The good news is that some firms are doing client feedback programs; the bad news is that they aren’t really getting the feedback they need. That is, the feedback questions are superficial, and don’t really offer the kinds of return that will actually benefit the firm in retaining the client over the long haul.

An article posted on the BrandThinking blog by Sue Allison contends that a firm’s feedback program may not actually “lead to satisfied clients.”

The Problem. Although 64% of the marketers in AmLaw 200 firms would like to conduct meaningful feedback programs in 2010, according to Allison “they’re having trouble selling the concept to attorneys and firm leaders who already believe they are doing client feedback.” (emphasis mine) But are they?

What a Feedback Program Is Not:

  • Conducting just 12 client interviews (one per month) over a year;
  • Fluid in terms of what questions are asked vs. structured questions to get at any in-depth problems with the relationship; and
  • Thinking that by merely keeping in touch with a client, that will assure that the lawyer will “know if there were a problem.”

What is Needed:

  • A “Continuous Client Value Program” that assures that “your clients feel your firm is really listening and acting to solidify the relationship,” and
  • Conducted by an in-house staff person or lawyer not involved with a client’s matters, or an outside third party in order to increase the likelihood of getting candid feedback.

Law firm’s need to ensure that their client feedback program is one that really works, and not come across to clients as lame or insincere.