The majority of clients interviewed by Wicker Park Group have significantly more praise for their outside counsel than criticism. In fact, most complaints about law firm relationships typically result from failing to manage client expectations or other common communication breakdowns. On those rare occasions when you do receive surprising negative feedback, it is always better to be prepared. Here are five tips for dealing with difficult feedback during client interviews:
1. Ask more questions. Use open-ended questions to dig deeper and uncover details about the problem. Saying “Tell me more about…” is a great way to get the client talking.
2. Seek the client’s input for possible solutions but recognize that you don’t have to propose a solution immediately. Some good questions to ask are: How would you like to see this problem resolved? What steps can we take to correct course?
3. Don’t get defensive or make excuses. If deadlines are not being met, the last thing a client wants to hear about is how “busy” you are with other bigger clients or more important projects.
4. Listen. Recognize that sometimes clients just wants to vent, and you may be the only person they talk to that day who is willing to listen.
5. Clarify any immediate action needed. Let your client know when and how you will follow up.