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All posts by Laura Meherg

We will periodically revisit some of Wicker Park Group’s most popular blog posts. This one, originally posted in June 2016, was one of last year’s most read posts. At the recent Client Experience in Professional Services conference in Durham, North Carolina, Stan Phelps shared his insights about winning the hearts of customers and influencing positive […]

Wicker Park Group is revisiting some of the processes around Client Feedback Interviews in a new series of blog posts called “Back to Basics.” This is the fifth article in the series. You can find the first article about how to choose clients for feedback here, the second article about the importance of preparation here, the third article about who […]

Wicker Park Group is revisiting some of the processes around Client Feedback Interviews in a new series of blog posts called “Back to Basics.” This is the fourth article in the series. You can find the first article about how to choose clients for feedback here, the second article about the importance of preparation here and the third […]

The bar is low. Despite tremendous progress in the past 20 years, law firms continue to lag behind their clients’ industries and other professional service firms when it comes to innovation, client experience and client engagement. Again and again, we hear law firm clients say the attorneys and law firms that stand out from the […]

Wicker Park Group is revisiting some of the processes around Client Feedback Interviews in a new series of blog posts called “Back to Basics.” This is the third article in the series. You can find the first article about how to choose clients for feedback here and the second article about the importance of preparation here. Most […]

Wicker Park Group is revisiting some of the essential processes around Client Feedback Interviews in a new series of blog posts called “Back to Basics.” This is the first article in the series. Check back regularly for updated entries. Unless you have unlimited time and resources, it is impossible to visit or call every single firm client […]

End-of-the-year travels have had me on more airplanes, staying in more hotels, eating in more restaurants and visiting more law firm offices than usual. During my travels, I experienced some of the best and some of the worst hospitality imaginable. On one trip, weather and travel delays typical of the season resulted in missed connections, […]

While I was talking to a law firm partner about one of her most significant clients last week, she said, “Every time we have face time with the client, we walk away with several new projects. But that is so hard because we are so busy just managing the work and their complicated financial reporting […]

I recently had the opportunity to perform my civic duty as a juror. While the timing was inconvenient and the case not all that interesting, the experience provided a great perspective on the dramatic impact of strong communication and meeting facilitation skills. The case was relatively short, and there were only three witnesses called. The […]

Books to Inspire

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Summer reading has remained an ingrained habit from school days. At WPG, we are all avid readers and share book recommendations across genres. We read everything from current bestsellers and biographies to cookbooks and of course business books. Our 2016 summer reading focus at WPG has been on understanding the “client experience,” and we’ve all […]

At the recent Client Experience in Professional Services conference in Durham, North Carolina, Stan Phelps shared his insights about winning the hearts of customers and influencing positive word of mouth. Phelps is the author of What’s Your Purple Goldfish?, and his crowd-sourced stories resonated with the audience of engineering, design, architectural, construction, legal and financial […]

“When I select attorneys to handle a matter, I really look for a team. I want the leader to be familiar with the case and giving people direction. I don’t expect him to get in the nitty-gritty from day one, but you do really need a very smart guy to be in the details and […]

As the weather warms, I find myself wanting to do household spring-cleaning chores while also dreading the effort. I long for a day to pack away winter coats and make room for lighter, brighter clothes in the closet, to replace storm windows with screens and to clean outdoor furniture in preparation of porch sitting. Then […]

In some businesses, clients view their lawyers as impediments to making things happen. Those clients often work with outside counsel who throw up roadblocks and tell them why something won’t work instead of seeking a solution to the challenge. The roadblocks can be anything from regulatory hurdles to plain old risk aversion or analysis paralysis. […]

January 17 has been designated Ditch New Year’s Resolutions Day because that is about how long most people who make resolutions actually stick with them. According to research conducted by Statistic Brain, only 8% of resolution makers are successful with their resolutions. That’s a pretty sad success rate. According to Timothy Pychyl, a professor of psychology […]

Firing in Slow Motion

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Rare is the in-house counsel who will swiftly and directly confront outside counsel about minor annoyances or even major frustrations. While there are exceptions, most clients just don’t have the time, bandwidth or interest to proactively offer course corrections. Many attorneys are by nature conflict averse and indirect. So if you aren’t picking up on […]

Put the Phone Away

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“That lawyer does not take on each problem by rote but brings a renewed activism and discipline to the need to find the solution. That lawyer ‘listens’ rather than just ‘hears.’” –Client interviewed by Wicker Park Group     While hearing and listening both require using our ears, the words have very different meanings. Listening […]

I recently attended a meeting of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA) at the new PIRCH store in Atlanta to learn more about how the appliance store has created a customer-centric culture and earned a top 25 spot on the Forbes list of “America’s Most Promising Companies.” Granted, PIRCH offers $48,000 custom French ovens in […]

“In every business, there are employees who are the first point of contact with the customers (attendants at airport gates, receptionists at doctors’ offices, bank tellers, executive assistants). Those people can come across either as agents or as gatekeepers. An agent makes things happen for others. A gatekeeper sets up barriers to keep people out.” […]

Interview with Sarah Rosen, Associate Legal Counsel Union Square Hospitality Group Union Square Hospitality Group, founded by Danny Meyer, is the parent company to some of New York City’s most beloved restaurants, including Union Square Cafe, Gramercy Tavern, Blue Smoke and Shake Shack. The company also includes Union Square Events, a catering and events business, and […]

In its 2014 “Global Trust in Advertising” report, market research giant Nielson Company found that 92% of consumers worldwide trust recommendations over all other forms of advertising. That is up 18% since 2007. Based on Wicker Park Group’s body of client feedback interviews from the same time period, it is likely that an even higher […]

Restaurateur Danny Meyer has been delighting diners in New York City since he opened Union Square Cafe in 1985. Thirty years and 15 restaurant concepts later, he and his team at Union Square Hospitality Group (USHG) have perfected the art of “enlightened hospitality.” Their mission is simple: “To delight our guests through such unparalleled hospitality, […]

More likely than not, you gave or received a valentine this weekend. It may have been wildly extravagant or the simplest of gestures, but regardless you made or were made to feel special, cared about, valued and loved. A couple I admire attributes the longevity and happiness of their 50-plus-year marriage to treating every day […]

Defining Responsiveness

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A few weeks ago, I participated in a law firm practice group retreat. In preparation for the meeting, I spoke to the practice group leader about his goals for the group’s time together and specifically my program on client opinions, preferences and trends in client feedback. A bit skeptical of consultants in general, he was […]

Client Q&A: Joe Benage

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Interview with Joe Benage, Vice President, Insurer and Employer Services Quest Diagnostics Quest Diagnostics provides crucial diagnostic information that supports and enhances decisions people make to improve patients’ health. The company offers a wide range of products and services that benefit patients, healthcare providers, pharmaceutical medical device companies, life insurance companies and employers.   Q: In […]

At the LMA Southeastern Chapter conference in Nashville, Tennessee panelists shared best practices for strategic planning in law firms. While everyone agrees it’s critical for law firms to have a strategic plan, one panelist—the managing partner of a mid-size law firm—advises not to bother “creating one more nice notebook to put on the shelf” unless […]

Mistakes…

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 “Mistakes will be made. If you make a mistake, figure out what you did, own up to it, figure out how to correct it and then learn from it so you don’t repeat it. In my mind, a successful lawyer or successful employee is one who knows how to take that mistake and make a […]

We all love to walk out of a client interview with a zinger: a big relationship problem, a previously hidden opportunity in a new area or a major client challenge we can solve. In fact, some clients don’t think their client feedback programs are effective unless there are big surprises at every turn. The reality […]

The majority of clients interviewed by Wicker Park Group have significantly more praise for their outside counsel than criticism. In fact, most complaints about law firm relationships typically result from failing to manage client expectations or other common communication breakdowns. On those rare occasions when you do receive surprising negative feedback, it is always better […]

In a fascinating article in The New York Times Magazine I read that several educators across various socioeconomic backgrounds are trying to measure and improve the character of their students. The idea is that by improving character, particularly “performance character,” the students will be better prepared to face the challenges of college and adulthood. Based on the […]

As we wrote in our previous post, we are exploring seven character traits of high achievers that also translate into great success for client relationship management and business development. In this post, we are covering zest, grit and self-control. ZestWhen we hear the term zest used within a professional context, a lot of us imagine […]

In our ongoing look at the seven character traits of high achievers, we are devoting this post to an important one: social intelligence. Daniel Goleman, a psychologist and expert in social intelligence, explains in an article for the Harvard Business Review that neuroscience research has shown us the high value of social intelligence and its impact on […]

In our final blog post exploring the traits that lead to successful client relationships and business development, we’re talking about curiosity. The article in the New York Times Magazine that inspired this series discusses the KIPP charter schools, which focus on seven character traits that they believe will foster success. Per KIPP’s site, a curious person is someone […]

The character traits we are looking at this week, gratitude and optimism, seem pretty straightforward. After all, you’ve surely thanked your clients for their business, and having a generally positive attitude is easy enough. But our experiences at Wicker Park Group have taught us that taking purposeful steps to effectively express gratitude and cultivate an […]

At the 2009 Legal Marketing Association Annual Conference, Laura Meherg of Wicker Park Group and law firm CMO Erin Meszaros presented a workshop on client feedback. Billed as a “live” client feedback interview, the highly interactive program had the underlying goal of spreading the message that while the interview is important, the key components of […]

Law firms can benefit greatly by systematically and consistently seeking client feedback. At the LMA Philadelphia Chapter meeting on February 19, 2009, Laura Meherg and Nancy Mangan from Wicker Park Group outlined many of those benefits plus tips for creating and sustaining a successful client feedback initiative in law firms. Benefits One of the most important […]

We are all struggling to do more with less, watch expenses and make tough choices about how to allocate limited resources. In this time of lay-offs, chapter 11s, business and law firm failures and heightened anxiety across most industries (and personal lives) the way we treat our clients (and employees) can go a long way […]

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