It continues to amaze many clients that more law firms do not seek their feedback on the legal services provided. Over the years I have met with dozens of law firm clients, and heard often that they welcome opportunities to provide feedback.
In this economy, client satisfaction surveys are more important than ever. The value of satisfied clients should be obvious. They will continue to send and refer work to the firm. The best way to ensure they are satisfied is to ask them. The two main reasons you should be asking:
- Your competitors are asking them, and
- Your clients may be wondering why you aren’t.
A good time to ask clients for feedback on how the firm is doing , or did, includes during a matter and at its conclusion, and on an annual or biannual basis. Written or telephone surveys are okay, and better than doing nothing; but, the most effective surveys are in-person interviews of at least your top clients. The latter two should be carried out by the managing partner, other senior lawyer, or an outside third party; not by the attorney who directly works with the client. Some questions that might be asked include:
- What is the firm doing well?
- If there is one thing the firm could do better or differently to improve our services, what would that be?
- Would you recommend the firm to others? Why (yes or no)?
- Anything I haven’t asked that I should have?
Of course, you should ask specific questions about the firm’s responsiveness, quality of legal product, knowledge of industry, reasonableness of fees, and overall benefit to their business, as well. It is much better to ask before the client leaves for another firm, particularly if there is a problem that could be easily rectified. Remember, satisfied clients send more work and referrals.
So, how satisfied are your key clients? Are you sure?