How a Pos­i­tive Cor­po­rate Cul­ture Can Im­pact Client Sat­is­fac­tion

Suc­cess­ful client ser­vice com­mands con­sid­er­able at­ten­tion

BC Business Magazine - - Alexander Holburn Beaudin + Lang Llp -

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.


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

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