As he frequently does, Seth Godin caught my eye with Train Your Customers:
Yes, you can train them. By rewarding some behaviors over others, by keeping some promises not others, by having some expectations instead of others, you get the audience you deserve.
Several of Seth’s trained customer behaviors apply equally well to legal clients:
- Be respectful
- Be patient
- Demand personal service
- Be calm
- Embrace acceptance
- Spread the word
- Value and honor long-term loyalty
If you’re not careful, you may also train your clients to exhibit undesirable behaviors. We all have “client horror stories.” While there are definitely clients that deserve their reputation, how many client horror stories have you created by setting improper or unrealistic expectations from the beginning of the relationship?
Like other relationships, the attorney-client relationship is a two-way street. By accepting that you may be at least partially to blame for a bad relationship, you can avoid repeating those mistakes and perhaps even salvage an already damaged relationship.
What behaviors have you trained your clients to exhibit (whether for better or worse)?