Use a “Secret Shopper” to See How Your Potential Clients are Treated

by Reba Nance on October 23, 2015

rebaYou’ve probably heard of “secret shoppers.” Typically these are people who are hired by a business such as a restaurant or a retail establishment to come into the business anonymously and see how they are treated by the employees, if the facility is clean, etc. Why not take that concept and apply it to your own practice? I first considered doing this after I helped an attorney friend find a receptionist to fill in over the summer. I called the first day just to see how things were going. The person I recommended answered the phone with “Yeah?” I was shocked! I said “is this Suzanne Smith’s office?” And the response was another “Yeah!” I was expecting to hear “Suzanne Smith’s Office.” It would have been marginally okay to be greeted with “Law Office.” “Hello” would have been a distant third. But to be greeted with “Yeah” was absolutely unacceptable.

You may not have given much thought about how potential clients are treated when they contact your office. So try this — Have a friend or family member contact your firm by telephone to see how your staff or receptionist handles inquiries from potential clients. Is the phone answered after a minimum number of rings? Was the receptionist friendly and professional? If your friend was asked whether they could be put on hold, did the receptionist give the friend time to respond? If they were put on hold, how long did it take the receptionist to get back to the caller? If the friend asked for legal advice, did the receptionist give it? If they came to your office, were they greeted with a smile? Were they offered something to drink? Was the receptionist texting on his/her phone? Were they using Facebook on their computer? Were they gossiping with other staffers in your lobby? Was the lobby clean? How about the rest rooms? Occasional use of a “secret shopper” is a great way to check that you are portraying the image you want to portray.

Feel free to contact me with questions at reban@cobar.org.

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