Client Interviews: Think Defensively

Client Interviews: Think Defensively

I have advocated for years the need for client satisfaction interviews as a means of keeping competitors from pirating your clients. Not only do these surveys, especially in-person ones, help to solidify the client relationship, but they let a firm know about any client dissatisfaction before the client departs for another firm.

But, there is another angle that firms should consider. It has to do with determining the value of the relationship the firm has with the client vs. the main contact lawyer. In other words, if the responsible attorney would leave the firm for another, would the client stay or go. If the client is an "important" client (and which one isn't these days), the firm might just want to try to solidify the loyalty to the firm itself.

Joyce Smiley in her September newsletter has a piece about lateral hires retaining clients from their old firm. Her article tells the story about a partner that left and then was concerned the client might not stay at his new firm. She tells the story to emphasize the importance of strategic client interviews. The interviews can work the other way as well.

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