Face-to-face client interviews can cement relationships and open opportunities. In “Why Conduct Client Interviews?” Linda Hazelton explained the “who, what, where and when” of this important tool. Here’s her road map to the types of questions you’ll want your clients to answer — whether or not you’re the one doing the asking.
For some clients, the only question you may need to ask is: “How could our service to you improve?” Then you follow any leads they provide. For others, simply providing an opportunity to expound on that one question may not be enough. You may have to ask a series of questions to draw these clients out.
Sample Client Survey Questions
The following questions should be custom‑tailored to the individual client and situation. You are not likely to ask any client all of these questions.
Setting the stage:
“My goal for today’s meeting is to make certain we understand your criteria for great service and make certain we’re on track to meet those criteria.”
“Do you recall how you happened to choose (firm or partner name) as your law firm (lawyer)?”
- “When you choose a lawyer, what are you looking for?”
- “How can a lawyer add particular value to you and your company? How would you define the ‘value’ you want to get from outside counsel?”
- “Are there certain things that do or do not work well for you in terms of practices and behaviors of your lawyers?”
- “How could our service improve? What would you like us to do differently? From your experience, what do we do best (how do we serve you best)?”
- “We’d like to stay abreast of new developments important to you and your industry. If you send us information you’d like us to review in order to educate ourselves further, we’ll be glad to do so without charge to you. What sources do you use to stay informed?”
- “Overall, have we met your expectations?”
- “What concerns or issues haven’t we addressed today? What should we have asked that we have not?”
- “How could this interview process improve?”
These questions should be sufficient to learn whether the client is delighted with your service, results and people — or not. Remember, you must address and attempt to cure any issues raised during the interview. Not necessarily on the spot, but soon after. Actually discussing a problem and then failing to address it is the worst possible outcome.
When you are done, thank the client for their willingness to spend their important time to talk with you and for their frankness. Don’t forget to follow up with a handwritten personal note.
By conducting a client service review, you will have distinguished yourself in the client’s mind. Now … reap the benefits.