Client Feedback Scares Many Attorneys
I often teach workshops on how to get your clients’ feedback on a shoestring budget (e.g. telephone and email surveys, etc). In preparing for a similar program recently, I ran across one of my 2002 Lawyers Weekly USA columns: “Ask Clients to Prepare an Attorney Report Card?!? Are You Crazy!?!” Yep, it was written 8 years ago, but is just as relevant (if not more so) in today’s world….and, worse, attorneys seem just as reluctant now as they were waaaay back in ’02 to ask for their clients’ brutally honest feedback. Is this because:
- we’re lazy,
- don’t think clients have the know-how to judge us properly,
- that we’re really scared of what they may say negative about us or
- that we really don’t get how invaluable such a resource is to us?
Whatever our reason for not providing several alternative ways for our clients to give us their ongoing and forthright feedback (and sooner than later hopefully), we are missing out on an enormously valuable marketing and planning tool. Who better than our clients to tell us how we’re doing and that includes what we’re doing right, what they appreciate most and whatever else we do to earn their loyalty. Client surveys – written, oral or otherwise – are not for the sole purpose of digging of all our faults per the client’s eye….they are also about finding out what we’re doing right to help ensure we recognize (and keep doing!) those things appreciated and valued by our clients. So as my 2002 article suggest, let’s put on our thick skins and begin soliciting more feedback from our clients….start with the next one you email or talk to by phone by asking one feedback-type question before hanging up or hitting the email “send” button (e.g. “How have I helped you most?” “Is there anyone at our office that stands out as one you can always count on to have a positive and helpful attitude?” “Would you feel totally comfortable recommending our firm to one of your friends, relatives or business associates?” )
If your firm hasn’t given client feedback an honest effort yet, I strongly recommend you make it a top priority over the next few months. You’ll find out who the comedians are, get some bogus feedback, and will absolutely gain some very useful bits of information from the best sources possible…those we serve. Let me know how it goes and if you don’t agree 1000% that it was worth the effort.
Enjoy your day in spite of any jerks who attempt to make it less than enjoyable for you! And please let’s all make and take time for whatever helps us de-stress, re-align our positive spirits, etc. As for me, our 4-legged family members …the horses, donkeys, dogs, cat…. help bring back my sense of humor and positive attitude whenever my plate gets overloaded from too much work or having to deal with too many toxic folks during any given day! And, thank heavens for a great sense of humor…some times it seems that’s all we have left for the moment.