Seeking client feedback appears to be getting more attention in firms of all sizes. Ballard Spahr (500-plus lawyers) has hired a full-time “client interviewer,” and Stanislaw Ashbaugh (19 lawyers) prominently links to their Chief Results Officer from their home page, and Ward and Smith PA (80 lawyers) has a partner who is devoted to visiting clients nearly full-time. Other firms with similar positions include Orrick (over 1000 lawyers) with a firmwide ombudsman, and Reed Smith (over 1600 lawyers) with a director of general counsel relations.
Are these firms pacesetters for a greater focus on client feedback? Or is it just a fad? One can only hope it is an encouraging trend.
Client feedback is clearly one of the most important things a law firm can do to enhance client relationships, which in turn results in more work. That is why it ranks No. 3 on my list of Top 10 Marketing Tips. Moreover, a recent survey by The BTI Consulting Group reports that per attorney profits increased by 41.2% when there is “single individual accountable for firm-wide client service.”
If gaining more client work is what marketing and business development is all about – Hmm, I wonder! – and seeking feedback is that effective, then hiring someone for the business development team who would concentrate on that role would make a lot of sense.
If you don’t buy into that idea, at least hire a consultant to seek feedback for you. In many firms the managing partner fills this role, and of course, he or she is a good person for that; but, with everything else on their plate, it just doesn’t get the priority and consistent effort that it should.
That is why the actions of these firms are so impressive. And I’ll bet clients just love it, too. Moreover, I’ll wager that each of them obtains an ROI of at least double their salary in any given year in new work for the firm.
So, who is the dedicated person seeking client feedback in your firm?