In the September issue of Fast Company there is an article about the founder of Virgin Atlantic Airways entitled “The Enlightenment of Richard Branson” (unfortunately to see the actual article, you’ll need an access code available to subscribers). Here a few kernels for thought regarding better client service.

The article serves as a kick-off to stories about the other companies that are winners of Fast Company’s Customers First Awards. The story of Sir Richard Branson (a prior winner) is quite compelling. The multibillionaire had absolutely no background in, and was thought to be very foolish, getting into the airline business. His early wealth came from the entertainment industry, and specifically from a chain of music stores. Yet, Virgin airlines has been extremely successful. What, then, is the key point of his continued success (including “some 200 other eclectic ventures worldwide”), and how does that relate to law firm marketing?

Simply put, he has a passion for treating customers the way they want to be treated. In other words, give them what they want (onboard stand up bars for mingling, nail treatments and massages, seatback videos with a choice of programming, and more). He attributes most of his success to implementing ideas that he himself would like if he were the customer. So, give the client the service they want.

But, law is different you say? Well, yes and no. Just like the airline industry, hotels, fitness centers (industries of some of this year’s winners), we in are in the personal services business. So, what’s my point? A definite advantage will go to those law firms that ask themselves in the words of Sir Richard, “Is this how I would want to be treated if I were the customer(client)?” and act accordingly.

We know what clients want: no surprises, better communications, fair pricing, respect, know (and care) about their business, and so on. Of course, we would want no less if we were the client. So, why don’t more law firms act like Sir Richard?