LMA Bay Area members learned how to improve client service and communicate with people who have different personality types at two recent programs that brought the audience members into the action.
Where are You on Your Client Service Journey?
On Sept. 12, Jill Weber, chief marketing and business development officer at Stinson LLP, flew in from Minneapolis to walk us through a topic featured at this year’s LMA Annual Conference: “The Next Big Thing: Using Service to Drive Performance Improvement with Clients.”
Weber explained the five stages of rolling out a client service program at a law firm and helped participants figure out where they were on that spectrum. If you’re doubting the importance of client service, consider that more than half of decision-makers would switch legal providers if it meant better client service, a 2018 BTI Consulting survey found.
Weber started by sharing some ideas she’s learned from her own experience, such as:
- Developing a one-page document—for use when handing off a client to another lawyer in the firm—that outlines a client’s communication preferences, etc.
- Creating a toolkit for partners to conduct one-on-one meetings with their clients to find out how the firm can be a better partner in meeting their business goals.
Then, Weber gave the audience a law firm scenario and we broke into groups to discuss how we might roll out a client service program under those circumstances. Audience members brainstormed a number of suggestions, including using strategies such as pilot testing, conducting client events and celebrating client service successes.
If you want to learn more about the client service trend at law firms, LMA International did a Q&A with Weber and Allen Fuqua of Allen Fuqua Strategies and posted other resources on The Next Big Thing web page.
DISCover Your Communication Style
Of course, one crucial piece of client service is the ability to communicate well. We all want to not only communicate with our clients and colleagues but really connect with them by understanding and adapting to different communication styles.
This was the focus of Bill and Jeanne Schwass’s Oct. 10 workshop. You might say their presentation had a little something for everyone — whether you’re Dominant, Influencing, Supporting or Cautious (the four personality types in the DISC model of human behavior).
Using just two questions, the founders of Next Level Consulting Group were able to divide the group into those four personality types.
First, they asked us to consider whether we’d rather not interact with strangers on an elevator or whether we’re excited to chat with someone new. The more reserved went to the back of the room and the less reserved went to the front. Second, they asked whether we approach a vacation by making lists of all the things we want to see and do or instead look forward to spending time with people? The answer to this question further segmented the group.
Bill and Jeanne explained there’s no “best” style among the four. You should just be yourself. But it helps to know your communication style along with that of others, so you can adjust accordingly.
Bill and Jeanne said they conduct a much more in-depth assessment process for their clients, which they also provided to the LMA Steering Committee. The results painted a picture of a well-balanced group in terms of varying personality types, they said.