Asking your clients if they are happy with your services is essential to growing your practice.
Just don’t wait until the case is over to do it. By then, it’s too late to make changes that can cure deficiencies and boost satisfaction.
“Lots of law firms use client surveys,” says law practice strategist Jordan Furlong, author of the Law21 blog. “But too many use surveys the wrong way. They send them out after the case is over, which is the wrong time.”
The right time, says Furlong, is pretty much all the time.
“Ask them before, during and after the representation,” he said at Lawyers Mutual’s Managing Partners Summit in May. “You want to know what you’re doing well and what you’re doing poorly. If you don’t know something’s going wrong, you can’t fix it.”
Keep the Survey Simple
To take your client’s pulse, you don’t need a formal questionnaire or even a survey at all. In fact, the simpler the better.
Furlong recommends doing it by email – it’s easy and cheap – and frequently, every other week or so. Ask if the client is happy with how their case is being handled, and give them three possible responses in the form of letter grades A, B and C.
If the response is A, great. Keep doing what you’re doing. If B, dig a little deeper to find out how your performance can be raised to A-level. C means “all hands on deck.” You’ve got an unhappy client on your hands, which could lead to misery down the road.
Red, Green, Yellow
Lisa Angel of the Rosen Law Firm also suggests keeping it simple. She surveys her clients at least monthly, sometimes every other week. Like Furlong, she offers three satisfaction choices. But she uses colors – green, yellow and red – with green meaning great and red meaning danger.
Angel’s firm captures the data recovered in e-surveys and distributes reports to everyone in the firm. Metrics are established so the firm can consistently track its performance.
Another tip: Angel uses legal assistants to survey clients.
“Sometimes clients won’t tell the lawyer if there is a problem,” she said at the Managing Partners Summit. “But they will open up to a non-lawyer.”
Every firm is unique and should come up with a survey system that works for them. If you presently use longer questionnaires at the close of representation, that’s fine. Keep it up. It’s a good way discover specific ways to improve your performance. Just supplement the closing survey with regular check-ins along the way.
Whatever method you use, don’t lose sight of the point of client surveys, which is to maximize the client experience.
Do you use client surveys? Tell us how you do it.