In February 2014, I attended a one-day conference in Ft. Lauderdale. I considered the fee expensive for a one-day event, but I thought it would be educational and a good networking opportunity. I booked a room in the high-end hotel in which the conference was held and headed down to the event that morning. Just outside our ballroom, I passed an inviting hot breakfast in gold shiny serving trays. During registration, I realized that breakfast was for the conference next door. Our breakfast consisted of the typical muffins and danishes found at most seminars.
Of course, I didn’t sign up for the food and the breakfast provided had no direct bearing on the quality of the event. Despite that logical understanding, breakfast set the tone for the day. It’s easy to feel apprehensive about the wisdom of any investment and whether I’ll get a satisfactory return for attending the conference, along with the more precious resource of my time invested in this event.
That nice hot breakfast would have made a good first impression. It would have conveyed a subtle message along the lines of “we acknowledge you spent a lot of money for our event and we want to show our appreciation and treat you right at every opportunity starting with the small gesture of breakfast.” In my view, whatever dent the catering upgrade would have made in the organizer’s profit margin would have generated a great ROI in the attendees’ good will and inclination to do further business with him following the conference.
All businesses should consider how to make clients feel appreciated and not viewed as merely a dollar sign. Throughout this conference, selling was a higher priority than educating. At the end of the day, I rated the conference approximately 80% infomercial and 20% educational, though I don’t regret my tax-deductible investment to attend. I did make some good connections and learned valuable information. The most valuable lesson I took away, however, did not relate to the subject matter of the conference. Instead, it was a greater understanding of what we need to do to make sure our clients feel appreciated and respected for the fees they pay in exchange for our legal services.
We genuinely care about our clients and serving their needs is our first core value. Beginning with breakfast, my conference experience made me wonder whether all our clients agree with my assessment. Perception is reality and no matter how noble our intentions, if even one client feels like merely a dollar sign and unappreciated, we have failed.
At CPC Law, we work as a team. Every team member has a vested interest in making sure our clients receive the highest quality representation along with appreciation and respect. Without satisfied, appreciated and well-treated clients, we cease to exist. I’m asking our clients to call me directly if they ever feel we don’t appreciate them or we fail to deliver the level of services for which they’ve paid their hard-earned money.
We need to be fully engaged with our clients and we have launched policies to achieve that objective. We are putting all our clients on a regular call rotation to connect even when there is no new information to convey. If we reach out to the client for any reason in between these regularly-scheduled calls or the client contacts us, we’ll reset the next call to follow that in-between contact.
We are also committed to an increased social media presence and encourage our clients to follow and communicate with us on these platforms to be fully engaged. Our firm will send periodic email newsletters and updates with useful information such as pertinent legal developments and news that may be of interest to our clients. Along the way, we’ll inform our clients of all the ways we can help them and available legal services that may serve their needs.
CPC Law promotes the concept of the “personal empire” we help our consumer, investor and small business clients build and protect. Part of this involves helping clients acquire and protect material wealth, but it goes far beyond that. We view the “empire” as the collective parts of our clients’ business and personal lives come together to make happy, meaningful and comfortable lives for the long run. This holistic view of legal services involves going above and beyond what law firms have traditionally done for clients, including regular educational and networking opportunities we will continue to offer while seeking to build strong relationships as their trusted advisors. It is my mission to make sure every client of CPC Law receives a satisfying hot breakfast and much more through meaningful life-long relationships.
Charles P. Castellon, Esq.