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Delivering Great Client Experiences with Stephen Norris
Episode 1322nd June 2022 • The Judd Shaw Way • Judd Shaw Injury Law
00:00:00 00:36:51

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No matter where they are in the country, clients have one expectation that defines their experience with your law firm. They want to know that you'll do what you say you'll do. How you do that can be the difference between a wow experience or an underwhelming, never-going-back-there again experience.  

It starts with the small things you promise to do. Are you calling at the time you said you would? By following up on the small things we say, we can show people that we mean what we say and that they can trust us to deliver on our promise to them.

Delivering on your promise to clients requires tracking and assessment. What are your non-negotiables? How are you handling feedback, and do you have a client satisfaction score? The point is that you can think you're delivering an outstanding client experience, but it only matters if your clients think so too. That is why it is critical to have and track wow moments or opportunities to meet or exceed client expectations.

However, you can only meet and exceed the client expectations you recognize and set. You want to acknowledge clients' monetary and intangible expectations because it's not only the claim you secure for a client that matters at the end of a case. It is also about how you treat them during the entire process. 

Yes, we want to get clients the highest result we can, but we also have to give them a great experience along the way. It's possible because those two things are not mutually exclusive. And if you fall short at any point and deliver bad service, it is imperative to know how to turn it around. Ready to find out more?  

Listen to this episode of The Judd Shaw Way Podcast with Judd Shaw featuring Stephen Norris, Attorney, and President at Norris Injury Lawyers. They discuss the ins and outs of customer service experience and delivering wow services to personal injury clients.

In this episode: 

  • [00:37] Judd Shaw introduces his guest Stephen Norris, and the topic of the day: delivering wow 
  • [02:00] Customer service approaches may differ geographically, but expectations are the same. What do clients expect? 
  • [03:44] The small things: what they are and why they matter 
  • [05:04] Measuring the success of delivering wow or meeting the promise
  • [08:00] The client satisfaction score approach 
  • [10:19] How to increase the level of client satisfaction using wow moments
  • [13:20] Exceeding expectations
  • [16:21] Showing that you care and never having clients guess the status of their case
  • [20:37] Monetary results are not all that matters 
  • [23:20] How to turn around bad service
  • [26:04] The act of trying to make it better 
  • [28:27] Recognizing and dealing with expectations

🎙️ Featured Guest 🎙️

Name: Stephen Norris

Short Bio: Stephen is President of Norris Injury Lawyers, a personal injury law firm servicing Alabama. Born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, Stephen attended the University of Alabama, Roll Tide, for an unforgettable experience before receiving his law degree from the University of Alabama School of Law. He's fluent in both German and Finnish. Stephen spends a great deal of his time focusing on how his clients are serviced through the life of their case and maintaining that relationship after the case is closed.

Company: Norris Injury Lawyers

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Transcripts

Voiceover:

They don't care about your 900 years of combined experience or your wall of books, they only want to know one thing. Once they've signed on the dotted line, are you going to take care of them? Welcome to the Judd Shaw Way where we believe providing an exceptional client experience is just as important as quality legal representation. From secret tips for creating unforgettable wow moments to proven customer service pointers, the Judd Shaw Way is everything you need to go from being a good lawyer to owning a great brand.

Judd Shaw:

Hello and welcome to the Judd Shaw Way, the show that provides tips for are creating unforgettable client service. I'm your host Judd Shaw. In today's episode, we'll talk about delivering wow with Steven Norris. We'll discuss the ins and outs of a customer service experience. Steven is president of Norris Injury Lawyers, a personal injury law firm servicing Alabama, or I hope I got this right, Alabamians. Born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, Stephen attended the University of Alabama, Roll Tide, for an unforgettable experience before receiving his law degree from the University of Alabama School of Law. He's also fluent in both German and Finnish, but we're going to try to use the correct English today. Stephen shares my passion for customer service and spent a great deal of his time focusing on how his clients are serviced through the life of their case and maintaining that relationship after the case is closed.

Judd Shaw:

Steven, welcome to the show.

Stephen Norris:

Hey Judd. Thanks for having me.

Judd Shaw:

So Alabamians. Did I get that right?

Stephen Norris:

Yeah, I think that's right. I'm born and raised there, so I think this we'll go with.

Judd Shaw:

From the good state of Alabama and I'm here in New Jersey. You have a law firm there. I have a law firm. Is the client service approach any different geographically, for instance, that it would be in south than it would be in the north?

Stephen Norris:

The approach might be a little different, but the importance of it, and really, what you're trying to get to is going to be the same. You have somebody who, if they've interacted with your business, they've given you a chance to either confirm or to fix a misconception they have about you. If they think something negative, you have a chance to show them that they're wrong. If they think something positive, you have a chance to confirm that. How you go about it, may be a little different, you have people socially handle things differently, a little different in the north than they maybe in the south. But ultimately, what you're trying to do is instill confidence that you are going to do what you say you're going to do, and that you care about them.

Judd Shaw:

I've had the great pleasure being at your law firm. I've traveled to many law firms around the country. And that's my experience as well is that the expectation remains the same, that you're going to do what you say you'll do, you'll deliver your promise. And how you do that may may differ for the style, the industry, even geographically, our clients come from all walks of life. And so even within New Jersey, our approach to our clients may differ from one client to another. But the purpose or what we're trying to accomplish is the same, which is delivering that real first class client experience. What are some of the ways you do that at your law firm?

Stephen Norris:

I think it starts by just doing the small things that you say you're going to do, even things as little as, hey, we'll call you at 2:00. Are you calling them at 2:00? Are you calling them at three or 4:00? I'm going to call you within 24 hours. Are you calling them within 24 hours or within a few days? My grandpa used to tell me that being on time to a place is one of the easiest ways to consistently show people that you're going to keep your word. And by following up on the small things we say we're going to do is a way that we can show people that we mean what we say and that they can trust what we're saying we're going to be able to do for them.

Judd Shaw:

How are some of the ways to be able to measure the success of delivering wow, meeting the promise? So at our firm, for instance, we have non-negotiables. One of those could be all calls are returned promptly or no later than 24 hours. And we can track that, we know when the phone call came in, we can see when the outbound call went out. We can know that there's a note that's made in our case management software that so and so spoke to this client and addressed any concern, or that there's a task or deadline created in order to follow up to help that client get whatever answer they're looking for. And our core values, one of our core values is be a knight in shining armor. How can you be a knight in shining armor and call somebody back four days later? So we can tie in our core values, but we also have ways of metrics of knowing whether that promise is delivered. How are some of those ways you do that at your firm?

Stephen Norris:

You're talking about some checklists and numbers and looking at specifics. I think that is good on the one side. I think before you even get that far, you're facing things like what are people saying about me to the community? What are the reviews saying? If people take the time to go on and write review for you, how you went out of your way to make their experience good, make their interaction with you good, that may not be a way to track it, but it's certainly an indicator. It's a way you can keep an eye on it.

Stephen Norris:

And reversely, if somebody is saying negative things about you, if somebody is taking the time to write a review and talk about how you have made their day a worse day, I think a lot of times the response people might want to have is to explain why I was doing a good job. This is why this person's being unreasonable. We did good, this is their fault because ... And when you're looking to have good customer service, you're looking to wow people. You're not looking for an out, you're really looking for people to have a good experience. And whether they have a right to feel that way or whether it's justifiable that the way you've treated them should make them feel that way isn't really the debate you're trying to have. You're trying to say, what can we do for them to make the experience good for them?

Stephen Norris:

A lot of times people call us from a hard situation. Somebody in their family's been hurt or died, they've gone through an injury and have been feeling pain from it for several weeks. They're not necessarily at their most comfortable patient state when they contact somebody. They may have been frustrated with an insurance company when they contact us. Can we recognize that? Can we give them room for that and show them that we understand that can be part of it? As far as tracking it, our reviews, we listen to them quite a bit. If somebody calls up and is complaining, I recently had a situation where I was told somebody had been not treating our staff very well saying some mean things to them and wanted us to, just said that since we couldn't take their case, it made it feel like we were saying they didn't matter, or that their family member didn't matter.

Stephen Norris:

I just said to the intake people, hey, it sounds like they're having a hard time, probably unrelated to us, even though they're pointing it at us. Why don't we send them something and tell them that we hope that the day gets better things, hope things go well. I don't know that we have specific metrics though like that on those types of events. On callbacks and making sure that we track whether there's been a delay in response, and we have the list of people that we've told we'll get in touch with and so we're able to follow those lists, follow those dashboards. Are we calling these people? Are we doing what we say we're going to do?

Judd Shaw:

I love the example that you gave about trying to apply empathy or emotional intelligence to the situation. Part of that about client experience is understanding in the minds of the clients, what's their opinion. And just like you noted, you read Google reviews. In our firm, we do surveys. We try to do a survey every 90 days of our clients. And we do that so that when we get to the point where we're asking them for a review, we've done the best job of setting that up for a successful review. And so at 90 days, we're calling the client and we're just asking them very basic questions, which we can score, called our client satisfaction score, we use a CSS, and we track that. And we can even look at our own team members, at who has the highest client satisfaction score.

Judd Shaw:

So when we survey our clients, we can say, have you spoken to a lawyer? Are your calls returned promptly? Would you refer us to a friend or family member? Are you happy with the service being provided so far? Are there any general comments? And those questions can be, for instance, a one to five measure. And so the score would be 20 is a perfect score. And we can have a low grade survey or a satisfactory score. We fail 18 or 19, not every client's going to say you did a perfect job or even give a perfect score. They think 19 or 18 is perfect. And to us, if we get a 19, I think the client is pretty satisfied, we're doing a pretty good job. But if we get a 16, we have to say, well, what was the area that we scored low in and how can we improve it? How can we do better? So we track those client satisfaction scores, and then we can look at our case managers or our team members and say, who's got the highest client satisfaction score? Why does this person have such a high client satisfaction score? What are they doing well? Maybe we should listen to some of their calls.

Judd Shaw:

What about the vice versa? What about the person who's trailing on that score at the lower score? Is everybody around the nineteens or 20? Or is this person averaging out at 16 or 17? And we really have to look at doing a better job of maybe training them on that client service approach. So I think the surveys are really good job, you don't know what you don't know. And so getting that information from your own clients, that feedback is really critical because you can think that you're delivering a great client experience, but it only matters as to what your client believes in terms of whether you are or you're not.

Stephen Norris:

Yeah, absolutely.

Judd Shaw:

What are some ways, we call them wow-ments, or wow moments, that we built into our process to try to increase the level that we are going to exceed or impress the client, under-promising and over-delivering. And so we do that by upon when we sign up, when we send them a welcome package and it's got certain letters in there and we're trying to make our client really feel listened to and appreciated, and we're honored to be fighting on their behalf. And there's different things like automated case videos that we can do. Updates, every 30 days, our client case managers or our client success representatives are talking to our clients so that they're hearing from them every 30 days. And then we settle the case and we send them a thank you sometimes with their check. So we try to build these in, these moments that are really just about client experience. What are some of the ones you're doing at Norris Injury?

Stephen Norris:

Yeah. Like you said, the first place you want to start is the reason that they've hired you. You want to wow them with that first. It's important that you wow them there. You can't really make up for doing a bad job for them as a lawyer by sending them a package of something. And so the first thing you need to make sure that you're doing is that you're meeting their expectations, that you're on the same page about what the expectations are and that they feel comfortable there, they feel confident and safe that you are doing the best with their case as can be done. I think you're more talking about, let's take that as a given Which even though it's really not a given in the industry that you have lawyers sitting at a desk, really caring about their clients on the other side.

Stephen Norris:

My dad has told me, hey, if you do the right thing, the thing you should be doing, a lot of the times it'll be looked at as innovative because so often people don't get what they're expecting or so often they're treated in a way that is disappointing and falls short to the point that maybe we start at a place of expecting things not to go well, that we expect someone, a vendor or a business we're interacting with, our expectations of them might be lower. And so if we'll first just deliver the professional promise that we give them, that's a good place to start. And I think you're more talking about, even on top of that, which is fun stuff.

Stephen Norris:

You listen to the people, you do something more than you have to in your professional capacity. You do something that, they've shared something with you and when you hear that, you want to capture that information and you use it as an opportunity to wow them. An example would be somebody saying, I'm from Alabama. Somebody said, hey, I like this racer, this NASCAR driver. He was always my favorite. We used to go watch him. And if they tell you stories about part of their growing up or things that they enjoy doing, maybe you go find an autographed hat on eBay where that person signed a hat one time and you buy it and you send it to the person. You say, thank you for trusting us with your case. We hope you enjoy this. Enjoyed our talk about NASCAR and your life and your upbringing. That type of a thing, they share an interest with you, you track something down that you think they would enjoy and you just send it to them.

Judd Shaw:

How important is that active listening component to it? The client now, they heard me. They noted what I said. They did something about what I said. It's just the fact that it's like, wow, they remembered.

Stephen Norris:

Yeah. I would turn it back to you and say, do you think that what they're experiencing is the wow, hey, I got this, call it a hundred dollars. I got this a hundred dollar hat. Is that the wow that they have a hundred dollar hat that they didn't have before, or is it what you're suggesting? They heard me. And then after the phone call, took time to consider me and do something about it. I think oftentimes the things we're wowing with are things that people could have gotten for themself or done for themself. It's not the financial value of it, as much as it is being seen and feeling appreciated. And this evidences to me that they care about me. I don't know why they would do this if they don't.

Judd Shaw:

Right. I say that working the wow or delivering wow, is essentially exceeding an expectation. And I find that coming in, in personal injury, oftentimes the community has its stereotype of a personal injury lawyer, ambulance chaser. They don't care. They're doing it for the money. And so we try to, first of all, butt up against that reputation, disproving that from the start. That we are caring and that we recognize that we have a very important role in both in society and a responsibility to our clients that is really life changing. We don't take that lightly, but I love how you pin that, which is, it's not the action that's the wow, but it's what you do psychologically. It's the, they hear me. I'm important. They thought of me. They took time. They're caring.

Judd Shaw:

It's the expectation that I never thought that telling my lawyer about this NASCAR moment that I'd ever receive a hat signed from the NASCAR driver that I love. Again, it has nothing to do with the hat. It's the moment that he never expected, the fact that you have taken the time to do that. And that's what makes it so special.

Stephen Norris:

Yeah. When my dad, he started our firm probably 40 years ago. And when we were looking for ways to improve the client experience and be what we wanted to be as a law firm, he reached out to a lot of state bars and just said, hey, what are the most common complaints that you receive about lawyers? The most common ones were that I can't get in touch with them. They talked down to me and they don't tell me what's going on. They do things without explaining to me what's happening. I feel like I'm not being heard. In response to that, he just said, okay, well of those are things that we're going to focus on doing well. You're going to be able to get in touch with us. We'll talk to you at a level that you can understand and that makes sense to you. And we won't do things without you feeling like your input matters. And I think to go to the state bar and find the complaints, I think that's probably consistent, a lot of different places is that's the frustrations that people have with lawyers is that they just don't really feel like they actually care about them.

Judd Shaw:

Yeah. I love what your dad did there, which was trying to determine what is the pain points in his industry and sort of like full-on addressing them. It's the elephant in the room. I'm not going to hide from it and just hope to do a better job than somebody else may have failed. I'm going to come right out and address that. And we do that on our intake side too. Oftentimes when we're selling our service, a potential injury victim is contacted our law firm either for themselves or maybe for friend or family. And they're essentially interviewing us. We want the client or this person to understand that, number one, we want them as client, but we know that one of those pain points is, I can't ever get in touch with my lawyer. You can never leave a message with the paralegal. They don't call you back.

Judd Shaw:

And so what we do is we, part of our discussion with them is talking about how our case managers will talk to you every 30 days. You can mark on your calendar and be sure that on that day you're going to be getting a call from our office because our system tells our team to do that so we don't forget because we don't want you to ever have to say, I wonder what the status of my case is. If you've done that, we didn't do our job. We don't want you to ever have to guess what the status of your case is because you know that every 30 days you're getting a call from our office. How are you feeling? How are you doing? Have you been still seeing this doctor? Have you gone to any new doctors? Have you gone back to work? What's going on in your life?

Judd Shaw:

Talk to me. Are there any questions? Do you need any help? And by doing that, we know that pain point then, we can address that. One, we're telling them, you can expect that won't be a problem from us. But the second part to it is, our whole team needs to know that you better keep to your word on that too, because you've told the person that.

Stephen Norris:

Yeah, I was talking to somebody and they ask for a review upfront as they're starting a service, a Google review and they say, hey, give us a Google review. And somebody may respond, well, why would I do that? What have you done for me yet? And they said, give us a review based on how we've treated you so far and keep it up to date with how we treat you as it goes along. That would be something only somebody with a lot of confidence in what the client's experience is going to be would do. To say, hey, the whole time I want you to keep us in check with whether we're giving you the experience that we've promised you from the beginning.

Judd Shaw:

Yeah. I think when the team knows that that's front and center with the client, it's delivered more consistently.

Stephen Norris:

Yeah.

Judd Shaw:

Because it becomes almost part of their process. we have our team members who are picking up that phone. They know that survey could be coming at any time. That client is going to be reached out by independent person of our law firm every 90 days. So when they're calling that client and it's been two months since our last survey, they also know that when they're talking to the client, their service is going to be that call, that approach that's going to be rated. It's going to be looked at, it's going to be reviewed. And I think that it's important though, that if you have it part of your processes that you keep it front and center, because if it gets lost there and suddenly there's a survey and we forgot, we've told the client, we are going to do X, that's going to come out. The client's going to say, yeah, but you told me that somebody would always call every 30 days. I've only heard from somebody once

Stephen Norris:

You call this the Judd Shaw Way, right?

Judd Shaw:

Yes.

Stephen Norris:

And you have a business.

Judd Shaw:

Yeah.

Stephen Norris:

Judd Shaw Injury Law. And so it doesn't just mean you, your way. It means our way, that you have a business that you have been able to spread the way that you would do the way that you understand, and as we're talking about here, that doesn't just mean somebody has to turn to you and say, Hey, how do we do the Judd Shaw Way, they know, and they are doing it the way that you would do it because you've been able to take that philosophy, that understanding, that feeling and spread it around to where they're a part of it. They've seen the benefits of it. They get it, they understand it. They feel it. So it doesn't just apply to you, but to Judd Shaw Injury lawyers, from injury law, you'll feel that from them. You'll get that from them.

Judd Shaw:

Yeah. And I think that's contagious. In the end, you get clients who had experienced great service with your law firm and becomes some of your biggest cheerleaders, raving about your service, going out there and saying they're going to do what they say they do. I always said, Stephen, that I found that if a client, and I wanted your thoughts on it. I can have a client in the beginning say I want $10. And at the end, a law firm can not return their calls promptly, touch base with them once or twice in the life of their case, sends them letters instead of a call. And in the end you go, Hey, Ricky, I got great news for you. I got $10. Ricky may never come back as a client again. Ricky's not going to refer somebody. And then, same one. Sandy says, I want $10. But at the end, you can only get her eight. You got her $8. That's the best that, push comes to shove. She goes to trial, but $8 is to settle the case and you settle $8. You say, I'm sorry that I didn't get you 10. And she goes out and she's like, everybody, you got to use this firm. They're great. They're great. They're great.

Stephen Norris:

If you've done it right.

Judd Shaw:

We did it right. We gave her a good experience. And so what I found in personal injury was that, although everybody continues to talk about maximum results, we're going to get you the most money. In the end, what also matters is that experience that the client has, that it was a positive experience, that you made their life a easier, that you provided the handholding, that you allowed them to focus on getting better, returning to their health while you do all the paperwork.

Stephen Norris:

Yeah. And my experience has been that, you gave an example, if they say they want 10 and you get them 10. My experience has been, if they say they want 10 and you get them 50, but you have done it the wrong way, they're still equally as turned off. If you think that it's just about meeting their financial expectations or what they think is fair, I've been guilty of being, thinking, man, I hung the moon for them, they're getting what they deserve and they're going to be so thrilled with it. But if I hadn't handled it the way I should, if I hadn't been in touch with them, I hadn't been doing the things that we know we should, then it doesn't matter that it's a different amount or a better amount than they thought. Because it's like you said, it's the feeling, and it doesn't matter if it's more than they expected, it's about how they're treated.

Stephen Norris:

And obviously what we want is to get them the highest result we can get them, the best, everything they deserve while also giving them this experience along the way. And it's possible, they're not mutually exclusive.

Judd Shaw:

How do you turn around bad service?

Stephen Norris:

I think every time you have bad service, it's an opportunity to improve. No ego. I think when you have a sincere heart, it really is that. If somebody shares with me that they've had a hard time, if I'm fragile, then I'm going to want to defend myself and I'm going to want to explain how I'm better than what they're describing. If I'm good with who I am as a person and know that I'm trying my best to be all that I can be and want to give others the most I can to them, it's easy for me to hear that. And if there's any amount of truth to what they're saying, then I can hear that. And I can turn around and say, hey, I can look at that and show you that I want to be better. I don't mind if somebody is being a little unfair to me in their accusation, if there's some truth to it. And I think when we can acknowledge that and grow from it, oftentimes people will recognize the amount of untruth that they've had in their accusation as well.

Judd Shaw:

That's such a good point of just being honest. You know whether you fell short or not. You know whether you could have done a little better job and if you did, then I think that acknowledgement is important, saying, listen, we fell short here. We said, we're going to call you. We didn't call you. I don't know what dropped, we're going to look into it, but we own that mistake. We failed you when we told you we're going to do something, we didn't, even if it was just saying, we're going to call you back. We got to do better. And thank you for bringing it to our attention. And we have to do better. If we say we're going to call you back, we tell you we're going to call you back, we got to call you back and you own it.

Judd Shaw:

And I think you're right, if you approach it in a way where you own your mistake and you're accountable for your mistake, but you also make good on that mistake so the client sees that you, yeah, you acknowledge it, but there is a change. Generally speaking, it almost adds positive points to it.

Stephen Norris:

Absolutely.

Judd Shaw:

We see that following survey, the survey almost rates higher. So they may have rated January, 18. February gave us an 18. In March, we dipped down to a 14 because we did something that irritated the client. Generally speaking, when you watch that chart, that dip is episodic. It was something that irritated the client, the call, what's going on in the client's life maybe, the client's medical treatment, the value that they heard that the insurance company offered on their case, something was more episodic about it. And then if you really address that head on and particular, if it was our fault and you own it and you make good on it, you see that next month's review, it's like 19 or 20. It went above what our best average CSS score was with that client.

Stephen Norris:

Nine times out of 10, the act of trying to make it better will wow somebody. We've had somebody that, for whatever reason, is upset with us, whether it's justified or not. If you go through, if you take the time to reach out and sincerely say, hey, I'm sorry that you feel this way. We're willing to do this, what can we do to respond to what you're saying? We don't want you to feel this way. More than the content of the conversation is the fact that the conversation is happening.

Judd Shaw:

Right.

Stephen Norris:

Just the act of reaching out to try to hear them, resolve it with them sometimes exceeds the importance of the content of the discussion.

Judd Shaw:

The danger about the surveys though, is what you're sort of like going into, which is don't take somebody's survey if you don't care about what they're saying, because that also adds to the level of irritation or frustration with that person. If we have a client and you do a survey and they say, well, a three on that. Five, five and a three on that. Okay. Well, why three? Well, you don't do the whatever. But you don't do anything about it, nothing's ever changed. You can also worsen. That next survey score, you go, well, how did we also lean, that dip to a 14? Why didn't we get better? Because a client didn't feel like they were heard. You asked them, but you didn't do anything about it, so now they're more frustrated, not less.

Stephen Norris:

Yeah. It's about expectations. I read a book that was talking about the insurance industry and how people for a long time kind of had apathy about how they felt about their insurance company. It's a business. But once insurance companies started marketing with the relationship, we take care of you, we're good friends with you. We care about you. Then when they didn't feel treated right, they didn't see it as a business decision. They saw it as a betrayal of the relationship and the expectation that had been built with them. And they're saying that is as a result of the insurance company, wanting to build it on a relationship instead of building it as a business relationship. And so it's about expectation.

Judd Shaw:

Interesting.

Stephen Norris:

If all you're expecting is for somebody to take moderately good care of you and make a profit, but also be pretty fair, it's different than if they tell you they're going to be there for you when you're going through a hard time and then you feel like they're not.

Judd Shaw:

Do you have an expectation call or question or try to understand whether you're dealing with any pre-assumed or anticipate expectations from your clients?

Stephen Norris:

Do you mean customer service wise or, I mean, I think the main expectation we deal with is come for their case. What do we think's going to happen? I think that's the most important one that they have on their mind. Is what's my life going to look like what's the next six months, what's the next year going to look like, can you help me see that?

Judd Shaw:

Yeah, we have that. Yeah. That's what I'm talking about. Yeah, sure. Because again, just like your father did, we found that, where are these pain spots in the case? And one of them was just sometimes how darn long it takes. And COVID didn't help the situation when closing the courts. I tried to explain to my clients, the judges were home just like you were. And the longer the case sometimes, sometimes that's because our clients are still treating. Sometimes the case is, the value is so great that the carrier is not settling this case without depositions. They want to depose the client and they want to get some answers and it's going to have to go into litigation, whatever it means. But knowing that one of the things that always was an issue with our clients is how long does this take?

Judd Shaw:

We try to address that upfront. How long do you think this case is going to take? I don't know. I had a friend and my friend's case took 10 years. Well, okay. Well, I hope it doesn't take 10 years. It could, but I hope not. We want to move our cases. So, in that mind now I know that I'm dealing with a client who at least has a reasonable expectation. Probably almost going too far the other way. But I have that same client who goes, well, my buddy, Jimmy, his case settled in 90 days. So what do you think, maybe three or four months? Okay, well now I have to deal with that because if I didn't, after 90 days, this client's suddenly going, what's taking this law firm so long? I didn't, one, recognize that the client has the expectation. And two, I haven't addressed the expectation or dealt with it. And so now I'm starting to see that the client's not happy or getting frustrated. It's only to find out that they're like, well, what's taking so long. What do you mean? Well, I don't know. I thought the case would settle.

Stephen Norris:

Yeah. Brings up a good point. When you have somebody that has expectations that you don't talk about, then you may be on two different pages. But something that can happen, especially when people are wanting to make a good impression, wanting people to like them, they can fall into the trap of saying what they think is necessary at the time to satisfy somebody. And that may on the appearance of it, be a good customer service tactic. It's really not, because at some point that's going to come back to bite you. If you're willing to say something that's probably not true because it's what the people want to hear at the time, when it comes around, if you say, hey, oh yeah, we can turn this around. Yeah, probably 90 days, 120 days, because that's their expectation. And if they say something like, hey, if you can't get it undo in 120 days, then you're not a good lawyer or something.

Stephen Norris:

There are people that might want to satisfy or please somebody so badly that they'll over-promise something. And that call may go well at the time, but we know that's going to catch up to them. And so really, good customer service also includes being willing to share something that maybe somebody doesn't want to hear, but being able to share it with empathy and with a good explanation. And though that conversation may be harder than telling them everything's going to be just the way they want, it'll serve them. And it'll later come back, when they say, you told me this and it has happened just like you said it would, these good things, these things have fallen in place just like you explained in the way that you said they would. And you gain credibility.

Judd Shaw:

Stephen, tell us a little about Norris Injury Law.

Stephen Norris:

Yeah. So started about 40 years ago. My dad, Robert Norris, founding partner, it's a family practice. He brought my uncle on board probably few years into practice and the two of them were the partners for a long time and handling mainly personal injury, auto wrecks in Birmingham, Alabama, all through the state of Alabama. I have an older brother, Robbie and I, and the two of us went to law school, graduated from law school. Joined the bar about the same time. And we had a transition to where my brother and I now run the business. But all four of us, my Uncle David, my dad, my brother, and I run that as a family business. And we work out of one office right there in Birmingham, Alabama off interstate I-65.

Judd Shaw:

All personal injury?

Stephen Norris:

No, we do a lot of asbestos work for people who have gotten cancer through asbestos-related work. A lot of this exposure was a long time ago in plants and factories and people that were exposed asbestos materials. A lot of times they don't even know that's where their cancer's from or that they were exposed to it because it happened so long ago. So we talk to a lot of people, answer a lot of questions, educate a lot of people on their options and things with regards to cancer that they have. And so we do a lot of that but those are the two main practice areas we have.

Judd Shaw:

I think the tagline now I understand, get a Norris.

Stephen Norris:

Need a Norris or get Norris, either one of those.

Judd Shaw:

Need-

Stephen Norris:

Need a Norris.

Judd Shaw:

We go with either one, need a Norris-

Stephen Norris:

Getnorris.com is our website.

Judd Shaw:

Get a Norris.

Stephen Norris:

Yeah. getnorris.com.

Judd Shaw:

Okay. And phone number.

Stephen Norris:

-:

Judd Shaw:

So when you're not in the office, doesn't sound like you're any less busy between a couple hobbies of some cars and some dirt bikes and seven children. You and your wife were kind of busy at home. What does client service look like at home?

Stephen Norris:

Yeah. Honestly, I think it's about sincerely caring. And I don't know, that might be a part of why it matters a lot to me. Running a business, for me, is not just about trying to drive the biggest profit I can get. The same way I want to instill in my kids that I want them to care for people and care for themself and be healthy, emotionally healthy, physically healthy. I want that for them. And I think that shows in the way that I interact with them as a dad. And I think I have that same love and really do feeling for everybody around. And so I think it has to come from a sincere place. I've heard people joke before that once you can fake sincerity, then you've really got it made. But I don't think you can, I don't think you can fake sincerity. I think you really need to feel that way.

Judd Shaw:

I don't either. I think the authenticity of it really comes through and it also comes through in the client service. Because you can say you care, but really at the end, it's what you've done and shows that you care more than what you just said.

Stephen Norris:

I can't hear your words because your actions are so loud.

Judd Shaw:

o an Alabama game. [crosstalk:

Stephen Norris:

Yeah. It was a pleasure.

Judd Shaw:

Must be amazing. Right?

Stephen Norris:

It's amazing. You need to experience it.

Judd Shaw:

Alabama. What's the big game. The Alabama-

Stephen Norris:

Alabama Auburn's a pretty big game. The Iron Bowl.

Judd Shaw:

All right. All right. Hold my ticket. I'm coming.

Stephen Norris:

Sounds good.

Judd Shaw:

Stephen, thanks so much for being my guest today.

Stephen Norris:

All right. Appreciate it.

Judd Shaw:

Talk to you soon. Bye-bye.

Stephen Norris:

Bye.

Voiceover:

Are you ready to take the next step to creating an unforgettable brand? Subscribe to the Judd Shaw Way in your favorite podcast app and join the conversation on social media at Judd Shaw Injury Law. Have topic suggestions or questions, email us at podcast@juddshawinjurylaw.com, and be sure to include an address where we can send you some cool swag, attorney advertising materials. This podcast is designed for general information purposes only. Nothing on this podcast should be taken as legal advice for an individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court. Any results set forth herein are based upon the facts of that particular case and do not represent a promise or guarantee. Those with legal questions should seek the advice of an attorney.

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