Those in the legal business know that “sometimes” lawyers fail to meet – never mind exceed – client expectations.  Some of this may take the form of not returning calls in a timely manner, or not meeting a deadline for a requested legal product.

In fact, in an earlier post entitled “Exceeding Client Expectations Is A Good Idea” I addressed the exchange between Dan Hull and Patrick Lamb about clients’ low expectations of lawyers and the idea of under promising and over delivering.  Accordingly, the premise of last December’s post was that if lawyers/firms had a legal marketing strategy that exceeded clients (in some cases low) expectations, that would set them apart in the marketplace.

Georgi Mammen Mullassery, a marketing officer for Sony, responded today to my earlier post and referred me to his “Exceeding Expectations – A Stupid Strategy,” post, commenting that “I think you will be convinced it is not a good strategy at all.”  I respectfully disagree.

As best I can determine, his premise is that “exceeding expectations” will “offer more value to a customer than he actually wants,” and thus the product will cost more and reduce profits.  I’m afraid we are talking apples and kumquats here.

The type of service expectations that Dan, Patrick, and I are talking about do not cost more or possibly exceed any value that clients would want; to wit: 

  • Returning client phone calls (exceed expectation that it be returned promptly, say within 24 hours, by returning it within an hour or two or sooner),
  • Meet the deadline (exceed expectation by getting the legal product to the client a day early), and
  • Keep client informed (not just when they call, but exceed expectations by initiating a call to the client).

The main thrust here is to be responsive AND proactive.  None of these actions, if done sooner than expected cost more.  But, they will favorably impact your lawyer marketing and image.