June 28, 2011 8:39 PM
Survey: Half of Law Firms Don't Seek Client Feedback
Posted by Dana Olsen
Law firms aren't listening to their clients, according to a survey released today by LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell.
More than 70 percent of law firms responded that client feedback affects the way their lawyers conduct business, according to the report, yet fewer than half--48 percent--formally solicit client critiques and just one-third communicate the feedback to lawyers.
The lack of effort is a missed opportunity for firms to improve and protect business, said Derek Benton, director of International Operations at LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell, in a statement announcing the survey results.
"Firms that proactively use insights given by clients are more likely to improve and protect a relationship in the longer-term," he said. "Corporate counsel report that one of their biggest frustrations is giving feedback that is neither properly fed back to relevant parties in the firm, nor acted upon."
The most surprising finding, said Benton, was the misconnect between the proactive firms and the indifferent. Thirty-eight percent of respondents said they failed to solicit client feedback because they lacked the staff and resources to do so, but 64 percent of those proactive firms said feedback programs consumed less than 5 percent of their marketing budgets.
The findings are based on responses gathered from 415 senior personnel--including managing partners, lawyers, marketing directors, and other director positions--at law firms worldwide.
According to respondents, firms that solicited feedback used the following methods:
•48 percent written/electronic surveys
•47 percent face-to-face interviews
•25 percent telephone interviews by client relationship partners as part of their management of key clients.
Other key findings:
•51 percent of firms said feedback is broadly and openly shared
•1/3 of firms communicate feedback to the lawyers and others who deal with the client(s)
A handful of firms have put a premium on client assessments. Ballard Spahr and Reed Smith recently hired client interviewers to manage a formal feedback process, according to a recent report from The Legal Intelligencer, a sibling publication. Drinker Biddle & Reath uses outside consultants to conduct client interviews.
Fifty-six percent of respondents reported that they have plans to conduct client feedback in the future, but the survey reports law firms may have a more stubborn problem than can be fixed with an electronic feedback form--56 percent of firms reported that their lawyers were either "ambivalent" or "not enthusiastic" about any attempts to actively communicate with clients.Make a comment