Legal Services Vendors - Quality Work Doesn't Mean Quality Service

Recently, I re-read a classic, David Maister's Managing the Professional Services Firm

If you are a legal operations professional before you issue your next RFP read Part II: Client Matters with a focus on the concept that competent work and high-quality service are two separate attributes.  Think through what you would like to elicit from your service providers. Some of this may be written into your RFP.  

Delivering a technically competent work product is an important component of the service, but by itself does not constitute good service.  While goods are consumed, services are experienced.  Maister's dissects a formula he describes as Satisfaction = Perception - Expectations.   

The onus is not all on external legal services providers.  First and foremost, legal ops professionals are also legal services providers with a clientele.  I was reinvigorated in my mission re-reading this book.  

Also, for some of the ideas you might just take the initiative to reach out to your current providers. For example, at one company I worked for we offered seminars to train outside attorneys on our business. We found it particularly useful to invite promising associates without the relationship partner, so the associates would feel comfortable speaking up and asking questions, and to include practical exercises on good client service.

From my colleagues at professional services firms, what book would you suggest we add to our reading list?