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26 de Enero de 2009 El rincón de Hildebrandt

Exceptional client, by Terri Pepper Gavulic

Firms who engage in satisfaction assessments with their clients hear it regularly—clients will praise the secretary who went out of his or her way to get an answer to a question, laud a receptionist who always recognizes the client's voice, and express appreciation for a billing clerk who worked hard to correct an error.

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Ante la adopción de una estrategia exitosa de la América corporativa, los bufetes de abogados son conocedores de que adquirir un compromiso de servicio al cliente es posiblemente el factor distintivo y sostenible más importante en un mercado cambiante y lleno de gente. Cada vez más, los abogados se están preparando en los elementos de servicio al cliente, la satisfacción del cliente se determina de manera cualitativa y cuantitativa. Pero las empresas están adquiriendo el desarrollo de una cultura de servicio en toda la organización, incluyendo la participación del personal de apoyo.

Likewise, these assessments uncover the dissatisfaction of clients who have had less than pleasant experiences - complaints about the lack of "going the extra mile," comments on sloppy correspondence, irritation with employees who go by the book without considering the client's special needs or circumstances. Individually, any of these examples may not cause a client to change firms, but collectively, the overall impression of the service they receive could send them packing.

The trends of the legal industry today are creating a tough and challenging law firm climate, so it is a perfect time to turn to successful initiatives from outside the legal community to see what lessons can be learned. For example, those who have ever been a guest at a Ritz Carlton hotel are not surprised that this hotel has won the coveted and prestigious Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award two times. Exceptional service, known as "The Ritz Carlton Mystique," is their standard, and it's what keeps their customers coming back repeatedly. A look at some of the twenty points in their "Credo" shows the factors that distinguish them and offers valuable lessons for forward-thinking law firms, too:

  • "The Credo is the principal belief of our Company. It must be known, owned and energized by all."
  • "The Three Steps of Service are the foundation of Ritz-Carlton hospitality. These steps must be used in every interaction to ensure satisfaction, retention and loyalty."
  • "It is the responsibility of each employee to create a work environment of teamwork and lateral service so that the needs of our guests and each other are met."
  • "Each employee is empowered. For example, when a guest has a problem or needs something special you should break away from your regular duties, address and resolve the issue." (Source: Ritz Carlton web site, http://www.ritzcarlton.com)

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Terri Pepper Gavulic

Terri Pepper Gavulic is a vice president of Hildebrandt International and a senior member of the firm's Client Development & Growth Practice. She leads the company’s client assessment team. Terri provides strategic client relations and business development counsel to professional services organizations, with a special focus on law firms.

More than eleven years of Terri's 28-year career were spent as an in-house law firm client services and marketing specialist. She has pioneered many initiatives in the law firm environment, which shaped her personal philosophy about how professional service firms can have successful relationships with their clients. That philosophy is to understand each client so deeply that the delivery of professional services is completely aligned with the client’s business goals.

Ms. Gavulic’s commitment to these beliefs has enabled her to be a change agent and coach at every level, from Boards of Directors and management committees, to practice groups, client teams, industry teams, and marketing teams, as well as individual attorneys and their staff. Additionally, it has gained her industry recognition and she is a sought after speaker at conferences and other forums. Client relationship strategies (such as feedback and client teams), sales and business development training, strategic marketing planning and positioning, and marketing staffing and support analyses are particular areas of expertise for Ms. Gavulic.

Prior to her legal marketing tenure, Ms. Gavulic worked on Wall Street as a manager of IPOs; in the non-profit sector, serving as Director of Marketing and Director of Development for the National Kidney Foundation of Georgia; as Director of Marketing for a national real estate franchise organization; and in a public relations agency. Presently she is studying for her MBA at the Warrington College of Business of the University of Florida.

E-mail: tpgavulic@hildebrandt.com
Teléfono: +1 (770) 794.3129

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