The budget process for 2011 marketing efforts should be well underway in your firm; and clearly finding out how loyal your clients are is vital to your firm’s economic future, not only for the coming year but beyond.

Joyce Smiley in a recent item on her web site refers to a classic Harvard Business Review article “Why Satisfied Customers Defect” by Thomas O. Jones and W. Earl Sasser, Jr., that stresses that loyal clients must be more than just satisfied. Additionally, she quotes what several in-house lawyers had to say at the 17th Annual Marketing Partner Forum about tailoring services to each client.

To do that, quite frankly, you need to ask clients what they want, expect and think about the firm’s services. So, here’s five things law firms should seek from their clients and what can be revealed in the process, according to Smiley:

  • what clients want from your firm
  • “what problems you must address to strengthen and expand your client relationships
  • how to enhance your relationships to keep clients loyal to your firm
  • “the opportunities that could increase your firm’s business with its clients
  • “clients’ perceptions of your firm in the legal marketplace” (emphasis mine)

If learning what your clients’ satisfaction is with the services your firm provides is not part of your 2011 budget, it’s not too late to revise it.