Thursday, October 29, 2009

Paralegals and Dental Hygienists Keep Clients Happy

When I commit to a dental practice, it’s usually not because of the five minutes I spent exposing my squeaky clean molars to the dentist – but due to the previous half hour I spent with his sweet, reassuring dental hygienist, who almost managed to make me forget it felt like she was trying to yank my teeth out of my mouth in the interest of gum health.

In her post “What Lawyers Can Learn from Dentists About Solo Practice”, lawyer and practice management consultant Beverly Michaelis compares a lawyer’s delegation of tasks that can and should be performed by competent paralegals and other legal staffers to a dentist’s delegation of essential practice duties, including teeth cleaning and client relations, to his hygienist.

Beyond the numbers, dentists have also learned the intangible benefits of hiring friendly, competent employees. At a time when poor customer service seems to be the norm, clients can’t help but be impressed when they are personally greeted and put at ease. When you’re in conference or out of the office, staff add to your professionalism. Instead of accumulating messages in voicemail, a real, live person can help your clients by relaying and taking information. If you were a client, what would you prefer?

A lot of our firm’s clients aren’t shy about saying they prefer talking to me, or to my supervising attorney’s warm and helpful administrative assistant, Sharon.

This is a great post to email to your supervising attorney and remind him or her how much your competency and excellent client relations contribute to the practice.

But try to not to look like the cat that ate the canary when your boss gets to the part where Michaelis recommends taking Fridays off…

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