Mary Lyon is the head of Customer Success and Support at Filevine. She and her team are committed to quality. They lead from the heart, while constantly learning and improving their services. That commitment is making a tremendous difference, propelling the growth of Filevine and expanding its use with established customers.
As a true master of customer support, Mary explains the 4 Customer Service Breakthroughs which have shaped her work—and the entire company. These same principles can help you achieve higher levels of customer service at your own law firm.
How will we be known? That’s the question I asked my entire Customer Success and Support Department when I came to Filevine.
When our customers think of us, what feelings should arise? What stories will come to mind? What values do we want them to associate with us?
We’re well aware that every client we talk to is investing time, energy, and resources into making Filevine a part of their everyday life. That means we owe it to them to bring real value to every interaction they have with us.
So we created a list of adjectives that we want to be known by. We pinpointed the attributes we want our team to be known for. There are almost 50 of them, ranging from Authentic to Innovative. Each one guides our interactions with Filevine users.
During this exercise, as I looked around the room at our team, and as I listened to the excitement and wisdom that each brought, I knew we were embarking on something special. I had never seen such a shared passion for excellence. I knew that with energy and insight like this, we could reach entirely new levels of customer support.
From those roots, we developed a full philosophy to guide our customer care. These are the four steps we follow in our relationships with each other and every time we engage with a customer, and we believe they can help you provide better legal customer service to your own clients.
4 Customer Support Breakthroughs
1. Ask the Right Questions
The first mistake of customer support is thinking it’s about providing answers. Truly exceptional customer support begins with asking questions — and learning how to ask the right ones.
People don’t know what they don’t know. When a Filevine user brings a problem to our team, it’s tempting to make assumptions about the issue they’re having. That way we can quickly direct them to the right resources and send them on their way.
But our Customer Success team is committed to going deeper than this. Instead of running forward with assumptions, we ask details about the situation to make sure we understand. We know solving the wrong problem wastes everyone’s time. We also ask how customers are using Filevine, to make sure we can offer a solution that fits with their workflow and expectations.
Afterward, we ask how else we can address their needs. Sometimes this allows us to introduce other Filevine features they didn’t know about. At other times, they give us great ideas for future releases, to create an even more powerful and intuitive product.
Your clients can add the same kind of value to the way your law firm runs. There’s no one better positioned to provide insight into the efficacy of your practice than the clients it serves. Great legal customer service is about truly understanding the needs of your clients by asking the right questions.
2. Engage With Empathy
The key to Filevine’s rapid success is that it was built with a deep understanding of customer needs. Our job as a team is to bring that commitment to understanding daily needs into each interaction with customers.
That means engaging with empathy. For many of us, empathy is a natural reaction when we’re engaging with others. But phones and chat boxes can sometimes make us feel more distanced and dampen our innate ability to connect with others.
But without true empathy, it doesn’t matter how skilled we are at answering questions or how quickly we solve problems: customer service will always feel hollow.
That’s why our team makes an extra commitment to ask ourselves: what is this person feeling now? What is the pain point they’re hoping to solve? From the space of empathy, we find more ability to treat others with respect, recognizing that each person we talk to is a human being with priorities, pressures, goals, and frustrations.
And again, the same is true of your clients. No one wants to work with a law firm who treats its client-base like settlement-fodder. Conversations with your clients should be honest, open, and empathetic. Part of providing top-tier legal customer service is making sure your clients always feel cared for, respected, and optimistic.
3. Take Accountability
The accountability process begins before we ever interact with a client. It means learning the technology of Filevine inside and out. It also means understanding the needs, pain points, and daily operations of various kinds of legal professionals. The deeper our education on these issues, the better able we are to fully show up for our customers.
When we’re engaging with a client, accountability means never offering empty promises or excuses. It means we will follow-up on our interactions, ensuring that customers remain satisfied. We send updates and new information to our customers.
Yes, all of this takes extra time and effort. But that also means it allows us clearly stand out against competitors, who would never take these extra steps.
It’s not unusual for me to see my department staying late and arriving early to make sure they’re reaching their clients and providing the service they need when they need it. Their dedication is incredible.
At Filevine, we also have a level of accountability that goes beyond specific client interactions. Some customer service departments are set up as a shield, to deflect and redirect any criticism that might come their way. But we commit to value the feedback we receive. Feedback is a service to us. We commit to remain connected with all other Filevine departments, working closely to create a product that addresses customer concerns and meets their needs.
Are clients at a law firm really any different? If you don’t value and prioritize customer feedback, how can you ever be confident that your team is providing excellent legal customer service? Using an automated “how’s my driving survey,” or monitoring your firm’s NPS scores are good ways to start building a tradition of valuing customer feedback.
4. Build Trust
When we follow the three steps above, we’re on the path to building trust. As we take the time to understand the situation, engage with genuine empathy, and take accountability for making things right, we see something remarkable in our customers. They come to trust us. They recognize that we’re human beings working our hardest to make their lives better. And they treat us with respect and patience in return.
Filevine users are powerful experts and professionals. But when they reach out to us, they’re often in a vulnerable position. They’re relying on us to guide them through the unknown. And that requires an immense amount of trust on both sides.
And that means we must show the customer in every interaction that we have their best interests at heart. Our final customer support breakthrough is recognizing that care for clients can’t be faked. It can’t be reduced to stock phrases or gestures. It can’t be used as a strategy to achieve a monetary benchmark.
At Filevine, we’re the real deal. Our words and actions stem from our personal character. And that is worth more than any amount of gimmicks or discounts.
Whatever new fields of technology open up — whatever developments come to case management — it’s relationships that will ultimately shape the future of the legal industry. And those relationships will be rooted in trust.
Spreading the Success
These are the breakthroughs that our team has brought to Filevine. And the response has been astonishing. Filevine has always been known for first-to-market technology and intuitive design, but increasingly, customers recommend Filevine to others based purely on the customer service provided by our team.
As one attorney recently wrote to us:
“I appreciate all the times you took my phone calls, answered my questions, and helped me solve the small issues. As a former waitress, I know customer service is always a number one priority and I applaud you for your professionalism and care for the well being of [our Firm].”
And we’re only getting started. Every day I’m inspired by the positive, hard-working people who surround me. I learn more from their commitment to helping Filevine customers succeed. Whatever problems they face, they never lose their zeal for connecting with customers.
And as we grow, we’re welcoming only the highest caliber of Customer Success Managers and Support Representatives. We won’t settle for less. We know that our own success spreads to our customers as well, as they’re better able to serve their own clients.
I’m honored to be working with these incredible professionals, and I look forward to the future we’ll build together.