Solo practitioners, attorneys who are part a small legal firm or even those employed with behemoth national groups are well aware that their best source of future business is their current client base. While the most efficient way to increase billings is to sell more services to existing clients, that only works for so long.
To fuel the growth that takes a firm to the next level, you need quality referrals from existing clients to new parties. How likely are your clients to refer to their friends and colleagues? You can’t answer this question with what you think or what you feel. You need hard, cold data – the kind that comes from a client satisfaction survey.
According to one leading legal industry consulting firm, there is no other marketing tool that comes close to a client satisfaction survey for giving you measurable insight into your client relationships. Of all investments of a firm’s marketing budget, none is as cost effective as a client satisfaction survey.
If you think a client satisfaction survey is just a “feel good report card,” you are selling survey results short. A well-designed survey instrument can serve as an early warning system to alert you to the fact that:
- A key client is not satisfied with your work or service.
- You are leaving money on the table by not meeting all of your clients’ needs.
Savvy attorneys also use client surveys to spot cross-selling opportunities, send out “test balloons” about new services under consideration, and identify competitors’ weaknesses.
Here are a few basics to consider as you get started with surveys:
- Set a clear goal for the survey and communicate that in the survey’s introduction.
- Choose a client satisfaction survey template based on best practices to get started.
- Survey fatigue is real – ask no more than five questions.
- Email may be the optimal way to reach clients rather than taking their time with a phone call or asking them to fill out a paper form.
- Use your blog or website as a place to launch the survey but don’t have it pop up every time someone comes to your site – that’s just plain annoying. You are tracking your unique site visitors, right?
- Survey at the right time. After a legal matter has concluded, on the anniversary of the client’s first use of the firm or annually are all opportune times to conduct a survey. You might also consider surveying clients who have discontinued their relationship with you to determine why they left and if the door is open to reinvigorate the relationship.
- Create a graphical representation of your survey results rather than a narrative-driven format. Sometimes, facts become more obvious in graphical form.
Once your survey is complete, set aside time to analyze the results and act on them. Failing to implement corrective action can be more damaging to your firm than not surveying your clients in the first place. When clients take their time to flag a problem for you, they expect to see it resolved or at least addressed.