In his post last week, Joshua Lenon homed in on the “First Question to Ask a Client.” So, at the other end of the process, when you’ve wrapped up the matter, what should your final question be? For many lawyers, it might just be, “Cash or charge?” Today, Joshua says that’s a mistake.
Just as there is much to learn from clients in the beginning of a matter, you can let closing a matter be a learning moment for you as well. This is your opportunity to learn from your clients how satisfied (or unsatisfied!) they are with your services. But how many lawyers and firms take advantage of the chance?
Most Law Firms Fail to Get Client Feedback
It’s true. A report by Martindale-Hubbell found that 52 percent of law firms surveyed did not seek formal feedback from their clients. Among the firms that did not seek feedback, 59 percent said it was “not a priority” for the firm’s leadership. In addition, 38 percent said they had “insufficient staff or resources” to obtain feedback.
That last number is surprising. Client feedback can be easily and cheaply obtained. In fact, the report found that among the firms that did seek feedback, 64 percent invested less than 5 percent of their firm’s marketing budget to get feedback. Low-cost online services, like Wufoo and SurveyMonkey, let users design their own surveys and even handle collecting and collating data from those surveys.
Importantly, asking for client feedback often leads to more business. BTI Consulting Group’s research has found that law firms that excel at client service have a 30 percent higher profitability and 35 percent higher client retention, and can sustain higher rates.
One of BTI’s key findings was this: Firms that deliver the best client service engage in client outreach to bring thinking and feedback into the culture of the law firm.
Yet more than half of law firms give up this learning opportunity — along with the chance to gain more business.
Why Does Soliciting Client Feedback Create More Business?
While the list of reasons to ask for feedback is long, it starts with these critical points:
- It lets clients know, in a tangible way, that you value them and their opinions.
- It helps identify problems that need to be fixed before they become endemic.
- It lets firms assess client satisfaction for additional selling opportunities.
Given the benefits your firm can reap, why not develop a matter-closing process that includes soliciting client feedback? Develop a short survey that lets the client rank you and your services. Tally this information over time and see what it tells you about ways to improve your practice.
Make the last question you ask your client, “How did I do?”
Joshua Lenon is an attorney and Director of Communications at Clio, where he focuses on scholarship and marketing skills, with an interest in the intersection of law and technology. Previously, Joshua helped legal practitioners improve their services, working for Thomson Reuters’ publishing departments. Follow him on Twitter @JoshuaLenon.