Ever been delighted? By your lawyer?

13 04 2010

About to embark on a consulting project for a law firm, I was preparing the kick off session and selecting the tools I thought would work best for them.

Six Sigma, one of the leading methodologies for improving quality and efficiency has a core concept called “CTQs”; these are the requirements that are Critical To Quality. A tool to help evaluate these CTQs is called Kano Analysis. Essentially, a law firm will identify client requirements (ideally through primary research, although “Voice of the Client” programmes are still relatively rare in law firms), and rate them as (a) dissatisfiers; (b) satisfiers; or (c) delighters.

She's delighted, are your clients?

Dissatisfiers are the things the firm has to get right – the most basic requirements. Getting the client’s name wrong in a document is a pretty good example of not getting a dissatisfier right. Satisfiers, in contrast, are those elements of the firm’s service that can increase satisfaction depending on their degree. For example getting a first draft document within three days might satisfy, but getting it to the client within two days will increase satisfaction. Finally, delighters do what they say on the tin. These are unexpected service features that delight the client. Providing a short, “plain English” summary of a project document for the operations team at the conclusion of a deal (where this has not been discussed) is an example. Unexpected is the key word.

I think this is a useful exercise for law firms for a number of reasons. Firstly, and this may seem obvious, it makes us think about what is important for the client (ideally, by asking them!), not what we think is important for them. Secondly, it can help draw out client requirements that are not explicitly stated, which when identified, can help the firm provide a much better service.

However, if you only take one thing away from this, think about what you could do today to delight your clients. As a former in-houser, I can confirm that there are firms out there that do this, and it’s different from just going the extra mile or doing a really good job. In any walk of life, it’s good to be delighted!


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