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Client Interviews: Another View From The Peanut Gallery

Posted in Client Communications

Only because I believe so strongly in the value of conducting client interviews that I accept Dan Hull’s challenge and weigh in on a discussion already well covered by several other bloggers, all of whom I very much respect.
Client feedback is so important and critical for developing long-term relationships, which should be your ultimate legal marketing goal, that it is worth adding my two cents worth to the recent discussion involving Jim Hassett (here, here, and here), Michelle Golden (here and here), Patrick Lamb (here and here), and Dan Hull (here). Okay, I’m dizzy too.
In essence it boils down to whether client interviews should be conducted by a neutral third party, a senior member of the law firm, or a combo of the two. So, what’s my take:
*I believe the initial client interviews should be conducted by an independent third party, without any representative of the firm present. The main reason, based on my experience (and I’ve done them both ways), is that the clients are likely to be more open (have had clients ask that their comments be kept confidential) and that is less likely with a member of the firm present;
*Then, a member of senior management should pay a visit to the clients to follow up, to thank them for participating, and address any issues that may have been raised; and
*Finally, the firm should form (if it hasn’t already) client service teams for key clients, with one lawyer assigned as the client relationship attorney, whose responsibility, among other things, is to continue to obtain regular client feedback on how the team is doing.
As was pointed out in several of the posts, the most important thing is that such interviews actually take place. The process is less important than not doing them at all.