by Joseph Kim, Vice President of Legal and Client Services
As I began to write out this blog post during a coffee break, I can’t help but ponder back to May of 2008, the month I joined VISANOW. I knew little about the competitive landscape in the immigration industry; the knowledge I had was from stereotypical thoughts that I had accrued over the years. However, after some research and competitive intelligence gathering, I foresaw the service value VISANOW could offer to its clients versus the competition, a traditional legal services provider. Four years later, VISANOW’s traditional competitors have yet to adapt towards a client-oriented service model and that same realization I had in 2008 has heightened to a greater degree today. Let’s look at some facts about the legal industry and the immigration landscape specifically. Mixed in are some basic metaphors from my coffee break to help bring home the points.
Facts about the Legal Services industry
- A client rarely pays for a result. Clients will typically pay “an expert for perceived expertise and entrust themselves to their counsel. The path to the result is never measured, therefore paying for the result is also not measured.
- Can you imagine going into coffee shop and asking for a large Americano, then the barista yells out “I’ve been doing this for 10 years. The Americano you’ll be paying for is 3X what you paid last week based on my expert espresso making skills¦wait, what? I’d trust my barista much more if I knew it was going to cost me $3 every time I made a purchase. Also, I’d trust the coffee shop is committed to my satisfaction, not the barista’s perceived expert ability.
- Most traditional law practices are not measuring or managing their operational efficiencies. A traditional legal service provider is not looking to gain operational leverage and efficiency in order to give back hard and soft costs to its clients. Partnering with a service oriented company impacts this concept. Law practices rarely change anything for their clients. How come?
- If you’re a daily coffee drinker, would you go into a coffee shop and wait thirty minutes to get a cup of coffee? I’d like to know that the coffee shop managers are going to beef up operations with extra staff or change the service model for more efficiency. How will I get my coffee in an efficient way if the volume of customers continues to grow? Better yet, are the managers of that coffee shop monitoring the satisfaction of the customer? Should I pay the same fee amount, maybe even more, if the result is never accounted for and committed to from the get-go? The coffee shop I go to gives out “Next Round Is On Me coupons when service levels dip and results vary.
- Technology is missing in the traditional legal services model. More importantly, it’s financially opportunistic for a traditional provider to leave technology out of their model as work product is soon scrutinized by clients. Technology allows for more transparency and clarity in a service provider’s work. Where will traditional practices hide their “work if their work flow is exposed? Also, if they have work to hide, what are they doing billing customers on an hourly or non-fixed rate?
- Some coffee shops have fantastic scanning technology to read a barcode to read off of your smart phone. Technology can only make things easier, faster and cheaper for each customer. That’s true customer service. As for transparency, it gives me pleasure seeing what the barista is doing with their time and energy. It allows me to trust them all the more.
- The customer pays for the result, not the work. VISANOW has committed to this for years and it will never stop.
- Knowing that the customer pays for the result, the operational pressure is on the provider to figure out how to become more efficient for our clients. VISANOW is constantly thinking of ways to better our service and our operational processes and procedures for the customer. We commit to our clients the most responsive service in the industry.
- VISANOW is changing its technology platform constantly. Our clients give us feedback that we act on. We want to make the most simple and seamless technology the immigration market has to offer. Most important, we want to develop a true partnership that is built on trust with our clients. This is formed through the transparency of our work through our web application.
On that note, it’s time to get back to work¦with my Americano in hand. Here’s to coffee breaks and breaking tradition.