© 2016 Dave G / R. Mena
The principles of Total Quality Management (TQM) can be applied to any organization, whether it be manufacturing, service or nonprofit. One law firm in Lagos, Nigeria called SBM Legal Consult has inculcated a culture of customer satisfaction as espoused by William Edwards Deming into its business. As a result, client outcomes have improved and the firm has developed systems for doing business that both improve service and help their bottom line.
One of the basic principles of TQM as it relates to customer satisfaction is that whether a business is successful depends upon the perception of the client. That is, work plans and long term goals are animated not by what management decides it wants to deliver to the marketplace, but rather what the customer demands. This requires implementing tools to provide constant customer feedback and then use the results to orient activity to meet the needs expressed in that feedback. SMB Legal Consult has developed a culture of listening to its clients and responding to their needs rather than simply stating an offering then marketing services.
Another important TQM principle is that management must constantly reevaluate core competencies and use them to expand offerings in a way that is responsive to what it knows about client needs, and to be creative in determining what those core competencies are. At SMB Legal Consult, the BID Committee was able to see how the firm took the ideas of customer satisfaction and creative definition of core competencies and applied them to the way they do business every day.
The primary areas of practice at SMB are Business Law, Business Litigation, Intellectual Property, Real Estate, Regulatory Compliance, Mergers & Acquisition, Finance, Private Equity and Venture Capital, Tax, Trusts and Estates. Lawyers at the firm also provide mediation services in those practice areas. All of these practice areas complement one another and the firm can draw upon a cadre of cross trained professionals who are able to provide seamless advice and advocacy on a variety of transactional topics.
Not only has the law firm managed to define its mission in such a way that its practice areas are mutually supportive, but it has also defined its role as advisor and counselor to its clients broadly enough to include practical financial and business advice not normally found at other law firms. As they point out, SMB Legal Consult practices law differently. The orientation is towards building relationships with clients and providing value added services. This means that their lawyers are willing to go beyond their traditional role and become true partners with clients in order to achieve results. Besides acting as legal counsel and business advisors, the SMB Legal Consult team makes it a point to thoroughly understand a client’s business and industry, allowing them to perceive the full context rather than narrowly focusing on just the matter at hand. Lawyers ask themselves and their clients how personal decisions impact the business and make senior partners available to provide the benefit of their broad range of experience for their clients. As entrepreneurs, the legal professionals at the firm take a results driven approach in providing advice. © 2016 Dave G / R. Mena
In order to integrate legal advice provided by the firm with other value added services, the firm has a dedicated Client Relationship Management (CRM) team which employees TQM concepts in strengthening the level of service provided to the client. The CRM team coordinates internal communications and assumes the responsibility of ensuring that the proper resources are available to clients at all times as well as keeping the entire team informed so that service is efficient and timely. The CRM also schedules training sessions with customers on site, so they can better understand client requirements.
Another area where the firm has expanded its offering is in its affiliations in other jurisdictions. The firm does not take these relationships lightly, and thoroughly investigates potential legal collaborators along the axes of service, ethics, substantial corporate and litigation practice, quality and competence. This allows the clients of SMB to depend upon the advice of similarly oriented legal professionals in other countries with the peace of mind that their foreign counselors have been thoroughly vetted.
Recognition of SMB Legal Consult by the BID Committee is the result of its integrated, holistic view of its business, its consistent application of TQM principles, and its innovative approach to customer relationship management.
ABOUT BID AND THE CENTURY INTERNATIONAL QUALITY ERA AWARD:
BID is a private and independent organization founded in 1984, whose primary activity is business communication orientated towards quality, excellence and innovation in management. A leader in the broadcasting of Quality Culture, BID recognizes those companies and organizations which lead the most important activities in the business world, and is considered the founding organization in the broadcasting of the Culture of Quality, Excellence and Innovation in 179 countries. The trophy symbolizes a pledge to the principles of Quality Culture. The QC100 Total Quality Management Model, together with the Quality Mix program, media coverage of the convention and its impact on the community and business sector, create an unmatched platform for continuous improvement within the organization and awareness of the achievements of the company at an international level. Awards are given only to those who are committed to improving their Quality Culture based on the principles of the QC100 Total Quality Management Model. Candidates are proposed by the leaders of previously awarded companies who they consider worthy of the award. Especially meritorious candidates may also be nominated. The International BID Quality Award Selection Committee then chooses the winning companies who will receive the award in New York, Paris, Geneva, Frankfurt, Madrid and London.