Naturally, one might think every lawyer is responsible, or maybe the managing partner if it has to be brought down to a single individual. My initial reaction was the former, but after reading the article “The Power of One” by Marcie Borgal in The Complete Lawyer, I’ve come up with a different take on the issue. Marcie is a senior strategic analyst with The BTI Consulting Group in Wellesley, MA.
Her article starts with:
“A research study recently conducted (by BTI) … revealed a startling fact. Having a single individual accountable for firm-wide client service boosts per attorney profits by up to 41.2%”
I must admit I was startled by that myself. Marcie refers to these individuals as “client service executives.” Their job responsibilities include:
- “providing client-focused tools and programs,
- generating strategies to improve client service performance,
- delineating gaps between performance and client expectations, and
- regularly tracking and monitoring client satisfaction.”
Additionally, these individuals may conduct “annual interviews with key clients” to ascertain client service issues, as well as “clients’ goals and needs.”
Law firms “typically draw client service executives from the ranks of their most well-respected attorneys,” according to Marcie. In most cases, I presume in most firms that person is likely to be the managing partner. But, that may not always be the case.
For instance, Philadelphia’s Ballard Spahr has hired a full time in-house “Client Interviewer” and Seattle’s Stanislaw Ashbaugh has a Chief Results Officer on staff (with a prominent link from the firm’s home page).
It looks like some law firms are really taking client service issues – and, more importantly client satisfaction – seriously. As Marcie says, “[C]lients translate these approaches as an expression of interest and investment in them, their priorities and their concerns.” I think it is just smart legal marketing!
It certainly doesn’t hurt if, in addition to “happy-camper clients,” the firm’s profits increase by more than 40% in the bargain.
Thanks to Arnie Herz for the tip that led me to Marcie’s article.