Law firms and legal service providers that invite client feedback create positive impressions, new work opportunities, and are among the most profitable.
If you don’t survey your clients, others will.
Three things happen every time I conduct feedback interviews on behalf of a law firm or law company: 1) their clients tell me they appreciate speaking candidly with a neutral third party; 2) their trust in the legal service provider deepens; and, 3) the number of files the provider receives increases.
Polls in Canada and the United States reveal that more than 80% of clients are not asked to provide feedback to the law firms and service providers that serve them. The small percentage of those firms and providers that do ask know what their clients are thinking and planning, and are rewarded with higher volumes of current work, new files and deeper loyalty.
Business development is about nurturing relationships. Relationships with current clients are your most valuable, which is why client surveys are the life-blood that helps keep those connections healthy and vital.
Having performed numerous client surveys, I can attest that law firms and legal service providers with client feedback programs stand head-and-shoulders above firms that don’t. More and better quality work plus qualified referrals are the usual rewards along with goodwill and positive perceptions that enhance individual reputations and the firm’s brand.
Why Clients Leave
The likelihood of clients defecting increases markedly after they have been with a firm or provider for five years. The three major reasons are:
- Not taking a keen interest in a client’s business and continuing needs.
- Lack of prompt response to phone calls and emails.
- Failure to communicate regularly, especially when dealing with an active issue.
Surprisingly, fees are rarely the reason clients leave.
Surveys Keep Clients Happy
There is enormous value in asking open questions, such as “How are we doing?” and “How else can we help you?” More often than not, feedback is much better than expected, and any requests for adjustments are surprisingly minor and simple to remedy. These easy fixes are appreciated by clients who often reward the firm or provider with new work or referrals.
When conducting surveys, clients often tell me that they appreciate speaking with a third party instead of being interviewed by either a lawyer or employee of the firm or service provider. Clients report that the comfort factor of speaking to a neutral party enables them to speak freely to someone acting as an ombudsman.
Clients are flattered when, with their approval, complimentary feedback is used as testimonials with quotes appearing in the firm or provider’s marketing collateral, such as the website, brochures, etc.
Surveys Keep Your Firm Happy
Gleaning insight from current and prospective clients can help evaluate new market opportunities and develop client-focused strategies, plans and programs. Client input is a critical component to the success of key client programs, rebranding, launching a new service offering, opening a new office or making certain that client considerations are taken into account when positioning for long-term growth.