As we enter the new decade, our society has incorporated feedback into almost every aspect of daily life from informal comments on social media to online reviews of products and services. And while Wicker Park Group now works with more law firms than ever on feedback programs, we still see resistance to the idea of obtaining feedback from clients.
That reluctance may stem from uncertainty or fear of the unknown, but the reality is clients are providing feedback to peers, colleagues and industry contacts regularly. You are much better off asking for candid feedback directly rather than clients expressing their opinions to others without your knowledge.
Almost every lawyer who comes to the table skeptical of feedback walks away pleasantly surprised by the insights, candor, positive feedback and constructive criticism. But if you or others at your firm are still unsure, consider the typical comments and themes from client interviews right now:
- Around 90% to 95% of feedback is tremendously positive. They like you and want you to be successful. Hearing what your clients most value not only feels great but helps you continue to provide what they want and build on the positive momentum.
- Clients usually offer specific insights on communication and responsiveness preferences, which are typically easy to modify/fix if needed.
- They share meaningful feedback on your competitors and what they value or dislike about their experiences with other law firms.
- They have specific feedback on the team and inconsistencies they may have experienced or noticed when working with the firm more broadly.
- Clients love to talk about how outside counsel can add value to the relationship outside the day-to-day work, which is often overlooked but can be a crucial differentiator.
- They discuss fees and expectations and where they see ROI in the relationship.
- Clients talk about their organizations, departments, goals, strategies and priorities as well as how you might fit into future needs.
- They praise you for taking the time to listen and ask them about the relationship. They appreciate the investment and see the time spent as valuable.
As one client said, “This is actually the first time I have ever done this type of interview—all focused on us and how the firm can do better. That is impressive. I’ve been asked by tons of firms for Chambers interviews, but that is all about them. It’s very smart and impressive on their end to check in with their clients. It reminds me that I like them!”