Are you happier with small or big?
The question above may sound funny but it is a serious question to ask and make you think.
Following on from some recent conversations, one thing when discussed with the Millennial Generation, was size and whether dealing with a big company was better than dealing with a smaller company?
The common answer was actually based around the sector or product as this contributed hugely to their decision making. For example if they where buying a car then they would go for a large dealership to buy from and the same when buying branded products, they would tend to prefer to deal with chains over independents to make sure if something went wrong in 6, 12 or 18 months times, they felt a a dealership or chain was most likely to still be in business.
However, when it came to having work done on the car or getting accessories, they would happily use a small local independent dealer as they felt they would have better customer service. Which then lead to the discussion on why this was the case was it purely Customer Service?
It actually was a mixture of Customer Service and the perception of not being overcharged as you weren’t being treated as a number but you were being treated as a person.
Could they define this?
The answer was yes and several all brought up the Legal Profession as this seemed to be a common experience due to the fact they all seemed to have had experience through someone with in their family going through a Divorce or having to buy a house and the stories they had heard.
Common things like they wanted to their solicitor because of “x” but only to be told “sorry they aren’t available and were put through to a secretary who would take a message and you may get a reply the next day” or that they “where passed to an assistant who was actually handling the case”.
In the first case, they felt this was a charge for speaking to them and then they would have to pay again when the the call was returned or if the call hadn’t been returned, they would have to ring again and chase – thus creating more charges plus delays which could cost time and money.
Or as in the second case, they were actually paying for service with a senior person but the work was being done by a junior, so who else were they paying for within the practice and thus were they over-paying?
Whilst they knew/appreciated they weren’t the Solicitor’s only client, if the Solicitor wasn’t available, when dealing with a smaller practice, someone in the practice would actually handle the case in their Solicitor’s absence and it would still keep moving as they all work together in partnership without the fear of being overcharged. Which also brought a few laughs and jokes about cars. Go to big firm and in the car park there is always new cars or flash cars with private plates which showed they were making lots of money, but if you went to smaller practices, yes they had smart maybe flash cars, but they were all older cars and thus weren’t status symbol of “being flash with cash”.
Strange perception but true…..
So, if the perception in some areas is, that small can be better, cheaper and the Customer Service experience better, can you actually use this to create a collaborative partnership?
Just think that if you are say a conveyancing practice, what about other aspects of your clients’s requirements that need a legal input? Wills? Divorce? Company Law? The list can go on and on….
So are you potentially missing something here?
Thus can’t you collaborate?
Just take a step back, if you are a Divorce Solicitor, the person get’s funds and then will be looking for a house, if they are buying another one, they will need a conveyancing solicitor and what about a new will too, they will need this drawing up too.
So, if the three of you work together as collaborative partnership sharing each others offices on certain days a week, won’t this help people start to trust you more?
I know that some of you will say you do this already by referring your clients to another solicitor but it is the word “refer” that Millennials are beginning to DISTRUST!
Simple, as they see the word “refer” is the same as a referral scheme which means you are making money from them by that solicitor paying you a commission which means the commission is added to their bill!
A double-edged sword?
Yet, if you said something like – ‘are you available to pop back on Tuesday and we can go through the divorce paperwork, plus Louise who I work with, will be in the office and she can sort the changes to your will at the time – would this work for you?’ – this would put them more at ease as it more likely to be seen/perceived to be collaboration.
This collaboration is basically Social Collaboration which the Millennial generation are very into and when they experience this, they turn this into Social Engagement by sharing it with their family, friends and peers – this you may class as referral marketing – but they see this as being Social and sharing their experiences – this is called “Social Selling”
So, take a step back, look at how your practice works and see how you can change things to embrace….
These three areas are the new foundations for your mission statement….