Top Complaints of 2009

01/04/2010 12:23

I heard about a survey where people remarked about their greatest complaints of last year.  Among the chart toppers were the usual suspects: automated telephone banks, cell phone use while driving, traffic, and hidden fees.  Those are definitely some of the most annoying items that I encounter as well.

In the litigation support industry, it is pretty easy to make a top 5 list of things that annoy clients.  In fact, these are the reasons that we have begun and maintained relationships with many of our best clients.  Here is the list of top 5 complaints against litigation support providers:

  1. Not Responsive: To me, that's the biggest sin of all.  If a client can't reach you or you don't respond immediately to a client communication, why are you in this line of work?  In litigation, you must be available and ready to deal with changing conditions and do it quickly, professionally, and with great urgency.
  2. Overpromising: This has become even more of a problem lately as the economy worsened.  Many providers are not hitting the same numbers and therefore have either reduced their capacity to a fraction of what it used to be, or will take jobs that are beyond their expertise level.  This may be the greatest disservice to a client as they are relying on a provider's promise that they can handle the task, when they really cannot.  That can set everything behind, and when dealing with litigation matters, can damage a case.
  3. Hidden Costs/Fees: We've often had to compete against proposals that only stated part of the costs or fees associated with a data or document project.  At Doc1, we provide every charge as a line item and guarantee our estimates to our clients.  For clients, it is not always easy to justify the cost of a project, and it gets multiple times more difficult to have to go back to a client to get more money than was originally requested.  Its a bad situation.
  4. Confusing Pricing/Billing: We've heard from many of our clients that they love our simple and organized billing and that they were used to having to ask over and over about certain charges on their bills.  We pride ourselves on being easy to do business with, that permeates our Account Managers demeanor and process as well as treating billing and pricing matters.  An estimate or proposal should be clear and be accurate.
  5. Poor Listening: This one was a combination of complaints, from not getting instructions correct, to delivering a job over and over with the same error, to just downright poor communication and inability to find an understanding.  Our clients have often expressed to us how pleased they are with our ability to ask the questions, follow the instructions, and get it right the first time.  It seems simple, but its huge.  Each of our Account Managers have many years experience in handling all aspects of litigation support and have probabaly seen every scenario at least once.  If there is something novel, our team collaborates to make sure we understand the requirements and get it executed perfectly.

So, in one sense, I'm glad that our clients have experienced these problems in the past because it makes us look good and drives these new clients to us.  On the other hand, these are common sense business applications of the Golden Rule, and I can't comprehend how litigation support providers are allowing these situations to occur.  Hey, no provider is perfect, but being responsive, honest and effective is just good business. 

I'm always interested to hear your take or your experiences, so feel free to send over an email.