And All It Cost Them was a Tub of Brownies!


At my recent visit to the new McCaffrey’s Food Markets in my neighborhood, I received exceptional service that I’ve been shouting about from the rooftops ever since. They could not buy advertising that would do for them what my word-of-mouth praise is doing for them — the number of people I have told, and they in turn have told and, now, I’m sharing it with all of you.

Let me paint the picture for you: I was shopping for groceries and spotted delectable looking brownies, but too large a container with a quantity way too tempting to have hanging around the house. I asked a couple of employees if it would be possible to get a smaller portion, to which they responded it could not be done and that there was no manager on duty whom they could ask.

My shopping complete, I headed for the car and spotted a man tidying the store and approached him to ask if he might be a manager (he was). I explained the situation and asked if there were any way next time to get a smaller portion, to which he replied, “Of course! We always do that for our customers.” With my thanks, we exchanged names and went our separate ways. After loading my car and getting ready to drive home, I saw him come running out of the store with the plastic tub of brownies in his hand. He gifted it to me, encouraging me to freeze some for later.

Talk about building customer loyalty! Service. Service. Service. I have shared the brownies with friends, one of whom has asked for a tub for his upcoming birthday!

Value is what you get minus what you pay for

It is up to us to identify what represents value for each customer or client. It’s a given that a new store in a grocery-saturated neighborhood will be fully stocked, have well-meaning staff and maintain premium standards for cleanliness and presentation. What is not a given is this manager’s chosen behavior, which was over and above any expectation. It may not be brownies for the next customer, but he knew it was brownies for me, and I’m sure he’ll customize service for others in a similar manner.

It’s a given that as lawyers you will deliver the best possible result, on time and on budget. But, until you’ve exceeded expectations and delighted your clients, you haven’t really served up value. Examples include:

  • Immerse yourself in the businesses/industries of your clients and demonstrate working knowledge of the obstacles and issues they face.
  • Seek feedback and actively incorporate it into your legal practice to earn client satisfaction and move it up the rung to client loyalty.
  • Educate clients about the legal aspects of their situations empowering them to make informed decisions and actively participate in the handling of their legal matters as a strategic partner.
  • Learn family member’s names, birthdates and life-passage events and acknowledge them caringly.
  • Anticipate beyond immediate needs to a more holistic and long-term client solution.

What is the lesson here for all of us? I welcome your thoughts.