When the decision to interview a specific client has been made, the “relationship” attorney should contact the client to discuss the interview initiative and obtain consent. They will likely be flattered by the ask! Whether contact is made by phone, letter or email, it’s important to convey the following (not necessarily in this order):
- The interview initiative is a part of the firm’s commitment to client satisfaction.
- Interviews will last no longer than 45 minutes.
- Questions will be related to client service.
- Your firm greatly appreciates their time and participation.
- The insight they provide will further the relationship and help the firm to improve their counsel and representation.
- The interview is at the client’s place of business and, of course, the client is not billed for the time.
After the client has been informed, the individual who will actually be conducting the interview, be it a hired consultant or your marketing personnel, should then contact the client to schedule it. This provides an opportunity for rapport-building between interviewer and interviewee, and allows for initial conversation about what will take place during the interview.
Some additional guidelines:
- Discuss who from the client organization should attend— If there are more than two contacts, we recommend separate meetings. (Sometimes a corporate general counsel will want to attend even though he or she is not the primary contact.)
- Find out if there is anything specific your client would like to learn from the interview.
- Advise the relationship attorney and your interview committee when the interview has been scheduled.