I am flabbergasted. I just opened up my first email this morning. It is from Joyce Smiley at JKS Company, and she sends a periodic report, also published online, Verbatim, What Clients Say. The lead paragraph states:
In a recent phone conversation with the name partner of a law firm, he claimed to be “skeptical” of conducting client satisfaction interviews. He compared the project to “going to the doctor for an unpleasant test” and would prefer to “put it off.”
The first thing that comes to my mind is the weekly ESPN segment, C’mon Man! Really? Such neanderthal views in 2013?
Llet’s start with the very basics. Your clients have views of your firm. They do–honestly. Your choice is to learn those views or not. The arguments in favor of not knowing are:
Okay, so there are no good arguments. There aren’t really any bad arguments either. So how about the arguments in favor of conducting client satisfaction interviews?
- Clients like them. A lot.
- They strengthen relationships, because talking about what can be done to improve relationships is what adults do.
- They identify weaknesses in your organization. Did you know that your star associate antagonizes the client’s staff? Maybe that is something you should know.
- They identify issues of concern on the client’s side. Did you know your client was becoming frustrated with the uncertainty in billing amounts and had tried a fixed fee firm–and liked it? Did you know your client had given work to an LPO and was happy with the outcome and thrilled with the cost?
There are many more reasons. But as I have said before, the existence of people like the name partner in Joyce Smiley’s post only makes life better for those who conduct such satisfaction surveys. Meanwhile, that partner is back in his office with his quill pen, rotary phone….