When firms are contemplating launching (or recommitting to) a client feedback program, we often get asked where they should begin. We are champions of starting small or running a pilot around a select group to ensure you have processes, systems and support for client feedback. While lawyers can be skeptical on the value of client feedback, clients love it and are ready to share their insights, experiences and preferences for adding more value to the relationship. You want to make sure you are prepared to act on the feedback and invested in the follow-up.
Firms often believe they should start with their most valued or largest clients. While this is an important category for feedback, we don’t typically start there. Large (often institutional) clients are usually very well served and/or have many parties involved, making them more complex targets for kicking off a client feedback program. Instead, there are several buckets or pilot groups to consider. Groups or types of clients to consider when kicking off a client feedback program include:
- Leadership’s clients or contacts to show buy-in for the program and initiative
- Top 20-100 clients, which is a tier typically offering opportunities for both growth and improvement as well as great market insights
- Industry leaders or clients within an industry of importance to the firm
- Clients with large financial swings year over year, up or down, who are telling a story through their finances
- Clients who share values or initiatives with the firm, such as diversity, pro bono or industry alignment
- Lateral hire client bases or valued relationships that you want to bring over or keep at the firm
- Office or practice group deep dives
- Clients located in geographic growth areas
- Clients with a formal team within the firm
- Clients who have had changes (new leadership or GC, reorganization, growth or acquisition, selling of a business) within their company, organization or department
There is no perfect answer regarding where to start. However, client feedback is most successful when it aligns with a firm’s strategic goals and includes the support of firm leaders and lawyers interested in learning from their clients and acting on the feedback.