I was reading an article today called, “What do clients want from their lawyers?” by Clark Cunningham. It started off by sighting an American Bar Association Report that said 70% of Big Companies are dissatisfied with their primary outside counsel. The report stated that neither outcome nor cost of service were the cause of discontent. When asked, “What is one thing that just drives you crazy?”, more than half said poor communication.
What clients want goes beyond returning phone calls, replying to emails or even professional representation. Clients want a better relationship with their lawyers. They want to know that they are being represented by someone they trust and who really understands their unique situation.
The most successful law firms verify client satisfaction frequently, both formally and informally, to ensure they are meeting or exceeding the expectations of those they choose to serve. However, only 15% of the General Counsels said surveys were regularly administered. Ninety percent (90%) said they would participate if asked.
Creating a systematic process for gathering client feedback was highly recommended by this article. It also revealed that most law firms did not know their clients were dissatisfied until it was too late to repair the damage. It went on to say the self-perceptions of those large firms are rarely shared by the marketplace. As a result, large corporations have been increasing the number of secondary firms they use.
I know the General Counsels of large companies may not be your target market, but there may be an opportunity to earn the right to win some of that secondary business. I also believe the idea of regularly soliciting client or co-worker feedback is something that can bring out the best in all of us. If you agree, pick one person you have been serving, create a few open-ended questions and schedule a time for a positive conversation.
Let’s Get Better. Together! Bill Durkin