How a Positive Corporate Culture Can Impact Client Satisfaction
Successful client service commands considerable attention
Another article on client service may sound cliché but a strong corporate culture, focused on client service, can change it from a catchphrase to a revenue driver. Studies show that the most common way people find a lawyer is from a referral. According to the 2017 Legal Trends Report consumers turn to friends/family 62% of the time and to other lawyers 31% of the time. Happy clients are more likely to refer their lawyers to friends and colleagues which has certainly been the case for one of Vancouver’s leading law firms.
Stewart Muglich, associate counsel at Alexander Holburn Beaudin + Lang LLP, explains how a focus on delivering a high level of client service, coupled with outstanding corporate culture, has helped his firm boost client referral and retention rates.
How does Alexander Holburn Beaudin + Lang LLP approach client service? SM: We approach client service with the understanding that it only works if everyone is committed. Knowing this, our firm developed a client service program that is spearheaded by a dedicated partner, our business development manager and our human resource manager. The foundation of our program is our six-point client service promise. It is located on our website and is displayed throughout our office as a constant reminder of the service we promise to deliver. To further acknowledge our commitment, a staff member who’s gone above and beyond their regular duties to service the needs of a client is honoured with our Reach Award. This is a coveted award in our firm, with the winner receiving a gift and their photograph is proudly displayed on our walls.
How do you articulate your service efforts? SM: Our client service promise includes six points we’ve identified as critical in order to meet our client’s satisfaction: 1. We provide the best possible legal advice. 2. We communicate in the manner and frequency our clients want. 3. We respond to client enquiries within one business day. 4. We provide transparent budgets for our services. 5. We keep clients fully apprised of developments on their file. 6. We establish achievable timelines for dealing with client cases.
How does this set Alexander Holburn Beaudin + Lang LLP apart? SM: Everyone can promise excellent client service, but fulfilling it is what sets us apart. At Alexander Holburn, there is a concerted effort, by everyone at the firm, to make sure we live up to our promise every day.
What is the most important ingredient to achieving good client service? SM: There are two important ingredients, buy-in and follow through. To get buy-in, you need to have an environment that is conducive to providing good client service. The people here, the staff and all of the lawyers I deal with are genuinely happy. They enjoy what they do, they like the people they work with, they are proud of their firm, and it shows. The clients on the receiving end experience a palpable benefit. Our managing partner is a big advocate for client service and creating an environment in which people enjoy coming to work. Our workplace is not overly stratified; we respect people’s ideas and have an open policy regarding how people interact with each other. We are a team that feels like a family, and that’s the environment that has been purposely created here. Everyone on the team is important, whether they interact with clients or not. Their input is treated respectfully because we’re all working toward the same goal. Everyone is committed to providing the best service and outcome for our clients, and the result is that client satisfaction, and retention, is very high.
capture big gains in land value”? Or will it be “Just build a lot more and we can solve this”?
For Vancouver voters seeking the traditional right-left game theory to guide them, that’s gone. There’s no unity among the parties considered to be on the left, or among those on the presumed right, about those messages. Instead, there’s a divide between the centrist moderates and the cultural revolutionaries on both sides, the “It’s complicated” thinkers and the “This group is to blame and we’ll go after them” believers.
The conventional wisdom in voting is that Vancouver (and, to some extent, other B.C. cities) swings the opposite way from the provincial government. But it’s unclear if that dynamic still holds. If it does, that should give the biggest boost to Ken Sim, mayoral candidate for the city’s decades- old centre-right party, the NPA. Sim, who grew up in south Vancouver, is campaigning the traditional NPA way, although adapted to his softspoken personality and his extensive business experience starting up Nurse Next Door Home Care Services and Rosemary Rocksalt Bagels.
At a back table in his bagel outlet on Main Street, after Sim has conferred briefly with an employee, he sits down for a lengthy talk. He wants to apply his business skills to managing the city. Initiate a financial review. Do an examination of workflow issues. “People don’t fail; systems fail,” he says, declining to pin the blame for city problems on any specific person. “We need to fix the system.”
Sim thinks increasing housing in Vancouver can help solve environmental pressures. “When you have density, you take cars off the road.” But he says there must be bet- ter consultation. He’s interested in hearing from the public to get a big-picture feel for how the city should evolve, he explains. But he’s not going to spend a year figuring out what to do: “In business, if we took a year to develop a plan, we’d be out of business.”
When it comes to detailed policies, he and his team are still doing the research, Sim says. But, he adds, “when you step back, there’s been a lot done on the [housing] demand side”—airbnb regulations, taxes on empty properties. So his team’s discussions are mostly about supply. Finally, he’s not rabidly opposed to bike lanes, but he uses some of the language of bike lane opponents. “Are we really better off having congested roads and cars idling?”
Sim and his party are far from secure in a win, though. Not only are they seen as too much a part of the old order, but several other parties stand to drain their vote. Not just those definitely of the right, like former Conservative MP Wai Young’s Coalition Vancouver, or the breakaway Yes Vancouver, formed out of irate ex- Npaers. But also the new ProVancouver, started by financial planner David Chen, whose candidates and platform are a mix of vaguely leftish ideas and militant anti–foreign money, anti- Airbnb activists who think the NPA is a lost cause after not choosing one of their own, Glen Chernen, as a mayoral candidate or even as a councillor. Or the Green Party, which leans more toward the populist end of the spectrum. The newly revived Vancouver First could peel away still a few more.
THE LEFT FIELD
But Sim could win, in spite of that and the NPA’S gift for alienating its own supporters
A work environment that supports client service is a key factor in achieving good client care