Implementing a client feedback program is one of the best ways to ensure you are delivering distinctive client service. Feedback can help you assess what's working and what's not, so that you can take actions to improve end to end client service.
Here are just a few reasons why you should implement a client feedback program if you haven't yet, and some actionable tips to how feedback can help you create more value for your clients and grow your business.
Benefits of soliciting and responding to client feedback
Firstly, having a client feedback program will increase your lawyers and staff sensitivity to customer service, making them more active participants in ensuring satisfaction. Secondly, it puts focus on your existing clients your firm's number one source of future business and referrals – and creates a climate where clients feel comfortable raising concerns in a constructive environment (versus in public forums like Facebook). And finally, feedback gives you a chance to change what’s not working, differentiate from competitors and build stronger, long term relationships with loyal clients.
The way you wish to solicit client feedback is entirely up to you. For solo and small law firms that are just getting started, creating a client satisfaction survey to a sample of clients, or a post engagement questionnaire at the conclusion of a matter, is an easy, inexpensive option. Questions can be a mix of open ended (“What can we do you improve?”) and rating type (“Would you refer us to a friend/family member/colleague”) to gather both quantitative and qualitative data.
If you have a bit more budget or time, you might want to invest in client site visits (for business clients) or in person surveys with an independent third party to gather more qualitative insights and candid responses.
Regardless of the methodology, clients must receive a response from their feedback. Sending clients a thank you note for participating, what you have learned and how you will act on their feedback is key to a successful program. After all, if you are not willing to take on feedback, your clients will be less willing to give it in the future, jeopardizing your efforts to foster loyalty.
Implementing an effective client survey
Survey findings can help you make improvements that add value or eliminate problem areas in service delivery. Here are a few tips for building the best survey:
- To ensure you collect as many responses as possible, keep surveys and questions to under 20 questions so they can be completed in around 10 minutes.
- Define your objectives before you create your survey or questions. If your goal is to evaluate lawyer performance rather than client expectations, your questions should reflect that.
- Include information about the client’s profile so that you can see if trends exist among categories of clients.
- Identify a sample of clients that is representative of your client base, including the correct contact person (ie. for business clients this may not necessarily be the contact person where bills are sent).
- Have a game plan for responding and acting on feedback before you start. Define who will be responsible for determining what changes need to be made or for scaling activities that add value.
- Don’t be afraid to share testimonials or success stories on your website or public forums where potential new clients can find you.
Meeting client expectations at different stages of the client service journey, while building a distinctive, competitive firm can be challenging. However, technology can help you from client intake and fee arrangement, to case management and retention. Having the right tools will help you have a complete, end to end client service overview that will assist you in focusing on making improvements to your own firm, starting today.