The story goes that a new client of a law firm called to set up an appointment. The new receptionist told the client that she was “kind of busy right now” and would have to call the person back later. Ouch!! The tale was told by a consultant over on the Law Marketing Listserv (free trial available) yesterday, seeking guidance and suggestions on training that firm’s staff.

I found the responses to her request interesting. They ranged from fire her (great training) to a suggestion that she train the people who hired the receptionist.  While one responder, a former in-house marketer for a large firm, concurred that the receptionist should hopefully be “great,” he said that the “receptionist’s response… has nothing to do with marketing.” Double ouch!! In fairness, he did go on to concede the point that “doing anything well at a firm is good marketing,” which is exactly my point.

A marketing partner at one of my firms was not only a brilliant lawyer (Gonzaga, Harvard), but a brilliant marketer as well. His favorite line was “Everything a law firm does is marketing.”

In the personal services business, excellent client service (or lack of it in this case) is what marketing is ALL about, unless you don’t care about getting more work or referrals from your clients.