There are many examples where businesses have changed or modified their product or service and suddenly hugely increased the success of their business.
I recently used a different brand of toothpaste. I had to unscrew the plastic lid. I have been using a flip up lid for as long as I can remember and suddenly having to turn a screw top lid seemed to take ages in comparison to flipping up a lid. I did not even notice when this changed, but I noticed it seemed a lot harder to go back to the old way.
Did you ask Sky TV to allow you to pause live TV and series link the recording of your favourite programmes? I didn’t, but now that I have this I cannot imagine going back to the old way. I am now locked into Sky for the foreseeable future.
My favourite example relates to Tomato Ketchup. Heinz is the leading seller of Tomato Ketchup. It is difficult for them to take market share from their competitors because they are already the most successful brand. However, one of the reasons for their ongoing success, and a major increase in the sales of their ketchup, came about by providing their customers with something that they had not even asked for.
This comes from another excellent book from Malcolm Gladwell called ‘What The Dog Saw’.
(I strongly recommend you buy the book if you want to be provoked or challenged to think differently about your business).
One of the leaders of Heinz decided to watch customers using their products to learn how they could improve their current offering. He sat with a young family at dinner time and saw the glass bottle of ketchup (they only had glass at that time) put onto the table. The children reached for the ketchup but before they could start shaking the bottle (remember how hard that used to be?) the mother whipped the bottle away from them and said she would dispense the ketchup (no doubt to save the glass bottle smashing their plates). Instantly the man from Heinz knew that he had to get the bottles into the hands of the children so that they could control the amount of ketchup they consumed.
Plastic bottles were created and Heinz profits increased overnight as the children used more ketchup now that it did not have to be dispensed by mum or dad! This is so simple, yet before I read this story I believed that the change in bottle was just to make it cheaper than glass. The real reason was to sell more ketchup. Customers had not requested the change, but when they were given it they loved it.
If you have not read it, you really should buy ‘What The Dog Saw’.
When it comes to marketing a solicitors practice, what can you learn from these examples? What can you do to change your service to make the whole experience for your clients so much better that they cannot imagine going anywhere else for legal assistance?
How much time do you spend watching your clients consume your services? How often do you sit in on client meetings and purely observe the experience from your client’s point of view? Your fee earners should know you are not monitoring their performance but looking for ways you can make your clients’ experience of your service that much better.
With de-regulation of legal services new competitors will enter the market and do things differently. You need to beat them to it. What is your eureka ‘plastic bottle’ moment?
Please let me know what you think by leaving a comment below.
Author: Nick Jervis