Asking Clients for Feedback
"Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning." - Bill Gates
I believe the single and greatest way to grow a law firm is to provide exemplary customer service. To me, being sensitive to, and constantly taking the pulse of, what our clients think about the quality of our customer service is low hanging fruit that when tended to, can result in massive, compounding gains for a law firm. Referrals from clients, 5-star reviews, and a happy work environment are just some of the many benefits that result when providing and constantly improving upon the level of client service your law firm gives to its clients.
But all too often law firms neglect this vital concept. They take clients for granted and sometimes can be tone-deaf on what clients are frustrated by during their client journey with a law firm. When this happens, a nefarious metastasizing unfolds: Clients get upset, the workplace becomes stressed and unhappy, and growth stalls.
As lawyers, we are first and foremost in the customer service business and everything at a law firm must therefore revolve around that. Everything else is secondary. That is a critically important mindset to adapt because that mindset informs the strategies that are designed to put the clients needs first.
I believe in checkpoints during each client journey where we mine for information from our clients on how we are doing in their eyes. Here are some easy and free ways to ensure your clients receive great service and become raving fans for life.
Send your clients surveys. Our firm sends out two automated email surveys to each client during the duration of each case. I am always hunting for problems and holes in our service and surveys reveal areas we need to immediately focus on and fix. Surveys also reveal things our clients enjoy about their experience with us so we make sure to double down on those things.
This requires no effort or time on the part of our staff because our CRM (customer relationship management) does all the work for us. I find that a small number of clients actually respond to the surveys but the ones that do respond provide great information we can act on. For me, I want to hear about areas we are falling short so we can continuously optimize and improve our clients' experience with us.
In addition to the surveys we send out, we also send out automated emails to clients every two months asking the clients if they have recently been contacted by our office. This ensures that client contact remains regular and consistent throughout the case. This is extremely comforting to the clients and reduces the need for them to call into the office, and has helped us improve the client experience.
This has multiple benefits because my team members know these emails are going out so that incentives them to make sure they are regularly contacting and updating clients on case status. Additionally, the emails show the clients that I care about and take very seriously our desire to always keep them updated and informed on where their case stands. This, similar to the surveys, is another quality control tactic we employ to always monitor and improve the clients' experience, and it’s all automated.
At the end of each case, when clients come to the office to pick up their settlement check (we always at this stage give them a merchandise bag with free items), I ask them how we did. I sit down with the client and ask them if there are ways they can suggest we can improve the delivery of our services. I use a checklist so I don't forget to ask anything of the client.
I find clients really appreciate this because it shows them once again that we care about and value their feedback. If the client is happy, I ask what they liked about their experience, and if there is anything they can suggest we improve. I make sure to remind the client that we are built on client referrals, and would love to help the client's family and friends in the future if they need us. If the client is unhappy, I make sure to learn exactly why because this creates a great opportunity to improve our services.
The ongoing process of fine tuning and improving the client experience requires continual focus and intention. The more information you can extract from clients about their case journey with your office, the more you can improve the experience for current and future clients.
You'll never know what clients like and dislike about your firm unless you ask them, and ask them frequently. If you have other ideas on how the client experience can be gauged and improved, I would love to hear them. Please share them with me by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.