Lucky for me I love to eat out because my schedule often doesn’t leave me the choice of eating at home. Did I say I like to eat out? Let me say I just like to eat. I’m a total foodie, and as Tom says, “I can’t believe we’re eating lunch and you’re already talking about what’s for dinner!” My foodie ways have taken me to restaurants all over the world and in those adventures we’ve encountered both awesome and not so awesome servers.
Here are 8 dos and don’ts for Certified Legal Nurse Consultants I learned from not-so-awesome (and a couple of awesome) restaurant servers:
- Don’t act dismayed if the order isn’t big enough. Did I mention Tom and I eat out a lot? How can we possibly stay slim eating out as frequently as we do? That’s right – portion control. After three years of marriage Tom finally confessed that he was terrified I would blow up (size-wise) but I haven’t. Portion control is the key. Some servers treat our modest order graciously while more than one server has informed us that two salads and a shared entrée (or three appetizers) will leave us hungry. We just smile and say “Thanks for caring – we’ll be fine.”
The new attorney-client who starts you off with small jobs is testing you. Most attorneys want to see what you’re made of before tossing you the big case. Show appreciation for the smallest job and that attorney will know who to call for the big one.
- Do give a little lagniappe. Giving a little extra (lagniappe) is a New Orleans tradition. I’m a sucker for something extra in a restaurant. We’ve had servers give us lagniappe as small as an amuse-bouche (which is French for “mouth amuser” and is nothing more than the teeniest “bite” of an appetizer), top off a half-empty glass of wine, bring extra appetizers and offer free dessert. Small gestures, but I’m hooked anytime a server brings me something extra.
Give your attorney-client a free sample of a CLNC service you haven’t done – a list of deposition questions or a list of policies and procedures to request through Requests for Production. Not only will the attorney appreciate the lagniappe, she’ll probably request this new service on the next case.
- Do offer an upgrade. Specials are often pricier than the average entrée, yet many a server has failed to mention the restaurant’s special that night. I’m a sucker for specials and the perfect candidate for the upgrade, but I can’t buy what I don’t know about.
The same principle applies to attorneys. How will the attorney know what you can do if you don’t share the myriad services you offer? Always offer an upgrade. The worst that can happen is the attorney says no.
- Don’t cop an attitude when things don’t go your way. When we’re in New York City we eat dinner before we go to the theatre. We often skip a glass of wine due to the soporific effect on my attention span. If you’ve ever tried sitting through any Arthur Miller play after a great glass of Bordeaux you understand. Some servers happily pour the iced tea while others cop an attitude of “Why aren’t you ordering something a whole lot more expensive than iced tea and padding my tip?”
With attorneys you don’t always get what you want. Don’t even think about copping an 8-year-old attitude in front of that attorney (or the attorney’s staff) or you’ll quickly find yourself in permanent “time out.” With attorneys, “time out” translates to no more cases and no more attorney-client.
- Do remember that the attorney-client isn’t always right – but she’s still the client. The server usually knows the menu better than I do, but no matter how good the deep dish anchovy pizza is, I’m not trying it (Sorry, Tom). Will I sometimes miss out on the best dish on the menu and will the attorney-client sometimes indeed be wrong? Yes to both questions. It still pays to be respectful of the choices clients make and positions they take. They’re not foie gras geese and if you try and force feed them a position they’ve rejected you may win the battle but ultimately lose the war (and client).
- Do treat every client as though no other client exists. I’m not a fan of servers who hover over me (unless it’s a server I know at a restaurant I frequent), but I don’t want to be forgotten either. Does the server who forgot me understand the difference between a 15% or 20% tip (or no tip at all)? Or is he hedging his bet on another party? Throw yourself into every legal nurse consultant job as though it’s the only one you’re working on at the time. Focus. Focus. Focus.
- Don’t screw up the invoice. We’ve received restaurant bills that are unrecognizable – whether it belongs to another table or is inaccurate because the server accidentally added on that second glass of healthy red wine I so politely declined. Even a minor infraction in invoicing can chap a client. I don’t want you to be paranoid, but always ensure your attorney-client’s invoice is accurate and simple to understand. You don’t want to create suspicion or distrust. Be transparent.
- Do ask for referrals. Tom and I were talking with the chef at a favorite restaurant. Recognizing that I’m a total foodie, he sent us to a chef friend’s restaurant. The referral paid off with extra courses and royal treatment from the second chef who still goes out of his way to take extra care of us whenever we’re in his restaurant. I always have to stop myself from asking him “Who do you know who…” But I do encourage all Certified Legal Nurse Consultants to always ask this question. You might not get free food but you may get another attorney-client.
If you want to provide first class service to your attorney-clients follow these 8 dos and don’ts.
Success Is Yours,
P.S. Comment here and share your dos and don’ts with attorney-clients.