than just TV, email or even word of mouth.  And, how about crisis management?  We made it a point following 9/11 to try to create disaster recovery plans for major events but did we make any strides towards creating strategies on how we should communicate during a major crisis?

We have strength in numbers and social media is about people and communication – lots of people and lots of conversations.  Let’s all make it a point this weekend to share among our friends, family and neighbors anything out of the normal.  Let’s spread the love, keep everyone safe and text, Tweet and email anything we see out of the ordinary.

Love to everyone.  Peace to all.  Life’s about caring and more importantly sharing.

FUD Got You Down?

JustEngage FUDIn the sales world they call it “FUD”—Fear, Uncertainty & Doubt.  Let’s check Wikipedia.  FUD “is generally a strategic attempt to influence public perception by disseminating negative and dubious/false information designed to undermine the credibility of their beliefs.”

I used to work with someone that believed the more confused you got your client with an unknown, the more likely they would trust your knowledge and ultimately buy your service.  Why?  Because most times when we fear something we don’t know, we end up placing trust in someone else who we believe is more knowledgeable.  We look for thought leaders.  We find experts.  So when you encounter a salesperson using FUD on you, get rid of that person and look to another with the same service that treats you to education.  Sharing is what it’s about today.  So go ahead and zap that word FUD into Wiki archives!

There is no secret in the pudding.  Share your knowledge and educate your peers.  Make yourself the expert in everyone’s eyes.  Use social media to make your message known.  No matter what you do for a living, find the time to share.  Create a blog post that you think is relevant to your client.  Tweet an article that you think others would love to read.  Reach out to everyone you know and have them reach out to everyone they know.  Make it a habit to do so each and every time you know something another person will benefit from your new find.  This is how YOU become the expert.

But most importantly, if you don’t understand how to use the social media channels to communicate, do something about it.  Educate yourself and don’t listen to the FUD!  Try Twitter and discover how to weed out the noise.  Try LinkedIn by not only completing your profile, but joining groups, joining your college alumni association and what you’ll find is the people you didn’t even know that are like you listening to you.  Create a video and post it on YouTube telling your prospects something that makes you stand out from the crowd.

When you don’t know how to do something, Google it and learn!  There is no reason for confusion anymore.  FUD sounds exactly where it belongs – in the trash!

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