It seems that I wasn't the only one thinking (or writing) about client surveys and client satisfaction this week. Check out the post by Patrick Lamb of In Search of Perfect Client Service, entitled The One Question To Ask Clients When Doing Satisfaction Surveys. Lamb points to some other posts as well, and talks about whether an outsider can get more and better information from clients than a lawyer working with that client will get. But he also points out that whatever 'rating' a client gives to a firm, the true measure of what they think of the firm is whether they've referred any business to the firm.
Arnie Herz of Legal Sanity, in What We Need To Know About Our Clients points out the importance of becoming intimately familiar with a client's business in order to provide services that "reflect their corporate culture and aspirations."
Tom Kane of the Legal Marketing Blog also comments on client surveys in his post today Don't Let Your Ego Get In The Way of Good Advice. He echos the statements that that many lawyers either assume they already know what their clients think, or they're afraid to find out. But whether the issue is client surveys or marketing, Kane points out that lawyers often allow their egos to get in the way of learning from those who have expertise that lawyers may not possess themselves.
So many lawyers boast in their marketing materials, on their websites, in firm brochures, etc., that they provide 'excellent client service.' Ultimately, in order to back up those claims, law firms need to connect with their clients in meaningful ways - by staying in touch, by showing interest, by learning about the client's business, by anticipating clients' needs, by providing solutions that make sense from the client's point of view, and by checking back with clients to see whether they feel that we're doing enough. Sometimes the best way to serve our clients is to admit what we don't know and set about learning it - whether directly from them, or from other sources.