Law firms that invite client feedback create positive impressions, new work opportunities, and are among the most profitable.
Many lawyers seem to believe that legal business development and law marketing means acquiring new clients. This infers securing other peoples clients and ties into the notion that other peoples clients are more interesting than yours. This is simply not true.
What is true is that its much easier to lose a client than gain a new one. Its also much easier to gain more business from a current client and much less expensive in terms of time and resources. Serving clients well means asking their opinion, carefully listening, and responding swiftly to feedback.
Why Clients Leave
The likelihood of clients defecting increases markedly after they have been with a firm for five years. The three major reasons are:
- Lack of prompt response to phone calls and emails.
- Failure to communicate regularly, especially when dealing with an active issue.
- Not taking a keen interest in a clients business and continuing needs.
Surprisingly, fees are rarely the reason clients leave.
Keeping Clients Happy
It has been my experience that law firms who conduct client surveys receive enormous value from asking the simplest of questions, such as, How are we doing? and How else can we help you? Firms that survey clients create a positive impression that set them far above firms reluctant to ask for feedback. They also receive high marks for demonstrating to their clients that their opinions matter.
Unfailingly, surveys result in more business, greater client satisfaction, deeper loyalty, identification of new areas of potential work, and more referrals all of which lead to increased revenue.
Surveys let clients know you are actively listening and interested in learning more about their business and needs. Surveys create opportunities to offer other services and show that the firm is ready to act. More often than not, feedback is much better than expected, and any requests for adjustments are surprisingly minor and simple to remedy. These easy fixes are greatly appreciated by clients who often reward the firm with new work or referrals.
When conducting surveys, I have found that a law firms clients say they are more comfortable speaking with a third party instead of being interviewed by either the lawyer with whom they work or an employee of the firm. Clients report that the comfort factor of speaking to a neutral party enables them to speak freely to someone they consider to be an ombudsman for them and the firm.
Clients are also flattered when, with their approval, complimentary feedback is used as testimonials with quotes appearing in the firms marketing collateral, such as the website, brochures, annual reviews, newsletters, etc.
Having conducted hundreds of interviews over an 18-year career in business news, my journalism background has proven helpful in drawing out insightful, thoughtful, and beneficial feedback from law firm clients.
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