In episode 2 of The Ripple Podcast by 5 Stones, Kim talks with Parker Layrisson about creating great moments in customer service.
Parker is a personal injury attorney in Ponchatoula, LA. He owns Parker Layrisson Law Firm. In a world of personal injury attorneys who beat their chests and buy billboards of themselves standing on the hoods of 18 wheelers, Parker chooses to be very different.
In this episode you're going to hear Parker's "why" behind the amazing way he treats his clients. You'll also get to hear from he and Kim about their favorite customer service experiences.
Kim: All right. Okay, Parker, I'm so excited to have you here today.
Parker: I'm really excited to be here, thank you, Kim.
Kim: You're our first guest, do that?
Parker: What? Come on.
Kim: I know.
Parker: That's an honor.
Kim: Hand picked, yeah. So, this topic is really one of my favorites, I don't know if you even know this, and it's customer service.
Kim: In our first business, we really got to become really well known based on our customer service, and since then, I watch and I pay attention to other people, and how they are with their customer service, and it kind of drives me crazy. You're probably the same just because I've watched you ... I'm not even a customer, right?
Parker: Good thing, because that would've meant you've been in a car accident, so thankfully you're not hurt in a car accident.
Kim: That's a good point. So, I've been watching, and I'm like, "This guy really has it going on."
Parker: Thank you.
Kim: And I love that, so why don't you ... For people that don't know you even though for those that are in our community, everybody knows Parker Layrisson, tell us who you are and talk about your business a little bit.
Parker: Sure. You know how when people get in a car crash, you probably know they struggle to pay their medical bills. It can be an overwhelming experience, very debilitating. Well, I run a law firm in Ponchatoula that has a three step plan for helping people get back on their feet. We help them to pay their bills, to save time, to take care of their business so they can get back to their families, and just living life like they used to. That's all we do, we are not a law firm that does wills on Mondays, DWI's on Tuesdays, whatever on Wednesdays. 24/7, we're handling one type of case.
Parker: So that's it, small town personal injury lawyer. Probably the only personal injury lawyer that does just that, but does not do TV commercials, radio ads, billboards, any of that typical marketing that you see.
Kim: Well, that's a really great segue because the reason why I told Brian that I thought you'd be a great person to interview was because of my perception of your customer service. And you're right, I don't see your marketing the way that I see every other attorney doing their marketing. So, it's your thoughtfulness, I think, towards your customers and your potential customers that's coming from somewhere. So where did that come from? Because I would imagine when you get out in business you think, "Okay, I have to do the typical marketing," but you're really doing it different. So, where's that come from?
Parker: My mom. As a mom maybe you appreciate that. And I mean that not just in the traditional how she raised me way, but the reason I do this type of case and nothing else is because I saw my mom go through this. I used to be a lawyer who did a number of things, not everything under the sun, but those things that would pay me the best I'd do it typically within reason. And then I saw my mom go through a car accident. She was rear ended by an underinsured motorist, and even though she had been paying her insurance company for 40 years on time every month without question, suddenly they're asking her all these questions and distrusting her, and treating her poorly.
Parker: And so, it just kind of made what I do personal to me. And so, what I try to do is apply an approach of how would I want my mom to be treated. Because I noticed when we handled her case there was just a little bit more skip in the step. I loved what I was doing, I mean it was my mom, so I was fighting all the way, and probably doing a better job, proud of what I did. And so now we just try to bring that enthusiasm, that dedication to every case. I don't know that we're succeeding, but we're trying, we're doing our best.
Kim: Well, it looks like you're succeeding.
Parker: Thank you.
Kim: From the outside looking in, what I love about it is that ... And I'm going to share some examples in a little bit, but it's in the culture of your company, it's not just in Parker, it's in everybody that is a part of your team. So, how did you get customer service to be such a vital part of the culture of your firm?
Parker: Part of it's probably hiring process, we have what some people have told me is a really obnoxious hiring process, in that we put on Facebook, "We're not looking for lazy people that want to leave 10 minutes early."
Kim: I've seen that.
Parker: You've seen that ad? So, that's part of it. What we're trying to do is repel your typical lazy nine to fiver and get really self starters. And the other thing is we try to hire people that have been through this experience. Most of our staff has either been in a car wreck, or had a family member be in a car wreck, who suffered some type of loss, or personal injury, so they empathize with our clients on a different level than somebody who just theoretically thinks about that.
Kim: Right. So, I've seen that on your website, and I love your ads when you're hiring somebody. I've seen that, I remember-
Parker: Not everybody does, so I'm glad you do.
Kim: Well, you know what though? They don't have to apply. Company culture is a big deal, and that's a whole another podcast that we could go into and talk about, but it's exhausting to hire someone.
Parker: It is.
Kim: And so, when you hire wrong-
Parker: It's a lot more expensive than hiring a few people right.
Kim: Yeah, and it's not even just about the financial part of it, but the time, right?
Kim: The amount of time it takes to interview people, and so we probably should have you back on another episode where we're talking about HR, and your obnoxious hiring process.
Parker: I can tell you about the many, many mistakes I made, but I'm really blessed with a great team right now. We have a great team, and they do a great job, and I can only take a really small part of the credit for that.
Kim: Yeah, well probably spew the leader, spew the team, right? So, I know one of the things, so I've been kind of following you for a while now, and it's like there's always something different that you're doing, or that I catch onto, whether it's how you create a Facebook and hiring.
Parker: Maybe that's a polite way to say I don't have much of a plan or organization.
Kim: No, I love ... No.
Parker: All over the place, it would be true.
Kim: I think it's awesome because it's different, it's not the same that everybody else is doing, and so, from how you hire, to your social media posts, I see you've got books right there because I know you're an avid reader just like Brian. I'm not the big reader in the family, but-
Parker: Can I give you an example of that?
Parker: I think this will make you feel better. One of the books I brought is the book I wrote and dedicated to my mom when she got in her accident, an accident handbook. Because I wanted to be able to answer questions for people like her beyond the 100 or so clients that I may have at a time. But so, I dedicate this book to my parents, it's 300 some odd pages for a guy from Ponchatoula, it was big work for me. And my mom of course was so proud, you know, baby boy did it.
Parker: And she's also at the time living through this, so, she's very interested in the topic. So, I give them a book and I come by the house one time about a month later, and I see my mom's book mark about 250 pages deep. She's tearing through it, and on about page 10, I find a used red Popsicle stick where dad had eaten a Popsicle, read about 10 pages, used it as a bookmark, and never gone back.
Kim: But your mom was deep in the book.
Parker: Yeah, some people won't even read their own kid's book, so don't feel bad. That's fine.
Kim: Oh well-
Parker: I do love to share books. Not just mine, but I think you may ask me about another later in the program. I'm happy to do that.
Kim: If Peyton Walker is listening, if I ever write a book, you better read it, that's what I'm saying. You've written us notes before, and I'm going to talk about one in a little bit, but how do people react when they get these?
Parker: Truthfully, most people don't because we're busy, so it's not like I'm getting calls saying, "Thank you for the note." But when I see someone, when I come across someone that I've written a note before like you, it's always positive, it's something that connects us. I think the key is to be authentic. I'm not going to write you a BS note like, "Oh you look great today," if your hair wasn't ... "It's going to be something that I truly mean, always positive, and hopefully uplifting, or some type of gratitude.
Parker: But the response is pretty great, because in this day and age, not many people are getting a handwritten personalized note. It takes a little time to do. Thankfully it's very inexpensive. But it seems to me to be fairly rare in 2018.
Kim: Don't you think though, that that simple little gesture that like you said, didn't cost much, it's not typical of our culture anymore, everybody wants to send a text, or an email, that when you do something like that, and then I hope I'm not in a car accident, but something happens, I'm going to remember of all the attorneys out there, I'm going to remember the ones that ... Like you did that.
Parker: Well, I think it helps develop a connection. For me, at the end of the day people are going to buy from folks that they know, like, and trust, and if you want to cross that threshold, you have to earn it. To trust someone, you have to have a real relationship with you. So, whether it's a note, a phone call, we do a lot of phone calls, too. "Hey, how you doing? How's this program going?" Or whatever. But thanks for mentioning that.
Kim: Well, I love that you pay attention. Like, I think that's ... We're talking about customer service, and some people may be listening going, "I thought this was about customer service," you talked about relationships, we talked about special little things that people are doing, but you pay attention. Like we're not like, close friends, we don't hang out. But we're friends on Facebook, and we see each other at events, and things like that, but Brian and I, we just went to Tennessee for a story brand, and this isn't even the first hand written note that we've gotten before, but that's a sturdy, significant ...
Kim: Like when I got this I'm like, "Brian, oh my gosh this is so cool." So, when we got it the thing is, it was actually hand delivered. Like it didn't even come, and you didn't even know that. Didn't even come in the mail, like probably, and this speaks to the customer service of the people that you work with, is that they probably were going to the post office. Which is next door.
Parker: And they just stopped by on the way.
Kim: And they probably said, "you know." Yeah.
Parker: That sounds like my assistant, so yeah.
Kim: Yeah, she walked in.
Parker: If she's listening, then nice job, Stephanie.
Kim: And it's nice, like it's just super cool. I just love it.
Parker: Well, I'll give you an example because I think you're hitting on a point here. Like, for it to have impact it needs to be genuine. You have to notice something real, and then kind of memorialize that. And for me, the a-ha moment of customer service, noticing things that don't get noticed was this; years ago, my wife and I got married, best day ever til my two boys were born. And so, we go on our honeymoon. While I'm gone, we hire a reception service, if they're listening anywhere, Ruby Receptionists, they sometimes answer our phones if our staff's overwhelmed, and they're based I think Portland, Oregon.
Kim: I've heard of them, yeah.
Parker: Somewhere in the upper, northwest corner of the United States. When I get back from my honeymoon, there's an extra wedding gift from my registry, not something random they bought, but Ruby knew, because I left a message, "Hey I'm going to be out of town this week on my honeymoon," that I'd just been married. Somebody there went, stalked me on the internet, found our wedding registry, and bought a present we actually wanted.
Parker: I was just blown away, and this is somebody I'd never met in person. We don't spend a ton of money on them because we use them part-time. And I was like, "Wow, why can't we do that for our clients?" We don't do things that dramatic, but we try, and it helps.
Kim: I think companies get, like you said, we're all so busy, and there's so much to do, and our to-do list is long, and sometimes we're doing more than ... As a business owner, you might be the person doing your marketing, you might be the person meeting with the client, you might be the one doing the sales or the account. Like you do so much that it's easy to get overwhelmed with all the things you have to do to not be in the moment, and in the present, and paying attention to what's going on, and so that's what I was getting around to is you just noticed on social media that Brian and I were at story brand in Nashville.
Parker: I was so excited, and a little jealous I'll admit, because I did the story brand online course, which is exceptional, but it's on my bucket list to do what y'all did, so ...
Kim: When you go, we'll go back with you.
Parker: Thank you, I would love that. I would love that.
Kim: Yeah, so there was ... I'm going to have another guest on to talk about customer service later on, and this is going to lead into the question, which is, what is your biggest wow customer service moment that you've had as the customer? I'm going to give you some time to think about it. We were-
Parker: I think I probably spoiled, it's going to be hard to outdo the wedding gift one.
Kim: That's true.
Parker: But I can tell you that there have been many that would probably be one at the top of the list. Anytime you get personal attention in a world that doesn't often offer ... I mean, I used one, this is maybe not the biggest, but just an example. You guys are cross fitters, you've probably eaten a lot better than I am. But everybody gets in a rush once in a while, compare the drive through experience at McDonald's, Wendy's, wherever you go.
Parker: And Chic-fil-a, Chic-fil-a is just jam up doing it better every time, so I try to look for little examples like that. They don't all have to be grandiose, spend $100 on a fancy wedding gift. I'll give you another one, this is ... my mother treats with some excellent doctors in Hammond because she's injured, and if Karen Williamson's listening out there, of Advanced Pain Institute of Hammond, I think she was behind this, but this was really cool. So, I've gotten to know them as they've treated my mom, and over the years have great doctors.
Parker: But when my first son, Luke was born, they knew that I was a Yankees fan, and so we get shipped in the mail, Luke's first week born, a custom made Louisville slugger that says, Future All star New York Yankees-
Parker: With the logo. My son's name, my son's birthdate.
Parker: That's wow.
Kim: That is wow.
Parker: But again, they're paying attention. How did they glean that little fact that I liked the Yankees? I thought that was really cool.
Kim: And now with social media, it's really not that hard to figure somebody out.
Kim: If there's somebody you really ... Like for anybody listening if you're thinking if I said, "Who's your top client?" Or, "Who's a client you want to be your top client?" Somebody you want to just nurture that relationship with, really stalk them, you'll find out more than you want to know, and it makes it easier to really ...
Parker: You're right.
Kim: Even 20 years ago you couldn't do that, so it's really ... So, I'm going to tell you about mine, and oh my gosh. So, you know, Brian, and I, we love the beach.
Parker: Right, I'm not going to say the exit or area.
Kim: Please don't.
Parker: I know that's off limits, Brian, somebody messed that up last podcast, I'm not going to name names. But I won't do that to you, Kim.
Kim: I have people messaging me saying, "You need to keep the secret a secret."
Parker: I noticed you pulled him off camera. Like, I knew he messed up, but I didn't know how drastic it was until I showed up, and there was no third chair.
Kim: It's punishment time, so that's exactly right.
Parker: And if that can happen to the CEO, I know just a guest, who knows?
Kim: Be careful. Yeah, don't say, but that place there's a restaurant there, and we were there in January when we were doing the whole 30, which is a whole another. Like the whole 30 is intense, clean, clean, clean eating. So, we're out to eat at a restaurant, and we're telling the guy, his name is Jess, and he was just ... Like I was almost in tears by this guy's ... It's a restaurant. This isn't ... And it's in a very highly traveled area, so you don't know if you're ever going to see this person again.
Kim: I'm thinking as a server, they see all these people, and he's probably thinking, "I'm never going to see this person again." What he doesn't know is that in one exchange with my family, I honestly almost cried. It was so powerful the way that he treated us, the way he communicated with us, the way he took care of us.
Parker: You might want to make clear that these are good tears of joy before he gets fired.
Kim: They know, because I've already reached out to them.
Parker: Just making sure, I don't want to see the best waiter on earth lose a job.
Kim: That's a good point. No, he was amazing. It was incredible, and then I was-
Parker: What did he do to make it so incredible?
Kim: So, he just spent time with us, he wasn't in a rush, you get to a restaurant and they're like, "Okay, what do you want to drink? And what's your order?" He slowed down-
Parker: He cared.
Kim: And he was at our pace, he absolutely cared.
Parker: Speaking of caring, we told him, because he was trying to sell us and all these delicious dishes. "This is so good and you have to have this," and we were like, "Well, we're doing Whole 30," and he's like, "Oh my goodness. All right, let me figure out." He started creating dishes. He's like, "Well, you can try this and you can try that." And then he just started talking to us about our life, like, "Where y'all from? How often do you come?" And then, you turn the tables and I started talking to him, and I'm asking him and he goes off and does his thing and he comes back and I asked him again, I'm like, "So, what's your story?"
Parker: This guy's a veteran, first of all. Secondly, I asked him ... This is over the course of breakfast. He goes off, does this thing, he comes back. We keep asking questions. And finally, I was like just like, "Jess, your customer service is ridiculous. It's amazing. Where did that come from?" And you know where? Here's a shout out to moms. It was his mom."
Kim: Seriously?" And so I'm sitting there with my son, so I'm like, "You see what I'm talking about? You need to listen to your mom." But it came back, he was raised as, if I remember correctly, a single parent home, and he just wanted to honor his mom, and he knew that how you treat people is important. And then he said, "You're not here to hear my story about ..." He said, "Life's hard, and I go through times where things are difficult. You're here to eat breakfast with your family and make a memory. You don't want to hear how hard life is for me."
Kim: So he was able to come to work and cut off his pain to make somebody else's experience spectacular, and I was just unbelievably moved by his story.
Parker: That's amazing.
Kim: I'm going to get him on our podcast to talk about it.
Parker: You should, that's incredible.
Kim: I wanted to talk about our experiences. You talked about yours, that that translated into how you do business.
Parker: Yeah. And it works on so many levels. I'll give you an example. Long before my mom became a client, she was obviously always been my mom, but before I was born, she was a legal secretary in Baton Rouge. And so, I became an attorney, she kind of sat me and said, "Parker, there's some good attorneys, but there's some real jerks that treat their staff poorly, and here's what I don't want you to do." My point is, you can just use that.
Parker: So, with my staff and everything we do, it's how would I want if my mom was sitting at that front desk, so that when it's time to make hard decisions, like recently we expanded our paid maternity leave program for an employee who had only been with the firm a month. That's hard and expensive to do, but when you think about it, it's like, "What if it was my mom?" I know she'd be there forever afterwards. Yeah, you might be paying for three of the first four months without getting any return, but pay it forward and you'll ...
Parker: It works almost every time. It is a great measure.
Kim: You keep up relationships, and it's about respecting people too. Like especially if you have someone that's working with you that gets it and they're doing a great job, you want them ... Like I know when Gerald bought a house, I was so happy that he bought a house. Or Karen just recently bought a car, those things happen, you've to celebrate those moments, and it creates this great culture in your company that I know sometimes when I go ... Like you talked about Chic-Fil-A versus say McDonald's, the people at Chic-Fil-A are happy to be there.
Kim: At another drive thru that I went to, they weren't happy to be there. So I think it has a lot to do with your company culture.
Parker: Yeah, for sure. And you guys have it. Just I think this weekend you had a company wedding, right? How cool is it to see those photos on Facebook?
Kim: Yes. It's awesome.
Parker: Yeah. But I think you're right, people are going to be happier when they go to work with that type of culture, and they're going to quote 'take it out on your clients or customers one way or the other'. So if they're unhappy, they're going to give you that McDonald's ... sorry McDonald's, please don't sue. But I'm just using the most right generic fast food experience, it's not Chic-Fil-A, and I don't mean to be him hate on them, but when they do love it there, they are so much more likely to take of your people.
Kim: We're kind of sort of combining customer service into company culture. Would you agree?
Parker: Oh yeah. I think you can't really have one without the other. If your company culture is bad, I don't see a way to make good customer service of that.
Kim: And I think that when you lay out what your core values are, I don't think we say. Like customer service is not one of our core values, but everything else is. So when you think about ... one of our one of our core values is happiness, if you're a happy person, that's, like you said, that's going to translate to the customer. Do you have anything else relating to the culture or how you ... because you can't really ...
Parker: But you mentioned core values, it's in there. Our first core values that put our clients' interests first, which sounds like, duh, lawyers are supposed to do that.
Kim: Well, everybody's supposed to do that, but they don't.
Parker: It is. And it's tough, it's when the rubber meets the road. For example, in the injury world, Louisiana is a very poor state. If I can give, I won't bore you with legal tips, you only learn one thing from having a lawyer on. Learn this; by as much uninsured motorist coverage as you can, because in Louisiana, most people on the road are under insured. About half of them are either no insurance or minimum coverage. So, if they hit you like my mom, the guy who hit her, like half the state is minimum coverage.
Kim: It's on her.
Parker: She's got to pay the bills. It doesn't take much time to rack up $15,000, which is minimum coverage in bills. But my point is, from a customer service perspective, it's easy to say put the clients first but what about that case where it's so badly under insured, because they had $10,000 in hospital bills and there's only $15,000 insurance. Well, if a lawyer comes and expect then to take a third of the money like the contract says, the client gets nothing. So you have to put your clients first.
Parker: And so for us, that means often, ouch, we've got to reduce this fee and maybe make half or less what we feel like we deserve so that the client doesn't get screwed. And so, whatever your industry, you've got to have values you put them first.
Kim: But it all comes back to what you said in the very beginning when you said putting the customer first, it was back to your mom. How would I want my mom to be treated. It's the golden rule, right? It's such a lost ... It's like an art form, I think customer service. It's funny, we talked about Chic-Fil-A, my son is 15 and he works at Chic-Fil-A.
Parker: Come on. I didn't know that. Herman?
Kim: Yeah. He started when he was 14. Oh my gosh, I don't know what they did to him, he's 15 now but we'll be on vacation and go through wherever, a coffee shop, it doesn't matter. My 15 year old is evaluating customer service everywhere he goes.
Parker: That's amazing.
Kim: And he'll say, "Oh, I would never do that." And then he'll explain why, here's what I know about that, and it blows my mind. So it's really just about being people and this whole art form of customer service, it's really sad that I'm calling it that because it's really not that hard. It's not hard to just care about people.
Parker: You hit the nail on the head that is kind of your focus, whether you're using your mom as the reason or whether it's just, let's look at the experience the person's having, and make that Paramount. And as long as your focus is on someone else, Golden Rule style, you're going to end up with a good product. One thing that impressed me about Chic-Fil-A is I understand it, their big expensive research and development facility is not designed to squeeze more money out of each customer, it's designed to inject more great experience into each.
Parker: And so, it's not, "Hey, how much more can we charge for a chicken sandwich." It is, "This is what we're charging. How much more value can we get with it?" And they've come up with all these little things, oh busy soccer mom, this could be ready to be ready when you walk in here.
Kim: It's amazing.
Parker: And you don't pay a penny more it.
Kim: That app. Have you used the app.
Parker: No, I haven't. Because I'm a busy soccer mom yet, my kids [crosstalk 00:26:25].
Kim: You're a busy guy, let me tell you.
Parker: But I will, I know I will. My staff tells me about it, they love it.
Kim: The funniest thing, we ... But again, it's customers, it's anticipating their needs. If we were sharing customer service tips, I think it's one of them, is anticipate your customer needs. What are they going to be asking for in the future? I don't want them to ask me for it, I want to come to them with the solution. We were traveling in the area where we keep it a secret that we like to travel.
Parker: Area 51 we'll call it.
Kim: Yeah, that's good. So, we were in Area 51 and Pétain of course really wants Chic-Fil-A and it's breakfast time.
Parker: Of course, it was Sunday, because when you really want Chic-Fil-A, it's always Sunday.
Kim: Always. Well, on this day it wasn't a Sunday because they were open and we come up to this Chic-Fil-A and the line of course, insanely long. I'm talking about the drive thru because we were going to drive thru. No, we weren't going to drive through, we're going to go in because the camper with us, so we pull up and the line though is crazy long, like the double looped around kind of line, so I get out and walk in and I see the line inside the store, I'm like, "I'm not waiting in this line." I'd forgotten about the app.
Kim: So I walk out and I go tell Brian. I'm like, "I'm not getting this line. Can we go somewhere else?" Peyton like, "No, I gotta have Chic-Fil-A." So I go back and at this point I see the sign, there's like a sign in the ... a yard sign kind of thing and it talks about the app and I'm like, "Oh I forgot about the app." I literally walked back to the truck, stand there, "What do you want?" I placed the order on the app, I walk back in and I stand under the sign that says mobile app.
Kim: The funny thing is the people that saw me come in a minute before, they saw it, and they saw me walk out and come back in and they're like, "What is she doing?" They have not moved in line, but I walk in and the people who are holding my bag and they say, "Kim, here's your order."
Parker: Oh, wow. That's powerful.
Kim: I'm busy, saving time. I'm getting what I want, and I'm winning the day for my family who's like ... It's anticipating those needs and knowing what people are looking for. I just love people that get customer service. There's so many different ... What are some things that you've noticed about businesses, you're like, "That's good customer service." Obviously, we've talked about just treating people kindly, being a good person, anticipating their needs. Is there anything else you can think of that's just good customer service?
Parker: I think we've covered most bases. I think we've already covered it, but just hiring great people. Like here locally in the area, a place I'm really blown away by is [inaudible 00:29:19] Chiropractic Clinic. My best friend, Will, he's my bookkeeper. He comes in sometimes and you can tell he's feeling great. I'm like, "What's up?" He's like, "It's just I had my adjustment." And it's not just that he got a great adjustment, it's just that the whole experience here is great.
Parker: Whereas I've gotten to know them, I've noticed I know several of their employees. There's Melissa who I know well because her husband worked with my dad for whatever, 20 years at the sheriff's office, just great family. He's been there 20 years. She knows her stuff inside and out. She's a big plus. There's Emily who is actually the editor of this book for me. One of the smartest people I've ever met. Her genes are so good. Her brother is literally a rocket scientist.
Kim: Oh, I know Emily.
Parker: You know Emily?
Kim: Yes. Emily writes for us.
Parker: Yes, we were high school classmate. She's off the charts, but she works ... It's just like they're collecting a stable of great people, and the only way you can keep great people is you have to treat them right. They deserve a ton and they're going to get it in the market place. Things like that, just put together a great team, you all have done it, they've done it.
Kim: It's really not that hard.
Parker: We're trying to do it. I think to me, the key is, it takes time, it takes energy and usually it takes money. It's hard to get people, you have to at least pay them fair if not pay them great. You have to do these things.
Kim: You're talking about the things that you can do. What would you say to those that are listening, a company that maybe they haven't really paid attention to their customer service. What is something that they can do just to get started? You have any thoughts on that?
Parker: I'll always like to start with free. For me, because I've built my business from the ground up from nothing with little help from my parents and no law partners or anything like that. But for me, it would start with the call, the give a crap call. I can say crap in your broadcast? Sorry I promptly said it.
Kim: I don't think we have to put an E for explosives when I say crap, so we're good.
Parker: Yeah. But basically, it costs nothing to call somebody and say, "How are you doing?" And if you don't ... you could start with friends and family, if you've got former clients, call former clients. Just let people know, "Here I am, I care." "Kim or Brian, how is your trip to Tennessee? I saw you ... " If you do that, the card which you mentioned earlier, that moves from free to cheap. It can be nice, but a simple card is, you can get one for 50 cents, pay another 50 cents for a stamp. For a dollar a day, you've got a personal card that ... you start there, just meaningful interactions. And then make it smart, maybe keep a list so that you're not accidentally calling Kim every two weeks and turned it into a burden.
Kim: "Parker, you just called me last week."
Parker: Yeah. For me, that's the place to start, and just be real. And if you put that person's interest as your focus and you're real, and you put a little time and energy into it, you've got the secret sauce.
Kim: We were talking earlier this year about the trends of 2018, and one of them that I used in a presentation was authenticity. And you were just talking about just be real, just be yourself. And I laughed about that, and Brian actually laughed when I first told him the trend is going to be authenticity. He was like, "They've been talking about that for like three years, that's not this year."
Kim: The difference this year is actually doing it, is actually being, like we've been talking about it. People have been talking about being authentic in their marketing for years, but this is supposedly the year the people will actually get on board and really do it. I love that you talked about-
Parker: I think if you try it, you see it works. It's like with us lawyers, what do you usually see. I think we mentioned earlier, a TV commercial of a guy in his best suit, kind of pounding his chest and bragging a lot. It's like, "All right, I try the most cases, I get my clients the most money ..."
Kim: And they're all the same.
Parker: "I'm the smartest." And it's like, one, you guys know website, you can make a great website and make a bad lawyer look really good. It is hard to ... The key is, some lawyers are the perfect lawyer for that client and it you may not need ... Most of my clients don't want to go to court, so they don't want the guy who's tried the most cases, they want a great deal that can keep them out of court, save them time, help them pay their bills, all of that. But if you're real, you're going to find the right match, but you have to ...
Parker: It's like dating, until you get to your real authentic self, you're not going to be ready for the perfect match, because if you're fronting, you're going to attract the bad match that wants that kind of person.
Kim: There's another thing that we talked about when I was talking about being authentic and you just said putting on that front, it's so much work to be fake. That's a lot.
Parker: I'm not smart enough to keep up with being fake.
Kim: And it's like your mom taught you when you were a kid that if you lie, it becomes a bigger lie, and a bigger lie and then you end up forgetting, "What did I lie about?" You know what I'm saying?
Parker: And you're right. Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.
Kim: Absolutely. Let's have a little bit of fun here, and this wasn't an in the questions that I shared with you ahead of time. But I, just being authentic, real transparent, bad customer service drives me nuts. My family knows that if I say, "My head is tingling," like I'm mad, like it's about to be real. What things do people do that makes your head tingle? Like bad customer service. Don't call anybody out. What do people do that you're like ... I'll give you some time to think.
Parker: Give me an example of yours as well. I'm going to try to come up with fake names to protect the guilty.
Kim: Okay. Perfect. Mine is the whole policy thing, "Oh, that's just our company policy." I don't care about your company policy. I wish I can remember something just happened just recently, and ... Oh, it's coming back to me. I think it was like yesterday or the day before, somebody did something and ... oh, actually I am going to use a name.
Parker: Oh, oh, they deserve it.
Kim: No. Because I'm going to talk about what they did that was amazing, because they could have, they could have used the policy thing. Waitr, the app Waitr. Super cool. Have you used it yet?
Parker: I have two kids, two and under, so we use it all the time. Stuff to get out without [inaudible 00:35:51]
Kim: I love it. That's true. It was Saturday night, oh my gosh, we want to just chill and just have a quiet Saturday night. I didn't want to cook, Brian didn't want to cook. So, he is like, "Just order on Waitr." And he really wanted the certain item from Salty Joe's, the new barbecue restaurant in town and so-
Parker: Great place, by the way.
Kim: It's so good.
Parker: The choice.
Kim: And the atmosphere is just amazing. But we wanted our home atmosphere that night, but we wanted Salty Joe's. We get on Waitr and we order. I wanted a lemonade, they wanted root beer, Brian ... and so drinks weren't on the Waitr app. So I'm like, "I'm just going to call and just pay for the drinks separately." So I called. And long story short, I just paid for the drinks separately. When the Waitr came, they didn't have the drinks.
Kim: So I call but when I ... backing out to the policy, they could have very easily have said, "Oh no, ma'am, we don't do drinks through the Waitr app. The ice is going to melt." They could give me all these reasons and could have very easily said, "Well, it's just our policy." That's my pet peeve. I can't stand when people, "Well, it's our policy not to do that." And I'm like, " You know what you can do with your policy."
Parker: We're going to have to really censor this if ... so we'll stop that. We know where you're going.
Kim: What happened though, Nicole, I think was the manager's name. Nicole, she was like, "We can take your drink order and I'll just make sure it goes." It didn't get there, so I called back and I'm like, "Can you just refund my drink since they didn't come." And she was like, "No I already have." She sent somebody-
Parker: Restaurant employee?
Kim: ... that works on a Saturday busy night, to my house with the drink. She said, "I'm sending a brownie to you, because I'm really sorry." Like turned what could have very easily been like I'm mad situation and I don't know that I'm going to come back, turned me into a raving fan.
Parker: That's it, Marshall and Saúl, they do a good job over there.
Kim: It's great.
Parker: They know the stuff, they're great guys.
Kim: Did you have time to think of something that just drives you crazy?
Parker: Yeah. I think to me the key is two things. One, disrespecting time, which I think we covered earlier with the Chic-Fil-A line. To me, my time is my most precious resource, money and all that. I hate it when people make you wait unnecessarily. But the other one is lie. Recently, my wife and I, and I won't name the company, but we have a washing machine ... I'm one of these guys that doesn't keep track of warranties and all of that, but my wife is on the dot.
Kim: That's amazing.
Parker: We schedule our service appointment. And my wife takes off a day at work to be there because they no longer will tell you, "We're going to be there before noon or afternoon." It's eight to five window.
Kim: So you're taking time off work?
Parker: She takes time off work because I'm in a quarter of mediation or something. And not only did I get there, but the guy lies, and we're at the point where she's making a ton of phone calls, I get back from work. It's like six o'clock at night, it's dark, the baby is crying. She at the time was still pregnant with our youngest son. We're like watching the parking lot waiting for lights. And within a 30 minute window it goes from, "He's about to be there to, I'm sorry ma'am, the technician says he came out nobody was home." We were home. That really gets you the limits.
Kim: Yes. Definitely.
Parker: And then we spend a ton of time with them and they don't have any remedy to it. They didn't do the Salty Joe's, "Let me fix it now." It's, "Well, we can put you back in the same hopper that you were on before, 30 days." Another eight to five window, take off another day at work and hope this doesn't happen.
Kim: Yeah. You got me, my head's tingling and it wasn't even my situation.
Parker: It's the reason that this is company that's struggling to stay in business. It's the whole [inaudible 00:39:42]
Kim: It makes sense.
Parker: But it's kind of why these dinosaurs sometimes ...
Kim: Again, all this stuff comes back to thinking about the customer, what do they value? You're talking about your time, some people it's money, some people it's, "Just treat me like a human." That's good stuff.
Parker: If you mess up, make it up, because we all make mistakes. I tell clients all the time. "I'm not perfect. If you're looking for a perfect lawyer, don't hire Parker Layrisson because I'm not." The other guy not to hire, the lawyer who claims he's perfect because he's lying or she's lying. But you've got to own up to it and make it right and be accountable. Your customers, they love accountability. We owe it to them.
Kim: Well, and then it just show you're just a real person. I referenced Raving Fans a minute ago.
Parker: Great book.
Kim: Because that's a book that I read a long time ago. Again, I'm not a reader so if I do read it and I love it, it's an even bigger deal.
Parker: You love the length because it's not so short.
Kim: Definitely loved the length.
Parker: My whole staff has read it.
Kim: I think that we had all of our staff read it too. In fact, one of them has it right now. Here's my question about ... This might be even what you brought that book for, but is there a book that you would recommend people read that inspires or gives you some ideas for having great customer service.
Parker: For sure. It's called the The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John D. Mann.
Kim: I've read this one too.
Parker: And again, a short, it's parable style. And I think it's great. And it's essentially things your mom taught you when you were little, things you learned in the Bible. You reap what you sow, it's golden rule type stuff, but it kind of breaks down how that can serve you in business. How you will prosper because you do more for others than you expect them to do for you. And it's made a big impact on my practice.
Kim: Well, that's definitely one of my favorites and then of course, Raving Fans that I talked about. I would love if anybody is watching because we are on Facebook Live right now to share their favorite books in the comments. I noticed and I'm going to start wrapping up a little bit here, but I checked out your reviews on Facebook and on Google.
Parker: I hope nobody dropped a bad one recently.
Kim: They are Awesome.
Parker: Thank you.
Kim: No, Because we do that for customers, we look at that stuff a lot. And it's funny that not knowing everything we were going to talk about, not knowing what you were going to say, is that, the things that you're wanting people to think of you when they think of Parker Layrisson law firm is exactly what they're saying. And it all comes back to probably from this book and your mom, which is kind, caring, compassionate.
Kim: Most of them talked about those types of emotions, and even though I know that you know, you're very knowledgeable. You wrote the book, but by far, most people were talking about the character traits of you and your staff as opposed to, "Oh, he was knowledgeable and he made me all this money and ..." It all came back to that. I'm just curious, did it surprise you that on a marketing podcast, I wanted to talk about customer service?
Parker: Well, I think I followed you long enough to know that I'm not surprised because I think I see you all do that so well. My law firm is not a customer of yours, but my brother's campaign is. And I have attended your classes, I see how you roll. I know so many of your customers. Not really, probably maybe surprised you wanted to talk to me about that because I don't think-
Kim: Well, you should.
Parker: But thank you.
Kim: I've always thought and I've had people push back on this when I brought it up, but I've always thought that customer service is, you talked about free, the cheapest and possibly the easiest way to do marketing because it's so much easier to retain a client than it is to attract a new one.
Parker: And to be a referral, such a better client over somebody ... The other stuff's important and it takes all to make the business run. But for us, the referred client is a better client than somebody who just saw our ad.
Kim: I would imagine you probably have a great deal of referral business.
Parker: We've almost 90% of our clients are referrals. We track it and you have to do the other marketing to keep the referrals going, because if you're not top of mind, then they don't remember to refer you.
Kim: I'm not surprised by that at all, that 90% figure. That's awesome. One thing I just wanted, I was going to mention along with the Facebook and Google reviews. I said there's kind of a theme there with how people were referencing the emotional side of how you're caring, kind and compassionate, is to share with people, and I asked a minute ago, how would you tell them to get started? My tip would be that they should look at their reviews because you may see a recurring theme, especially on the bad reviews. I've had a client before where it was the same issue over and over, and over again. I'm like, "If you fix this one issue, just pay attention to what people are telling you instead of getting defensive and hot in how they're going to respond."
Parker: In a good way they help, augment the reviews, get on social media is a customer satisfaction review. For us, every time we settle a case, when we're done, we ask the client how we did. And we don't always like the answers, it's tough, it's scary sometimes to ask for that grade so to speak, but you need to know.
Kim: That's how we get better. Well, Parker, do you have any last things about customer service that you want to share?
Parker: I think that's about it. I want to thank you, I just want to say, you all are knocking it out the park. Today's focus is customer service, not say like Facebook performance or whatever, but I want to say, you guys have helped me so much on Facebook. I attended your class and one of Brian's SEO classes years and years ago. It helps us keep up with some of the biggest law firms in the state on Facebook. The things we studied from you, you didn't charge us a penny. You really have a giver's mentality. It ended up resulting in referrals like I mentioned earlier.
Parker: My brother hired you, but basically, I just want to thank you and let people know that what you all provide works and I've seen that for my brother and my friends and myself.
Kim: Well, I loved having you on. Thank you so much. I really appreciate your time and I look forward to watching everything that you do in the future.
Parker: Thank you, Kim.
Kim: All right. Thanks.