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Client Feedback, Service & Teams
2 minute read | 5 months ago

You Can’t Not Be Responsive

Photo of Laura Meherg By: Laura Meherg

In 2022 and 2023, 92% of the clients we interviewed on behalf of law firms said their firms “exceed expectations” regarding responsiveness. Of the remaining responses, 5% were neutral and 3% were disappointed in their outside counsel’s responsiveness. Responsiveness is also typically the highest scoring category in our electronic feedback surveys. The current average for law firms is 6.1 on a 7-point scale. Responsiveness is a hallmark of firms with high-quality client service strategies. This makes it a challenging area to differentiate in, but it’s a dealbreaker when it’s missing. In today’s 24/7 world, accessibility and responsiveness are baseline expectations. As clients have told Wicker Park Group:

  • “If I need them, they are easy to get ahold of. Things happen fast, so it’s very important to have partners that act fast and respond timely.” 
  • “Responsiveness is the easiest way to either lose a client or maintain a long relationship. Lawyers don’t make products. They sell their expertise and their time. If they are not responsive, they can’t sell either.”
  • “I needed an urgent response, but they made sure they understood the reasons for the urgency and what I really needed. They followed up to make sure we were on the same page and got clarity about what was needed rather than succumbing to the urgency.”

While the importance of responsiveness is not surprising, I was struck by how frequently retention issues and depth of talent impact responsiveness. Most teams are extremely responsive when there is a real sense of urgency, but responsiveness can lag with routine matters:

  • “Given the large amount of work I’m sending and the small group of people I work with, they do a pretty good job of being responsive. But I can feel their lack of scalability, so before I send them too much volume, I curtail it on my side.”
  • “The only issue (with responsiveness) is if someone is out sick. They have so much knowledge embedded with a few people that it would take some time to get other people up to speed. [The attorney] was out sick recently, and it takes time to get questions answered.”
  • “There’s a bit of a delay sometimes, but it ebbs and flows, and it’s the same across all firms. At times when they are constrained, we see it. But when we have a high-pressure situation like a litigation, they are extremely responsive.” 

You can’t not be responsive and compete today—it’s not an option.