/ December 15, 2011

Lyle Lovett on Expert Customer Service

I went to see Lyle Lovett last night at the historic Birchmere in Alexandria, Va.

And he was awesome.

Lovett travels with some phenomenal musicians, and his set list includes some beloved classics.  It’s a terrific show.  But what makes the show for me isn’t the musicians or the playlist – it’s Lyle Lovett’s interactions with his audience.

He’s engaged. He’s funny.  He’s self-effacing.  He’s genuine.

The musical experience is as much about the music as it is about engagement – a good reminder that content is a service business.

His fans are there to hear the music, of course.  But they could listen to his music on an iPhone for free.  When we go see a concert, we’re not paying for the content.  We’re paying for the experience – of watching with other fans, of engaging with the musician and the music, of sitting 30 feet from the stage.

Concerts are a service business, not a content business.

This ethic animates our work at Fastcase, too.  Ten years ago, there were only two places you could find comprehensive access to the law.  Legal research was an economy of scarcity – an economy of access.  Legal research was a content business.  There were only two places you could purchase access to the content, so they could effectively charge whatever they wanted.  And their push was to expand access to new databases, new content, while the services languished.

Today, there are many places to access legal research content.  (In fact, we’re working to liberate the legal research database so that there will be more competition in the market.)  This is no longer an economy of scarcity – now it’s an economy of abundance.  Today, legal research is a service business; there are many places to find the content, and so publishers in this market must compete aggressively to provide the best service.

At Fastcase, this is a competition we’ve been gearing up to win.  Fastcase’s customer service is unparalleled, with top-drawer reference support, first-ring toll free customer service, free daily webinars, video tutorials, live chat support – the list goes on and on.

We’ve pioneered new ways of delivering the service, through free apps for iPhone and iPad, and innovative partnerships with state bar associations.  We’ve created smarter tools, like Forecite, which looks beyond keyword search to find cases you’d otherwise miss, and our Interactive Timeline, the first data visualization and data mapping tool for legal research.  And we’ve introduced a suite of cloud printing tools, which allow you to print with one click from anywhere on the Web or the desktop.

Content is a service business, and this service competition is long overdue.  It didn’t exist before, and we’re bringing it.  With more than 500,000 subscribers, 21 state bar partners, and 12 years of innovation under our belts, it’s no surprise that we’re seeing the first service innovations in years from Westlaw and LexisNexis.

You don’t go to a concert for the content – you go for the service.  And you don’t use Fastcase for mere access. You use Fastcase for smarter legal research tools and high-end customer service.

Just don’t ask us to sing “If I Had a Boat.”

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