Client listening is about the client, the lawyer and the firm.
I’m going to have a little bit of a rant this week on the topic of client listening and feedback.
Last week I read an article on client listening which, in my opinion, had too many assertions that are just wrong.
There were 3 specific statements that I disagreed with:
Client feedback should be a commitment to listen, not a commitment to act.
You don’t necessarily need or want a great client satisfaction score. If you do, it often means you’re a ‘people pleaser’ not a professional.
Client feedback should be used to focus on what you’re doing right more than on what you’re doing wrong.
The first two points above are utter rubbish. The 3rd point I can see what they’re getting at, but the balance is off … yes find out what you’re doing right (client listening should not be seen as or used as a stick to beat people with) … but you also need to know what needs improving … what’s ‘wrong’.
But herein lies the issue for me … client listening is too often focused on lawyers and law firms as a priority e.g., how did we do, how great are we etc.
We need to flip this thinking and ensure that the client is at the forefront of our client listening.
Client listening should be for the benefit of clients as well as the lawyers and the firm.
We need to know what matters to clients. We need to know ‘how we did’ and what they think of us, yes; but we also need to ask them what they want and need from us and our profession so we can grow, evolve and simply put, do even better in the future.
And yes, let’s make sure the feedback helps our lawyers and our firms – what are we doing well that we can praise our lawyers for, as well as knowing where we can improve.
Acting on feedback is vital … there is almost nothing worse than asking someone where we can improve and then not taking any notice or actions.
And caring about having a great client satisfaction score is imperative … we simply cannot stop caring about how we’re doing and how we are perceived.
Doing these 2 things alone will help you have happier and more satisfied clients who keep coming back and refer other clients to you … it will help your profile standout in a positive way. They are crucial things that you need to do.
As you may be aware – each year I undertake some What Clients Want research. We’ve conducted this research for 2 years now and are just about to embark on the next set of research in conjunction with Moneypenny. I will share the findings with you once we have completed the research. This will most likely be in late November.
This will help you to understand what clients want, their perception of law firms and what you do. It will also show how clients wants and needs are changing – we will compare the results with the research over the previous 2 years.
But please don’t wait for our research before you act – you need to be talking to your clients right now. At its simplest, an email or a call to key clients is a good place to start. Ideally go further and have a more structured approach.
If you need some help – we do have a What Clients Want template and package that could help you – further details are here.
But please – do something. Speak to your clients.