Everyone running a small or medium sized law firm wanting it to be successful is well aware that great customer service is vital.
Unfortunately, when you’re working hard it’s difficult to do every management and marketing activity, so you have to cherry-pick the things in each area that will give you the biggest return on your precious time.
Today, client surveys can help law firms meet their strategic business and marketing objectives by helping to evaluate critical performance and service delivery issues. For most law firms, armed with this intelligence the information from clients can provide the platform for a formal strategic planning or business development program.
In fact, unlike most other strategic or marketing strategies, there is virtually no downside risk to a client survey, as long as the firm responds quickly to issues that clients may raise.
If you’ve been wondering about the benefits of customer feedback we set out below the top 7, looking at it from the firm’s perspective:
Top 7 Client Feedback Benefits
Seeking New Referrals
Word of mouth referrals provide new customers, or at least, new opportunities which help the law firm grow. We don’t want a customer to have any reason why they wouldn’t recommend us whole-heartedly in fact we’d like them to be raving about how good we are. So we need to check there are no frustrations.
Repeat business from existing clients
We want clients to come back to us when they next need legal help. We understand that they will only be willing to spend fees on people who do a great job for them. So we need to make sure they are happy with us not disappointed with us. Then our marketing will never fall on deaf ears.
We don’t ever want to be surprised that we’ve lost a client. So we need to find out any issues immediately, and fix them straight away, so that the clients are impressed with our service.
When we ask customers face to face how things are going they may say ‘fine’ even if that’s not what they’re thinking, because they don’t want an awkward conversation. We know that, despite our best intentions, even small irritations can build up over time and make them more receptive to a recommendation to go to a competitor. We’d rather find out if we have any issues to resolve (and seek to resolve them) before that happens, so we’ll make it clear we welcome candid feedback, and we’ll make it easy for them.
We want our clients to tell us how they feel about us before they tell their friends. If it’s good, we can learn from it, celebrate, and thank them. If it’s not so good, we’d rather fix it and keep them as a customer – and make sure that problem doesn’t happen again. We can only learn these things if we make it easy for them to tell us.
Staff Morale and Motivation
Our staff get a real boost when a client gives us praise. It gives us confidence that our firm is on the right track, peace of mind that another client is secure, and every time it happens someone in the firm feels like a hero.
When we get verbatim comments from clients there’s nowhere to hide. All the training courses in the world are no substitute for lessons learnt through personal experience. Sometimes it can feel a little raw and possibly unjustified, but providing we learn from it and if necessary put things right it is valuable.
When to seek feedback
We feel the ideal opportunity to conduct a client satisfaction survey is at the conclusion of the matter. This can be an information gold mine that helps you understand what your clients think about how you and the staff delivered your service, what you could have improved upon, what they actually gained from your service and what they really need from you.
Online is the only way to go
Most people are accustomed to taking online satisfaction surveys, which is an expeditious and inexpensive way to conduct customer satisfaction research and as far as the client is concerned, it doesn’t intrude on their time too much.
Client surveys are a significant research tool, with several distinct advantages: they are usually fast and inexpensive, and provide the opportunity to hear from clients new and old. In addition, they can show you have the preparedness to ask for feedback and a willingness to be innovative, all being important considerations for clients and lawyers alike.
For the firm that is prepared to act upon the information that it receives, the survey is one of the most powerful weapons available in the client retention battle and that’s why it’s becoming increasingly popular.
About the author
Brian has more than twenty years’ experience in marketing and management across diverse industries including legal, real estate, tourism and technology. Brian lives in Sydney with his wife and two daughters.