5 offices?! Why?!
Unique in the cj family of clients, Carter Mario has 5 offices in the same DMA: Milford, Hartford, Waterbury, Bridgeport, & New Britain.
Q: What’s the advantage of adding a 2nd (or a 5th or future 6th) office in the same DMA?
A: Opening additional offices in the same market has greatly assisted us in both the development and the infiltration of our brand. When Connecticut residents are injured in an auto or other type of accident because of somebody else’s negligence, they know to and call our 1-800 number. One of the reasons they know who and where to call is because we have effectively developed our brand in this marketplace.
Q: Tell us about the importance of consistency of customer experience and customer service in your offices:
A: It is important to us that clients have a consistent customer experience with our firm. We want them to know what they will get, not only with regard to technical and operational legal services, but also with regard to their overall physical, atmospheric, and functional experiences. Our customers should be “wowed” after a visit to any of our individual offices. They should know where the front desk will be, that there will be a calm and warm ambiance, that the lighting and color schemes will look uniform, that they will be greeted by name, treated to their favorite beverage upon entering, and that those with whom they come into contact will generally make them feel a part of our family.
“We make it easier … by providing our services through convenient office locations.”
Q: Is anything purposely different?
A: Differences are generally in the look and feel of the buildings. We want each physical structure to fit into its surroundings and take on the look and feel of the local area.
Q: What is the #1 Challenge of growing to 5 offices?
A: Consistency. We strive to present a consistent overall experience for all of our customers, employees, and visitors. With 5 offices, we are dealing with multiple geographic locations, different pools of potential employees, and makeup of the population. So it takes a lot of effort to be consistent, starting with the right building, the right people, a consistent training program, consistent operational performance, and consistent technical expertise, all in an attempt to achieve a consistent customer experience.
Q: With employees spread up to 60-90 minutes apart, how do you win the communication battle day in and day out?
A: For communication, we stress the importance of utilizing technology and having a consistent routine among all offices.
We maximize technology. For example, we recently upgraded our memory servers, we are investing in a state-of-the-art phone system, we have built and rely on operational dashboards, we stress reliance on Needles/Outlook, and we strive to have a fully paperless office environment. We give our staff the tools to achieve these goals, i.e., dual monitors, extensive training, strategically located scanners, etc.
All offices begin the day with a huddle at 8:30 a.m. Each office follows the same format. We use video conferencing equipment for huddles and attorney/staff meetings to ensure consistent messaging and communication.
Q: When considering a new office location, do you target a place where you have a lot of business or a place where you want a lot of business?
A: Both! For our existing customer base, we make it easier for them by providing our services through convenient office locations. We have successfully gone into markets where we already know we have a strong brand and significantly increased our market share by being closer to the potential customer base.
Q: So you’re rolling out a centralized intake center in one location? Can you tell us about it?
A: The centralized intake center has gotten off to a great start.
By having one place to focus on all activity, we have more visibility and accountability with our important intake duties and statistics. We have experienced a better analysis of opportunities, we have been more able to accurately track the chase and conversion of our cases, and we have increased the conversion rate of our cases to as high as 96 percent to date this year. We decided to staff the intake center with a mix of experienced and new staff, and I think this has helped us get off the ground quickly and successfully. As the intake center continues to evolve, we expect that it will take on an even greater role with regard to outsourced cases, referral reporting, and website monitoring.