Asking for client feedback can seem confronting. In fact, many, if not most of us, would prefer not to know at all rather than be faced with the reality that a client didn’t like our service. But there are so many reasons to ask your clients what they think of you.
1. It can force people to take a view.
Research suggests that asking people for their opinions can induce them to form judgements that they otherwise wouldn’t. For example, they may be forced to think properly about your services and conclude that they really do like it. These opinions can then influence behaviours even months later – just the act of asking your client for feedback can deliver a broad and sustained positive impression.
2. It can build awareness
Client feedback provides an opportunity for you to increase your client’s awareness of your firm’s services and the type of clients you work with. As a result you can better position your firm for future engagement or recommendations.
3. It can reinforce positive thoughts and feelings
Client feedback surveys appeal to client’s desire to be valued and listened to. This reinforces positive feelings they may already have about the surveying firm.
4. It can allow others to get recognition
Clients like to give feedback on individuals because it allows them to praise good work and recognise individuals – especially those in support roles such as junior lawyers or administrative staff.
5. It can reveal valuable intelligence
If a client loves your work then feedback surveys can often deliver great insights about your competitors or other service providers. They will compare the great service experience they have with you to others and let you know where they went wrong.
6. It can give you a sounding board
If a client is representative of your market or your ‘typical’ client relationship, then face-to-face feedback session can provide the perfect opportunity for you test ideas or sound out one of your firm’s strategies.
7. It can provide insights for future growth
If a client is atypical then a feedback discussion gives you both an opportunity to talks about how you came to meet and why you chose each other. Perhaps this path can be replicated for future work?
8. It can help contain badmouthing
If a client wasn’t happy with your services, then a feedback discussion can give them an opportunity to table their issues and help contain any negative word of mouth.
9. It can put down a marker
A feedback discussion can be a transition point in your relationship. After you have debriefed about a transaction you may then find the opportunity to talk about future plans.
10. You’ll become a better person.
You‘ll learn lessons from client feedback you can share with other clients. You’ll build a bank of stories to share to help you establish rapport and empathy with a wider range of individuals. All in all, you’ll become a better listener, as well as much more interesting.
Finally, it’s worth remembering that there are generally two types of feedback: the first concerns the overall relationship with your firm or individuals. The second is feedback on a matter or transaction. To get the best possible results, always make sure your firm gathers both.
About Sue-Ella Prodonovich
Sue-Ella is the principal of Prodonovich Advisory, a business dedicated to helping law and accounting practices sharpen their business development practices, attract and retain clients and become more profitable.
As a reader of the FilePro newsletter, Sue-Ella will review your client feedback questionnaire for free. If you’d like to take her up on this offer, please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org before 30 June 2015.