I can’t tell you how many times I have called a receptionist at a law firm and the person on the other end of the phone does not know the names of their marketing or PR staff.   The same goes for calling a company and having the person on the other end of the line be dismissive about my request to connect with someone who can help me solve my problem.  It’s very frustrating.

There is a lot of talk amongst the PR community about customer loyalty being tied to customer service.    A recent study from CFI group explores call center satisfaction and how they are rapidly transforming into contact centers; raising customer satisfaction and likely recommendations. Knowledge management helped me a lot in solving many problems. Another recent study by AchieveGlobal, a global workforce development firm, explored the emotional aspect of customer service by revealing that customers prefer good service to problem resolution: one in three respondents preferred being treated well over having their issues resolved immediately.   Public relations includes, well, relating to the public. More than just media relations and article placement, when done right public relations must involve staff and attorney training including the fundamental skills how to interact with firm clients.

AchieveGlobal’s , further reveals that the behaviors most irritating to customers stem from detached emotional awareness and connection. Almost half (46 percent) of respondents noted that being rude, short, nasty, unhelpful and impatient was the greatest customer service mistake that they have experienced. Using a canned script in dealing with issues (17 percent) and saying “no” or “I don’t know” (16 percent) also ranked amongst the top customer experience failures.

A firm’s communication team should be involved with customer service training.  PR is critical to the success of a firm’s public image.   A negative client experience not only threatens the reputation of the brand, but it may impact whether a firm gets a referral or more work from the client.  And, no amount of media or article placements can overcome those bad customer experiences.

short001btn Relating to the Public: The Customer Service/Customer Loyalty Connection
share save 171 16 Relating to the Public: The Customer Service/Customer Loyalty Connection


by Cheryl on December 3, 2012

The Recorder published an article today about a 2011 defamation lawsuit San Francisco-based attorney brought against a former client that may create new law and possibly will serve as a warning to lawyers: Market yourself enough, and you become an assailable public figure.   The lawsuit against Elliot Blumberg, a hedge fund manager, resulted from Blumberg’s “scathing” review of Gwire on the consumer site complaintsboard.com .

Review sites like complaintsboard.com have created a PR nightmare for lawyers and other professionals. It’s tough to get rid of them. I recently dealt with a possible ‘defamation’ situation involving a lawyer and a disgruntled defendant, but was told that the positing on the Internet is considered free speech and there was not much we could do to stop the individual from posting more defamatory comments.

But Gwire’s case raises another question. Could it discourage lawyers from promoting themselves if a judge finds Gwire to be a limited-purpose public figure as a result of his aggressive marketing efforts?

The Recorder quoted several attorneys about the issue including of Skaggs Faucette in Palo Alto who wrote in the appeal brief, ”Gwire’s voluntary self-promotion, use of the media for his professional advancement, and purported expertise regarding attorney billing practices and the performance of other attorneys makes his own performance as an attorney fair game for criticisms like those levied by Blumberg.”

Skaggs says the review is protected speech — not just because Blumberg has evidence to back up the claim that Gwire mishandled his case, but because Gwire has lost some protections against public criticism by aggressively marketing himself as a top-flight lawyer.

Kelli Sager, a Davis Wright Tremaine who defends defamation cases, explained that “a lawyer who seeks out opportunities to be in the press, gives speeches, appears publicly, writes articles and does all the things that cause one to be well-known that go beyond being a lawyer may become a public figure.”

Sager added that most lawyers don’t even think about the possibility of becoming public figures by marketing themselves extensively.

Jeremy Rosen, a free-speech expert at Horvitz & Levy , cautioned that First Amendment law is “murky” and that case outcomes vary widely nationwide. The “better reasoned” lines of cases, he said, “is one that would say if you market yourself in the particular area and the lawsuit is about your work in that area then you are a limited public figure.” But not all judges agree, and rulings tend to rely heavily on the specific fact patterns.

“There’s not a consistent bright-line rule,” he said.

Despite what happens in this case, I do not think lawyers should stop promoting themselves. That’s not just because I am active member of the legal marketing community, but because marketing and PR play an important role in doing business, attracting new clients and developing thought leadership. In today’s business climate, an attorney can’t afford not to promote him or herself.   I would hate to see that go away as a result of this case.

share save 171 16 Despite Recent CA Court of Appeals Case, Legal Marketing Pays Off

{ }

November 30, 2012

Public relations provides many avenues for creating thought leadership.  Media placements, articles and speaking engagements are just a few ways an attorney or professional can create a network of devoted clients and contacts who seek their counsel. I recently participated in the Law Firm Marketing Podcast produced by law firm marketing company, Fast Firms and hosted by Lawyer and [...]


November 26, 2012

For active Linkedin users, it can be challenging and maybe even annoying to keep up with new design features and profile options.   The most recent feature that is getting a lot of traction and buzz is Endorsements.   If you are like me you have many questions about the value of endorsements., including whether [...]


November 1, 2012

We have all read the nightmare stories of how companies and their employees should not handle social media, but a recent Inc. article by Peter Shankman, Founder of HARO which was acquired by VOCUS in 2011, shares his insights on how to set up the ultimate social media team.  I agree with Peter about where [...]


October 8, 2012

The Legal Marketing Association’s Los Angeles chapter’s CME (Continuing Marketing Education) program provided excellent content from many memorable presentations.  During the program, I watched carefully as my industry friends and colleagues presented their expertise in wide-ranging areas important in law firm marketing. I took notes on the content so that I can be a better [...]


October 5, 2012

Ad Age posted this interesting story yesterday that illustrates a major flaw in branding, “Getting into the mind first is what builds leaders; not getting into the market first.” This point was made by Al Ries, chairman of an Atlanta-based marketing company who authored the article.   Why is a PR person interested in this story?  I love Greek yoghurt. [...]


October 4, 2012

Austin Holian’s presentation at the 2012 LMA-LA CME got me thinking.  Can law firms create a culture akin to membership? I spend a lot of time researching trade groups for clients for involvement, speaking engagements or sponsorship opportunities.  The member services department is always ready and willing to assist me in finding the information I [...]


October 2, 2012

I am a Linkedin evangelist because I have an ability to convert the non-believers. Despite the incredible numbers of Linkedin members and the countless business connections that people are making online, there are still naysayers and skeptics: non believers.  During the past six months I have been presenting to law firms about Linkedin to answer questions [...]


Who Is Singing Your Praises?

August 10, 2012

The best PR platform comes from others singing your praises. Who are your praise singers?  They are your contacts that brag about your services, tell positive stories about your amazing contributions in and outside of the office, and when called upon, give your name to people who are looking for recommendations.    I am lucky [...]

Read the full article →