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Legal Business

Good surprises

Are you better than you think you are?

One of the most unpleasant surprises in the practice of law is to learn that a client is dissatisfied with something that you believed that you did quite well. Bad news like this is unwelcome, but it can be the first step to managing a major vulnerability.

The opposite phenomenon can be equally detrimental to realizing your firm's full market potential: when clients admire a strength that you don't know that you have.

These good surprises happen. In a strategic business development survey that our firm recently conducted for a midsize full-service law, the partners accurately identified some of the client service characteristics for which clients their firm highly. However, clients also rated the firm much more highly that the partners rated themselves in other high-priority areas.

Not only did the firm score high marks in these other areas. Clients also strongly agreed that, in most of these "surprise" strengths the firm's performance was much better than other firms in the market.

Although some clients are quick to offer well-deserved praise, as well as to complain, many more clients do not provide feedback unless asked - or unless the firm has done horribly. Without a reliable, systematic channel of client feedback, the first sign of a problem might not be until the unhappy client instructs you to send the file to another law firm.

Well-designed client surveys are not just a way to learn about vulnerabilities in client service or professional quality. They are also an excellent way to discover and develop "hidden" competitive advantages that can help transform a good law firm into a market leader.

Read more on the Walker Clark Worldview Blog.


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