Client interviews are one of today’s hottest legal marketing topics. And these two little words—client interviews—raise a multitude of questions: What exactly do we ask? Who should conduct them? What if my attorneys are overly protective of their clients’ information? How do I gain internal buy-in and traction? What do we do with the information?
Client interviews are uncharted territory for many firms, so if you have not yet delved in, you’re not alone. That said, client interviews are by far one of the best ways to gain priceless feedback straight from your priority source – hearsay just won’t cut it! Over the next few weeks, I intend to address all of the above… and then some. (By the time you’re through with this blog series, you will know more than you probably ever cared to about client interviews.)
It is essential for law firms to have accurate information about how their clients evaluate existing and future legal needs, and how they assess the “value” provided by the firm and the attorneys with whom they currently work. Too often, firms and attorneys define the “value” they bring to the representation without regard to the client’s frame of reference, and there is often a great divide between the two perspectives.
- Provide invaluable data that can be used to identify and develop specific client retention and business development strategies.
- Allow law firms to bring in the voice of the client.
- Help firms gain understanding of exactly what clients like and dislike, allowing them to differentiate from the competition by addressing specific needs, and service and relationship issues identified directly by the client.
- Pave the way to increased revenue.
LPC recently conducted an interview on a client’s behalf and learned the firm’s client was considering moving all its work to another law firm. The reason: lack of responsiveness to administrative requests. The client assumed that the firm did not value the relationship. Upon receiving this interview feedback, the firm responded immediately and addressed the client’s specific concerns, and ultimately retained their $250,000 per year client. (Clearly not all interviews are this timely, but we can assure you without exception, that every interview will provide information that is beneficial to every firm.)
The numbers don’t lie. To begin with, clients like to be asked for their opinions. In fact, 96-100% of clients LPC interviewed said they approve and value client satisfaction surveys.
Second, recent studies indicate a growing dissatisfaction with outside counsel—another good reason to be sure your firm regularly asks for the feedback. The statistics are sobering:
- 22% of all law firm clients consider switching firms because of issues with their current firm.
- Typically only 25-30% of a firm’s clients are completely satisfied.
- Low satisfaction means that 70% or more of the firm’s clients may be open to pitches from competing firms.
- 60% of clients interviewed in person will give their law firm new business within 90 days after being interviewed.