We all hear the horror stories about dealing with big companies’ customer service departments, but this happens all the time in professional service industries as well. Almost everyone has hired a professional service provider with a horrible response time. It’s just awful.
And when the person is your lawyer, it makes matters so much worse. Your lawyer is supposed to be the one person in the world who looks out for your best interest, and they can’t even respond to an email or a phone call.
From my general experience, the lack of response from a service professional is very telling and quite transparent. It means they do not believe they are fulfilling their obligations to you as a client, so they delay communications in an attempt to “catch-up” on your work. This creates a revolving cycle of destructive behavior which degrades the quality of the work and the relationship.
I have recently experienced this situation from multiple perspectives. First, I had to fire a service provider who couldn’t respond to a yes or no question via email for days on end. Second, I had a new personal injury client contact me for representation because her then-current attorney had never called her back for a month! [when I visited his website, I found out that he practices “exclusively collections law”….. sure you do].
One thing I have learned from my practice and owning a business is that you must deal with problems head-on, and the quicker the better. If you’ve hired a service provider in any industry, and they don’t respond to you adequately, confront them asap. If they don’t remedy the situation, you may want to consider other options. In most cases, if you fire a service provider within the first few months, you wont lose much ground. If you wait 6 months – 1 year, you may find yourself forced to stick with them to the end of the project, and i’ll bet you wont like the results.
At my firm, I don’t tolerate delays or excuses. If I cant deliver for a client for any reason, Ill just tell them why I can’t deliver. People respect honesty with so much force that even if I lose the client, they wind up referring me more business in the future.
Regardless of which side you are on, bite the bullet, respond to your clients, or fire your service provider. You’ll be happy you did so, I promise.