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The Service Feeling

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Customer Service and the Busy Lawyer, Newsletter #21

Last Month, Customer Service Expert Holly Stiel, spoke at John DiJulius’s Secret Service Summit and she said “ Service is a feeling. We need to pay attention to the human needs behind the business needs. The need to be truly heard, acknowledged, remembered and respected.”

The same can be said about legal needs as well as business needs. Our clients are human beings that have needs beyond the legal matter in front of us. In order to engage our clients we have to meet those needs.


An elderly client comes to your office for a bankruptcy. This person comes from a generation when bankruptcy was a social disgrace and was never talked about. She is embarrassed and has never had to go through such a thing. It has taken her years to get up enough courage to call an attorney.

The legal need is to file Chapter 7 and attend the meeting of creditors and complete the required courses to obtain the discharge.

The personal need though is much deeper. She is dealing with a profound sense of failure and shame. She is afraid to tell her family for fear that they may not think her capable of conducting her affairs.

Service is meeting those extra needs beside the legal needs. I like what Ms. Stiel says about being “truly heard”. This client is under a terrific strain. Perhaps just listening to her story may help in her process. It could be that you and your staff are the first people she has told about her situation.

In the end, this client may not tell another person about her bankruptcy or she may tell all her friends about the thoughtful and professional way she was treated with dignity at your office. This is the “service feeling” I want for my clients after we finish with their legal needs.


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