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January 04, 2006

How to review client satisfaction - Part 2

In Part 1 of this posting, I described the how and the why of client satisfaction reviews. This week, some suggestions on exactly what to ask.

I’m a big fan of keeping things simple, and believe your entire interview could be limited to these nine questions:

1. Rate your overall satisfaction with our firm, on a scale from 1 (extremely dissatisfied) to 10 (extremely satisfied).
2. What could we do to increase our rating to a perfect 10?
3. Can you describe any specific examples where our service could have been better?
4. In the past, what are some of the things that you’ve liked most about working with law firms, both ours and others?
5. What have you liked least about working with law firms?
6. How would you rate the likelihood of using our services next year, on a scale from 1 (extremely unlikely) to 10 (extremely likely)?
7. How could we increase the chances that you’ll use our services next year?
(Questions 8 and 9 should be used only with extremely satisfied clients):
8. Would you be willing to serve as a reference for us?
9. Do you know anyone else we should talk to about their legal needs?

The reason to use a scale from 1 to 10 is to distinguish people who are simply satisfied (the 6s, 7s and 8s out of 10), from those who are loyal supporters (the 9s and 10s). According to Harry Mills (in The Rainmaker’s Toolkit p. 83) “between 60% and 80% of all lost customers report that they are satisfied prior to defection.” So if you want to protect your revenue, your goal is to get your clients to 10 out of 10, or maybe even 11.

The interview must be conducted by someone who knows how to listen and probe for more information. Some firms use a consultant. I think it can be better to use a partner, as long as she is a good listener, and will be able to find the time to follow up.

If you have time, I’d recommend designing some custom questions for your practice and for each client. Consider including these issues, which often show up in surveys of client dissatisfaction:

Keeping clients informed.
Explaining legal issues in terms that clients understand.
Showing genuine interest and concern.
Being prompt and responsive.
Charging fair and reasonable fees.

You may also want to review some of the resources available on the Law Marketing Portal with questions on such matters as:

turn-around time
the amount and timeliness of status information
amount of attention your matter was given
attorney accessibility on short notice
listening to client concerns
understanding client goals
the type of information provided on billing statements
legal fees

Some of these surveys were designed to be sent out in the mail. Don’t use them that way. Go out to meet face to face with your biggest clients, and listen. Then deliver what they want, and watch your revenues grow.

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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference How to review client satisfaction - Part 2 :

» Polling The Real Jury--"So Clients, How Are We Doing?" from What About Clients?
Jim Hassettat Law Firm Business Development just finished the third of three excellent posts I've been reading--all on what I think of as client polling. Part 3 goes a little further and discusses the client service team concept, good for... [Read More]

» Polling The Real Jury--"So Clients, How Are We Doing?" from What About Clients?
Jim Hassett at Law Firm Business Development just finished the third of three excellent posts I've been reading--all on what I think of as client polling. Part 3 goes a little further and discusses the client service team concept, good... [Read More]

Comments

While 1 through 10 are numbers that quantify, 1 can sometimes be confused as high or 10 can be confused with high. Therefore, I use what we all learned in grammar school: A, B, C, D, F: quickly understandable. Who wouldn't like to go in and tell a partner/assistant/CMO that you had all A's. What could be better? And the B's can tell you where to improve...and the C's...and the rest...well, no where to go but up.

Bernadine Bednarz
polonia@aol.com
213.249.0066
Drive and Deliver.

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