Back to Basics: Share Your Feedback Across the Firm
Wicker Park Group is revisiting some of the processes around Client Feedback Interviews in a new series of blog posts called “Back to Basics.” This is the fifth article in the series. You can find the first article about how to choose clients for feedback here, the second article about the importance of preparation here, the third article about who should interview your clients here and the fourth article about steps to take after client feedback here.
One of my first clients asked me to analyze the firm’s client feedback research and make recommendations about the program. They sent me several binders of really robust client feedback about their firm. The interviewers had done a great job of interviewing firm clients via telephone every two years for six years. It was a goldmine of information. After reviewing the data, I was perplexed about why they needed my help. I asked, “What has been done with this great information? Who has seen it? What actions were taken? How have you followed up with the clients?” When they told me, I nearly fell out of my chair. The information had gone no further than the firm’s executive committee and those lovely binders on a shelf.
Many firms struggle with how broadly to share client feedback. While it isn’t always necessary or constructive to share every detail and every report with the entire firm, there are critical lessons to be learned and shared. We believe the greater transparency in sharing feedback, the greater opportunity to improve client service across the board.
The full report from client interviews should be shared with the relationship partner and all attorneys directly working for the client. Ideally, all support staff working with the client should be included in a debrief session as well. To keep the process moving, we recommend scheduling a full client team meeting to discuss the feedback two to three weeks after the interview is conducted and formulate follow-up plans.
Additionally, highlights from client feedback interviews should be shared widely across the firm. On a monthly basis, share which clients have been interviewed, what opportunities were uncovered, what the clients value most and where the firm can improve. Be sure to also share the outcomes from action taken as a result of previous interviews. We recommend incorporating a short agenda item about client feedback at every:
- Firm or partner meeting
- Administrative leadership meeting
- Staff meeting
- Practice/Industry group meeting
- EC/Board meeting
- Associates/Summer Associates meeting
Annually, it is also a great idea to provide periodic trend updates and to look at industry and practice trends.
Whatever you do, don’t sit on this valuable information. The increased awareness about what clients value will help raise the service bar overall and alleviate fear or skepticism about the client feedback process.