Yesterday (Friday) afternoon a potential new client called my law firm, Inksters, looking for a Notary Public to notarise documentation for her today (Saturday). She had already called a good number of law firms in Glasgow but the response from each had been the same: “Tuesday is the earliest we can do it as it is a bank holiday weekend and we are closed until Tuesday”.
At Inksters we are open on Monday as we don’t close on bank holidays (other than Christmas and Easter Monday). As I am often in the office over a weekend it would not be a problem for me to see a client then if they want to meet at the weekend. I wouldn’t think twice about accommodating a request to specifically do so and, indeed, have done just that on a number of occassions.
But today (Saturday) I was planning (at the request of my wife) to spend the day at home doing household chores that included, amongst other things, mowing the lawn. So I had to tell the potential new client that I wouldn’t be in the office on Saturday but would be happy to meet her there on Sunday. However, Sunday was going to be too late for her as there was a deadline to submit the notarised documents by e-mail (as long as then followed up by post) that could only really be met if the notarising took place on Saturday. Not wanting to be as obtuse as the other law firms had been to her I enquired as to where she lived. It transpired with some serendipity that she lived just around the corner from me! So I suggested that we meet at my home this morning for the notarising to take place and that is what happened. She is now a happy client and I was still able to cut the grass so I have a happy wife too!
Even if we had not lived so close together she would have been more than happy to have crossed Glasgow in order to get the documents notarised wherever I had lived. It took very little time out of my day and was indeed much easier for me than arranging a meeting over the weekend at my office. No other law firm she contacted even contemplated such an arrangement. They thought only of their own normal working hours and not of the possibility of being flexible to meet the specific needs and requirements of a potential new client. Inksters gained a client. They didn’t. No doubt that new happy client will tell her friends the story about the accommodating lawyer and we will get even more new clients as a result.
In this day and age lawyers can’t afford to miss opportunities by only being open 9am to 5pm (possibly closed 1pm to 2pm) Monday to Friday and closing on bank holidays. Your customers don’t live in that world. You have to adapt to their world.