Certainly the overarching goal of a client interview program should be to obtain information that enhances your firm’s business development efforts by gaining insight into clients’ specific needs and objectives. That said, your firm should predetermine the specific, realistic, measureable goals and objectives that make sense for your respective program before implementing. Without laying out your own roadmap of goals to work toward, information gained during an interview could potentially be mishandled.
First and foremost, firms need to “start with the end in mind” by defining specific goals for action—an interview gives your clients the chance to literally lay out a roadmap of recommendations for how your firm can retain their business and/or enhance the relationship. However, if you don’t intend to act on and respond to the concerns/comments your client expresses during an interview, then don’t bother conducting one at all. As David Maister, who is widely acknowledged as a leading authority on professional service firm management, so aptly stated: “Years ago, clients thought that their lawyers really didn’t care about them. Then firms started to conduct client interviews, but didn’t respond to the client feedback. Now the clients have PROOF that the lawyers don’t care about them!”
Some additional questions that are fruitful when determining goals include:
- How many clients do we want to interview per month/year?
- Who are the clients we want to prioritize for interviews this year?
- What is our program budget?
- What will our reporting process be?
- How will success of this program be defined and measured?
The answer to these questions will be different for every firm, thus no two interview programs will be alike. Make sure your program goals are a perfect and attainable fit for your firm.
Once your goals are defined, it will be time to identify who will physically conduct each interview and how best to conduct. Stay tuned for LPC insights on the who and the how!