When It Comes to Client Satisfaction, Don’t Guess!

Lawyers, do you feel comfortable asking clients for feedback? Or is there somewhere in the recesses of your mind a memory of something that might not have turned out as you both wanted—a minor setback, let’s say; they happen to everyone–that makes you avoid the topic altogether? “I don’t want to open up a can of worms,” you might think.

Actually, it’s a good idea to get that can opener right away because, if you don’t know what she or he is thinking along those lines, you stand a chance of losing that client.  

There’s a blog, “Lawyer Meltdown”, which addresses the importance of regularly gauging your clients’ reactions.  In a surprising finding, although many attorneys agree that it’s important to meet a client’s needs adequately, few firms have  procedures in place to assess their clients’ level of satisfaction.  

“In ongoing surveys of lawyers that I’ve conducted,” we read, “most agree that client service is an important part of marketing, and yet many don’t have methods in place to measure [that].”  

There are a myriad of ways in which this can be done and you might want to approach a one-time client a bit differently than you do a long-term client, yet you do need to study all your clients’ needs…and stay in touch.

One method that seems to work across-the-board is to provide some kind of feedback form after a matter has been attended to.   According to the blog’s author, “The advantage to this type of system is that many clients will be more forthcoming on paper than they would be when speaking directly to a lawyer from the firm, particularly if the lawyer is one with whom the client works on a regular basis.”  

If it’s a one-time client, there’s a chance they may not feel it’s worth their while to fill out that form. But then again, you never know.  That client just might consider the possibility that she or he may need to call upon you in the future, and that might be enough of a reason to fill out that form.  In other words:  despite the downside, request the feedback anyway.  

Finally, do you know how important it is to encourage a client to be candid about any and all commentary regarding their experience?  Don’t hesitate to ask for suggestions regarding how the firm might improve.    One way to do this is to set up a meeting at the conclusion of a matter. 

It might be solely between the client and a senior lawyer, and the goal is to explore whether all went well.   

A few questions you might ask: would the client recommend your firm to a friend? How did they get on with the partner or associate with whom the client had most contact?  How was the level of communications?  What about the level of technical expertise?  

Tell the client that you literally have no idea about their level of satisfaction—although you hope it’s high.  If it’s not—and assure them of this—this meeting is your chance to find out how to do something “resolutionary” about it.   “Sometimes,” the author notes, “the best way to serve our clients is to admit what we don’t know[,] and set about learning it – whether directly from them, or from other sources.”

To read more, go here: http://www.lawyermeltdown.com/articles-tips-client-feedback.html

 

-EM

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