Tag Archives: lawyers

Radical Transparency is One Key to a Better Customer Experience

Radical Transparency is One Key to a Better Customer Experience

GUEST POST from Shep Hyken

Most customer-focused businesses work very hard to streamline their encounters and interactions with potential clients, curating the experience to the smallest detail so every step of the process can be managed and controlled. It all starts with a customer journey map that optimizes the process. When the process is consistent and predictable, you start to build trust with your customers. And, there’s a way to take that trust to another level, and that’s with transparency.

Darryl “The Hammer” Isaacs, a Kentucky-based attorney, has built a profitable career by being surprisingly straightforward — another word for transparent — with his clients. He has the process down, which means he knows the law and how to litigate. But just as important as winning a lawsuit is how his clients are treated.

Since it opened in 1993, his firm, Isaacs & Isaacs Personal Injury Lawyers, has helped thousands of people recover over $2 billion from insurers. He is a celebrity in the three states where he operates (Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio), with plenty of TV ads and billboards lining the highways. But Isaacs will tell you that his secret goes beyond exposure from a big ad budget. And it isn’t about knowing the law and winning. For him, it’s just as important to build a reputation by being transparent. And he takes the concept to an even higher level by being radically transparent.

I had a chance to learn from Isaacs’ success and his thought process, which he says is based on three concepts: being humble and embracing adversity, providing easy access and trusting the public with your pain.

1. Embrace Humble Beginnings and Adversity

Isaacs’ journey to becoming a lawyer wasn’t easy. It began at age six when he watched his father’s legal swearing-in ceremony. That inspired him to want to practice law, but inspiration wasn’t enough. He failed the bar exam the first two times he took it. No one would blame Isaacs for keeping that information from the public. After all, in the competitive legal field, lawyers like to let clients know about their prestigious law schools, industry awards and big wins. Isaacs recognized the importance of that, but also chose to embrace his “humble beginnings” as a possible advantage. He believed people could relate to his struggle. This transparency makes him real and approachable to his clients. He also has an incredible work ethic. Isaacs says, “I’m not smarter than other lawyers, I just work harder.” His clients may not know about the legal world’s awards and top schools, but they understand and appreciate hard work.

2. Provide Unexpected Access

Have you ever tried to reach the CEO or owner of a successful company? Typically, the bigger and more prosperous the company, the more challenging it is to get through to the business owner or high-level execs. Isaacs is not only successful, but his advertisements and reputation have given him celebrity status in his market. His firm has more than 55 employees, many of whom could act as a “first line” of defense for deflecting calls, emails, letters, etc. But Isaacs embraces the concept of approachability. He happily shares his direct line and cell number with his clients. Text him, and he responds. Call him, and he returns the call. Isaac believes, “If you provide unexpected direct access, clients feel valued and appreciated.”

3. Trust the Public with Your Pain

Similar to the way Isaacs embraces his humble beginnings, he embraces the transparency of results. In an age of social media, it’s nearly impossible to hide any negative news affecting a high-profile business. Issacs says, “The best option is to get comfortable and let the public in.” In other words, embrace the negative and view it as an opportunity to be authentic and transparent. And it goes beyond social media reviews and comments. Isaacs took this concept to a personal level in 2015 when he was hit by a speeding car while riding his bicycle. His neck was broken in two places, and he sustained a traumatic brain injury. The face of a successful company was now in the hospital in a near-death situation. That could have been the beginning of the end for the firm. He might not ever be back. And what if people found out about this? Well, rather than try to keep the news out of the press, Isaacs did a phone interview from the hospital. First, he wanted to let the world know he wasn’t dead and would be back. Second, he was now experiencing a similar condition to many of his clients. Isaacs knew transparency—and even vulnerability—at this level would make him more approachable. The result was an even higher level of trust.

Isaacs uses the word radical, meaning extreme or intense, to demonstrate just how important it is for him and his firm to be transparent. But are his three concepts really that radical or extreme? Maybe, because customers aren’t used to this level of transparency, but isn’t this what customers want? Isaacs’ three concepts could easily form a foundation of transparency that would help any company or brand, big or small, build trust, create confidence and connect emotionally with customers.

This article was originally published on Forbes.com.

Image Credit: Shep Hyken

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Personal Innovation – Shine Your Star

Personal Innovation - Shine Your StarI had a nice conversation with a friend from London today that I haven’t spoken with in a while and we got onto the topic of careers. We started talking about my article on Personal Innovation and how in most professional occupations there are the stars and then there is everyone else.

We talked about how stars in certain professions might only be 5% better at something than their peers but get paid 5x to 50x more than the rest. There are certain professions like professional athletics where this is particularly true. But at the same time in many professions including lawyers, consultants, managers, speakers, even cooks and hair stylists, the stars are those who are best at marketing themselves. So if you really want to become a star, you have to hone the skills necessary to market yourself and/or your ideas.

If you read my article about The Commodity Marketplace for Employees you’ll get a lot more background on this topic. Today I want to focus on a good point that my friend brought up. He had consciously tried to build up an ‘aura’ (or a “reputation for greatness”) in his organization and had been somewhat successful in doing so. But after succeeding at building his ‘aura’, some coworkers who had previously been helpful in building it, suddenly stopped supporting him. Why did they do this? Well, they began to feel that his ‘aura’ had become stronger than their own, and a potential threat to their own career ambitions.

So, if you are really good at what you do, is building yourself into a star doomed to failure?

Definitely not!

This is one of the hazards of focusing your personal innovation efforts within your organization. While it is important to have a reputation for greatness within your organization of a certain level, it is more important to focus on expanding your reputation for greatness outside the organization and here is why:

  1. To build a reputation for greatness within your organization you are dependent on your peers and managers saying flattering things about you and throwing their support behind your efforts, but at some point this support will likely decrease or cease
    • The only exception is a company growing so fast that there is endless opportunity for all
    • This is because people eventually become threatened and will not want to be seen as inferior
  2. Building up a reputation for greatness within your organization really only helps you
    • It might help your manager if he/she can show their bosses that they are a great developer of talent and deserve to move up to the next level
    • It does not add value to the organization
  3. Making yourself a star outside your organization increases the awareness of other companies to your promise and potential
    • It also increases the profile of your organization as being a thought leader
    • Upper management will eventually recognize this thought leadership benefit
      1. Improved reputation
      2. Free advertising
      3. Free public relations

Let’s face it, becoming an internal star will probably only get you a 3% annual raise instead of a 2% annual raise, and possibly on the fast track for promotions (but only until you become a little too threatening to the wrong person). If you truly are a star, begin preparing yourself mentally for the possibility that you may have to leave your current employer to be compensated appropriately, continue to execute brilliantly and start polishing your star.

If you do a good job building up your self-marketing skills and show that you do have something unique and valuable to say, then you will become of greater value to another organization than to your current one, and to a sufficient level where the other organization is willing to campaign to acquire you.

So, the following questions remain:

  1. Are you really a star?
  2. Are you committed to the hard work and learning necessary to shine your star?
  3. Are you ready to leave your current employer when the time is right for a new opportunity or to create your own?

Well, are you?

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