Monday, July 02, 2007

What are your Law Firm Clients Thinking?

Clients are different than customers, according to something I read recently. A client is "in the care of" someone, whereas a customer simply is someone who buys a product or service from you.

Are your clients truly in your care? Do you not only spend time wondering what their worries and industry challenges are, but take it a step further to actively solicit this information? Do you create and suggest proactive solutions to make their life easier?

There are several ways to gain valuable client feedback, including:

1. Adopt "end of matter" questionnaires, sent automatically when you finish an engagement. Ask the client if the work was done on time, on budget and to their satisfaction. What could you do better next time?

2. Conduct an annual client satisfaction survey. Assign an influential firm representative to sit down with your top accounts off the clock to find out how you rate.

3. Form a client advisory panel. Invite important clients and industry leaders to join a prestigious group that will advise your firm on matters including practice development, branding, quality of service, billing practices and reward systems.

The challenge is to act on the feedback you receive. Positive reinforcement is reassuring, but it takes a strong firm to tackle the tough issues that clients raise. If you can deal with previously intractable billing systems, problem partners or late phone calls, chances are you will start to see your client retention rates rise along with your firm's profitability.

***
Margaret Grisdela is author of the upcoming book "Courting Your Client: The Essential Guide to Legal Marketing."

1 comment:

Barry Morris said...

Griselda,
Your comment about a client being 'in the care of' reminded me of a similar principle: Clients are those that come under the care, guidance, and protection of another. As someone who interviews a good deal of 'clients,' I usually find that it doesn't take a lot of extra time leave a client feeling cared-for. Often, the simplest of gestures -a phone call, a brief note, a useful article sent in the mail- will further enhance the client relationship.