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Make It Easy to Buy From You

My new business class Internet was installed this week. Everything went well. The technician was great as was the sales team – once I reached them. That part is a story worth telling.

A few weeks ago, I had about a half hour open over the lunch hour during a very full week. I had been putting off a call to Time Warner thinking it would take at least thirty minutes to ask my questions and figure out what services I needed. I finally had a window to make the call which I place at 12:01. I placed the call to the number on my bill that specifically said it was “Inquiries regarding other services offered by Time Warner.”

I was first connected to an automated menu that sounded nothing like a new services inquiry line. After listening to the choices twice (none of which sounded right), I picked what sounded like the best one. Remember the analytical section on the LSAT where every answer sounded wrong but you picked the one that seemed least wrong?

A human answered around 12:06. I asked my questions and she said I needed to speak to business services and that she would connect me. Great! That only took until 12:08 and I was about to speak to someone who could help. “Please hold.” Then, a few seconds later, I am listening to the same menu that I originally heard at 12:01. This time, I only had to listen to it once but that still took until 12:11, when I reached a different human.

The new human listened and started to transfer me right back to Menu Hell until I interrupted her and told her I needed to speak to another human being in business services rather than a menu that did not take me there. She then offered to transfer me but also gave me the direct number unless “something happened” during the transfer. That turned out to be a good thing.

At 12:14 the number started ringing. It rang for about four minutes before some sort of automatic disconnect kicked in. You have got to be kidding me! I called the direct number I had been given with a glance at the clock showing 12:19. Finally, a very knowledgeable sales person answered after two rings. Within a few minutes, the order was placed.

Why do I tell this story? I called the number specifically provided for ordering new services. In other words, I had made the decision to buy something or was at least very close to that decision. Still, it took me twenty minutes to reach someone who could help me – help me BUY SOMETHING. In this case, it was a good thing that I had a half hour open. Otherwise, I might not be a Time Warner Business Class customer yet. Who knows. I might have given up and looked elsewhere.

No business should ever make itself difficult to buy from. Why throw up roadblocks to potential customers?

Does your law firm do this? Do you accept credit cards? Do you make yourself available during evenings or weekends (within reason) for potential clients who work during the week? Do you have easy to understand engagement letters, rate structures and payment plans? Do you have a receptionist who is actually “receptive” when someone calls? You probably spend a significant amount of money to market your law firm. What’s the point if the first thing you do is alienate the prospective client who responds to that marketing?

Make it easy to buy from you. It is the first step in building the long term relationship that attorneys want to build with their clients. The type of long-term relationship that leads to referrals and repeat business.

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