A recent WSJ article lamented customer service is getting worse. While the article cited Forrester Research Inc.’s latest study noting a slight decrease in consumer customer experience scores, it is easy to see the same declining trend in positive sentiment towards customer experience in the client/law firm world as well.
In our research we shared in a March 2022 post, we reported on some alarming trends as they relate to the key variables that drive client loyalty. Clients’ perceptions of law firm bench strength had a slight downtick, the ability for firms to manage to a budget and communicate changes eroded and the number of firms that demonstrated an understanding of the client’s business and challenges had an alarming drop.
The only way to improve client service and the client experience is to engage the client in a client feedback exercise:
- Ask the important questions.
- Track the answers.
- Go back and ask how you are doing.
- Then adapt.
The most important part is taking the feedback and acting on it. Like anything, it takes practice, and you have to build habits. Some of the most innovative firms start the process at the beginning of the relationship during onboarding by asking a series of key questions for new clients.
So, as we find ourselves in the summer, with some clients heading back in the office and others adapting to a permanent remote or hybrid work, take the time to talk to your clients and ask the questions.
Ask the fundamental questions of what’s going in their world, how you can make their life easier and whether you are meeting their needs from a service, responsiveness and value perspective. Ask them how they define each of those topics as they relate to the work you do with them and for them.
And once you get the answer to those questions, share what you have learned. Share with colleagues who work for the same client, at practice and industry group meetings and with the professional team that supports the lawyers in delivering a positive experience.
Finally, take all that knowledge and be proactive. Identify trends in the client’s industry and area of work that might impact them and offer a path towards a solution. That’s the client experience that builds loyalty.