Sunday, 19 June 2011

Tiger bread and client care: what can law firms learn?

In case this one passed you by, here’s the abridged version. Wandering around Sainsbury’s one day, 3 and a half year old Lily was curious why tiger bread was not called giraffe bread. It’s a fair enough question from a perceptive child. So, thinking what the heck, she wrote Sainbsury’s a letter with her parents’ help.

Sainsbury’s wrote a very pleasant letter back, agreeing with Lily that the markings on tiger bread look more like those of a giraffe than those of a tiger, explained the background of the name and enclosed a gift card  for good measure.   It’s proven a pretty shrewd move on Sainsbury’s part as they’ve garnered no end of good PR from this story going viral.letter-2

So, Sainsbury’s deserve a good ol’ slap on the back for that one. 

But it got me thinking: what if the same thing had happened with a law firm. Would they have entertained a letter from a curious child so readily and warmly? I realise the customer bases are different (though not that different); both serve the public and need to create good PR wherever they can. Both want to be seen to be approachable, accommodating and take every opportunity to sow positive seeds in the minds of their next generation of potential clients.

I suspect most high street practices would have given such a letter a cursory glance before filing in the ‘out’ tray, earmarked for the shredder – (much the same way as most pupillage or training contract applications and enquiries about legal work experience then!).
Be right back

Sadly, I’m too old and lack the perception of a child going through the ‘why, why, but why’ phase, but I should imagine there are a lot of questions they would want to ask lawyers.

‘Why do you guys wear such funny things on your heads in court’?

“Why do you charge so much”

“Why does my daddy say you’re as slippery as a snake?”

“This other girl pulled out in front of me in the playground without looking. I ran into her and now my neck feels a bit sore. Do I have a claim?

Thinking smile


  1. I suspect the last one wouldn't end up in the pile heading for the bin at some firms!

    It was, as you observed, a very shrewd move by Sainsbury's as it has given them lots of great publicity.

  2. If I knew more Latin I'd suggest "why is [legal maxim] conjugated improperly?"

    I've evidently not been 3 for a *long* time.

  3. Only 3 quid?! Cheapskates!

  4. What an adorably sweet letter! Something like this would never, ever happen in the US.

  5. Andro - the same thought occurred to me. I guess they didn't want to give her too much... can't encourage kids to buy a shedload of sweets... might try and claim in later years that the store gave her an eating disorder. ;-)

    MLU - really? I'm surprised you say that - whenever I've been to the US you guys seem *extremely* polite and always keen to go above and beyond. :-)

  6. I saw this only today and found it so cute.

    I can't see law firms doing this though :P

  7. Tut tut, Pooni. Only saw it today - what've you been doing for the last few days? :p

    Wouldn't you like to write back to a toddler? - would be something different to stick down on your timesheet! ;-)

  8. I can never see it catching on Michael :P

    It would make the stress of my job go away but no thanks!