Don’t give them a freebie

The title of this blog is a something I tell new Magnus staff when trying to explain the need to do their job with as near perfection as is humanly possible. Don’t give the client anything to complain about – that’s the goal. Not that there won’t be any complaints, but make them about things you can’t control, not things you could have, and should have, controlled. A freebie would be not spell checking a document and having a typo. So, don’t give freebies – reasons to find fault. As readers of our posts know, our clients are attorneys. Attorneys are paid to find fault. They look for mistakes and negligent acts. While acknowledging we are all fallible, being careless and not striving for perfection results in freebies. It is easy to be tired, or to be functioning on “auto pilot.” That is when mistakes happen, or are allowed to happen. It is important to take a step back, and, for example, work on something else for a while before re-re-re-proofing a report. It is tedious doing the math when proofing survey charts, even if using a calculator to ensure everything adds up to 100% – that is, ensuring there are no rounding errors. But, if it doesn’t add up, and a client happens to notice, expect that client to question whether the rest of the charts are accurate. It takes time, and sometimes even putting the proofing on hold overnight. But, rushing and being sloppy leads to errors – and freebies are the worst kind because they could be avoided. The client may ultimately find a typo, error, or other reason to complain, but don’t let it be something that could have easily been avoided. That’s a message for our staff, and I think should be a mantra for everyone working for anyone.

Decades ago, Magnus had an employee who believed she could learn only as a result of making mistakes. She assured David and me, upon making mistake after mistake, that she never made the same mistake twice; rather, she made new mistakes that she truly believed were acceptable. Needless to say, we were quite relieved when she resigned after making a series of serious mistakes, but only after she accused David and me of being “difficult bosses.” If wanting to do the best possible job on behalf of our clients is being “difficult,” then I am guilty, as charged. I cannot fathom adopting the attitude of this former employee, nor can I imagine going through life in such a casual manner. The mindset of doing the least amount of work, then hoping someone else will pick up the slack, has never been part of Magnus’ corporate culture. On the occasions when a Magnus employee has made a mistake, such as charting survey results that contain a mathematical impossibility, I, of course, am ultimately responsible for this mistake. Being responsible for everyone else’s mistakes is a role I accept, however, I also accept full responsibility for doing everything I can to prevent errors from being made in the first place. If this causes resentment by those who work for Magnus, then perhaps these employees are better suited for another type of job. I agree, 100%, with David about not giving our clients anything to complain about and instead, giving them an excellent product that promotes positive attitudes and feelings so that, the next time they need a trial consultant, they will contact Magnus.

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