Do you know the real answer or are you just guessing? Those of us who provide client feedback services, and have reported how favorable clients react to satisfaction surveys, have an obvious bias. But that makes it no less important to ask your clients how you are doing. I have written a number of times on the topic (see Continue Reading below for some of them), and Aronson/Heintz Associates has a thoughtful piece on their web site. And, last week Joyce Smiley reported on an article in the August issue of The American Lawyer by Editor-in-Chief Aric Press quoting him as saying that “It’s time to talk to your clients…You can either be part of their (clients’) deliberations and process, or you can be surprised by their conclusions.”
Therein lays the rub. If you don’t ask your clients how you are doing, and they have issues, you won’t be part of the process. And you may never learn about possible problems, even after clients have “migrated” to another law firm. It just doesn’t make sense to not protect your most valuable assets – current clients – at least the key ones.
This is so important that I even wrote (to my own potential detriment) in “Of Counsel” last October that it made sense to hire someone in-house full time to do them, as four firms had done. (Unfortunately, two of the four firms no longer have someone in-house dedicated to that role.) Whether you pay a consultant to do the satisfaction surveys or do them in-house isn’t the important point. Doing them is.
Client satisfaction surveys are so simple and relatively inexpensive, when compared to overall marketing budgets in most firms, that it is a wonder that many firms still don’t do them. When one considers that 70%-80% of new business comes from current clients or referral sources (often clients themselves), it is baffling.
So again, why don’t more law firms ask their clients if they are satisfied with their services? I want to say I don’t have a clue, but unfortunately I do. Too many firms are afraid to ask, or think they already know what their clients think, thus negating the need to ask.
Unfortunately, both are wrong answers.