I’m sure you’ve set certain expectations for your firm. You expect clients and prospects to be treated and handled with the utmost professionalism by everyone on your staff. You expect your organization to operate in a particular manner.
No matter what type of law firm, the managing partners, attorneys, entrepreneurs behind every practice have expectations for both customer service and operations. If your expectations aren’t communicated and shared, those expectations will certainly never be met or adhered to. “Of course, Chris,” you’re thinking. “No one is a mind reader. Of course, I’ve communicated with my staff the way I expect them to handle clients!”
Great. Perhaps you’ve even attempted to coach them on the most effective way to answer the phone (or you now understand the critical importance of doing so and have it on your to-do list). Also, great. However, that isn’t enough… and it will never be enough. You actually have to “Inspect What You Expect.” Telling and teaching are important but examining that your staff is carrying out what you teach them and abiding by what you tell them is critical to the success of your organization. That’s what I mean when I say, “Inspect what you expect.” When you inspect what you expect you’re also helping your staff by giving them feedback and the tools to support the changes you want them to make.
When was the last time you called your own office specifically to monitor how the call is handled? Have you ever done that? When calls are handled poorly, there’s always a long line of excuses regarding the reason. I’ve heard them all, and they all stink! When law firms hire the Chris Mullins Team to investigate via listening to supplied real prospective client recorded calls and report shocking results, leaders are quick to say: “I know it’s not always like that.” “The person was new.” “I see the problem, but we’re busy right now, so I can’t afford to let that person go.” “We’re understaffed.” “It’s vacation or holiday time.” “So-and-so was out sick that day, so someone else was filling in.” “It’s my brother.” “It’s my daughter.”
I’ve heard all the excuses and not one of them hold water. Whether you fail to inspect what you expect or ignore the negative results when you do, it doesn’t matter. Either of these failures will cause you to lose cases and go out of business! You must inspect what you expect all the time, and take corrective action when the results are not up to your expectations and standards.
RMFD (Record, Monitor, Feedback, Daily).
It’s a mantra with me: Inspect what you expect!
Listening to your real call recordings is the best way to inspect what you expect. Many firms record their prospect phone calls (where permitted by law) but don’t inspect by listening and provide ongoing training to teach the team how to fix problem areas. You are not setting out to catch people doing something wrong in order to dole out punishment. You want to learn where there is opportunity and need for improvement. Your ultimate goal for inspecting what you expect is to actually catch your staff doing everything right!
When you start out and tell your staff that you’ll be monitoring call recordings, they’re not going to like it. Initially, they’ll be concerned, afraid, feel threatened, and think that you don’t trust them. Their impression will be that you’re doing this to catch them doing something wrong, so you can get rid of them. These reactions are normal, so be prepared for them. Keep yourself focused on the need for inspecting what you expect and the ultimate goal of success for everyone on your staff. With that mindset, your staff will find it a little easier to accept.
Don’t back off, get nervous, or let your staff convince you that this sort of inspection isn’t needed. It is. In fact, it’s needed in every single business in every single industry, and this is especially true in the legal niche. The phone is critical to your firm, and how its handled will make or break your success. You have to monitor your staff daily and track incoming calls. The phone is the most important tool in your firm, and you need good staff to go with it. Without both of those things ringing phones and qualified staff answering it, you’re done. It does not matter how smart you are or your track record as an attorney or managing partner. Think of RMFD as a way to protect your marketing investment. RMFD is your “marketing insurance policy.”