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I participated earlier today in a discussion group on LinkedIn about client
surveys. This posting provides a few additional comments and observations
that would have made my comment on LinkedIn too long.
The question concerned whether a law firm should do its own client
satisfaction interviews or whether the firm should hire an outside service,
like Walker Clark, LLC.
Client interviews are a low cost tool, which, if done well, can provide a
big return in terms of strategic information about client expectations and
perceived competitive advantages for your firm. They can also generate new work
from existing clients.
They have some advantages over the more frequently used client survey:
The answer to the question Which method is better? is firm-specific
and usually based on practical, rather than strategic, factors.
Do it yourself
I slightly prefer having partners in the firm conduct the interviews
using a consistent agenda of questions. This is usually my starting
position when advising one of our clients how to manage an interview project.
Walker Clark sometimes provides coaching on interview techniques. We also can
help the firm to develop the agenda and to analyze the results.
Face-to-face or voice-to-voice interviews between partners and clients have
at least two advantages:
The principal concerns that our law firm clients have
mentioned about self-administered interviews are:
Notwithstanding my comments above, in a slight majority of the instances in
which our client law firms conduct client interviews, they ask us to do them.
The major advantages of third-party interviews are:
Which is better?
Usually the choice depends on practical issues, such as partner
availability, location of clients, and whether the firm has identified any
particular client-service issues that need to be explored candidly and in
Each method can produce accurate and reliable results, as well as significant
marketing and client relations benefits. Whichever method your firm
selects, it can produce a large return on a relatively small investment. Do not
allow practical issues to deter you from using this valuable strategic tool.
on the Walker Clark Worldview Blog.