Recently I attended a presentation where a client in the legal space gave his critique on how the services he purchased were priced. He had obviously thought this issue through and outlined a litany of complaints with how the services are priced and billed.
The list included:
  • Confusing bills – With so many rates and prices he couldn’t figure out what he was buying.
  • Too many bills – He received 16 different bills in one month from one firm.
  • No value connection – He was never really sure what value he received compared to the price he paid.
  • Annual increases – His providers automatically raise their prices each year without real value conversations.
The list went on, but you get the picture. This is one client who is not happy and wants his providers to step up, address these problems and change the way they price and deliver their admittedly valuable services.
Was this a client of legal services? No. He was a BigLaw partner talking about his online research services providers.
As I sat there listening, I became increasingly uncomfortable. Not for the vendors he was targeting (they were in the room), but for him as a lawyer whose firm is likely doing pretty much the same to its clients.
Oh the irony.
Two Lessons:
  1. Glass house? Put the rocks down.
  2. Providers and customers are equally culpable. Blaming the providers is neither constructive nor honest. The pricing confusion in both of these markets (legal services and online research) is the result of past needs of both customers and providers. The solution to the problem is not swinging the blame stick, but instead will come from sitting down together and building a new approach.
Hopefully collaboration will prevail over rock throwing in both markets.