There was a United Airlines TV commercial 20 years ago where a company head gathered his account exec’s together to inform them he got a phone call that morning from one of the the company’s oldest customers – ‘he fired us — after 20 years, said he didn’t know us anymore.’

With everyone gathered around, the company head lamented he used to know all his customers, but now it’s a phone call, a fax, we’ll get back to you later — probably with another fax. He said things needed to change, that’s why we’re going to set off on a personal visit to all of the company’s customers.

When an account exec complained ‘that’s almost 200 cities’ airline tickets for the trips were passed out to everyone. The company head was off to see that old friend who fired them.

I told our LexBlog team of that commercial in our Monday AM meeting this week. You see, I’m off to see those LexBlog clients we don’t know as well anymore. I’m starting with our clients who haven’t posted to their blog in 30 days.

I cannot personally visit 2,000 lawyers publishing to 600 blogs. But I can reach out to them for phone conferences with follow on personalized coaching, personalized approaches for networking via blogging, and personalized highlighting of them and their blog via my blog and LexMonitor. I felt guilty as hell for LexBlog not doing so before.

In these phone calls which I do with Lisa Kennelly, our Editorial Manager, I want to know what’s up. What’s changed? How can we help? When it’s been 60 or 90 days since they last posted, I’m apologizing for our not reaching out sooner.

It’s scary admitting some failure on your part. It’s scary asking if their interest in blogging has waned. I was scarred that clients would would want to unsubscribe. LexBlog’s been blessed with a 96% client retention rate over 6 years, but this economy is tough on folks, including lawyers. What if lawyers wanted to drop their subscription?

During one of these visits last evening, a good Los Angeles lawyer thanked us so much for reaching out to her. She said it meant a lot to know we cared and the timing was perfect to begin some personal coaching and follow up blog promotion with Lisa.

Afterwards Lisa offered her encouragement to me, ‘These calls are going pretty good, we’re being well received by the clients we visit with. Our lawyers want to blog and want our help.’

Four or five years ago I knew all of LexBlog’s clients professionally and personally. I knew where they worked and lived. We talked regularly, often about practicing law ‘war stories’ or how we were going to afford to put our kids through college.

Great stuff. The stuff that drives a company head in the professional services industry. The stuff that makes you proud for being of service to America’s lawyers.

I’ll probably never get to know all of our clients as well. I probably won’t move the company back to our family’s garage either. But I’m trying to get our people to know you better and help you achieve as must as our other lawyers are through blogging.

If we haven’t been in touch yet and you’re looking for help, give Lisa or I a holler.

Like the Leo Burnett ad agency crafted line in the United commercial ‘If you’re the kind of the business that still believes personal service means a lot more than lip service, welcome to United Airlines LexBlog.’

And oh yes, here’s the TV commercial itself from 1989.