Are Your Clients Satisfied? Ask Them.

client satisfaction surveyMost lawyers are quite sure that their clients are satisfied. If you ask them why they are so sure, the most likely response is, “I just know they are.” Well, how do they know?

In fact, these lawyers really don’t know. They just think they know perhaps because their clients pay their bills and return to do more business with them.  From that, they reason that their clients must be satisfied with the legal services provided. If their clients weren’t satisfied, lawyers believe, they would neither pay nor come back. Although this seems logical, a closer look shows that the logic is flawed.

Survey Time

Let’s do a survey. First question:  How many of you have been with the same cell-phone provider for more than five years? If you’re like me, it’s probably been more than a decade. I’ve been with AT&T since I got my first cell phone, which was a very long time ago. I can’t even remember exactly.

Next question:  Do you pay your cell-phone bills promptly?  You must, or you wouldn’t have been with the carrier for more than five years!

Final question:  Are you satisfied with your cell-phone carrier? Yeah right. None of us likes our carrier; in our opinion, they all stink. I hate AT&T, but I have no reason to think that Verizon or Sprint would be any better.

By now, you should be able to see where I’m heading. If asked, “are you satisfied with your lawyer,” how many of your clients would respond, “Yeah right. None of us likes our lawyer; in our opinion, they all stink. But I have no reason to think that other lawyers would be any better.” Probably more than you care to admit. Face it, there’s a reason why there are so many lawyer jokes.

Are you vulnerable?

But would these clients actually go to another attorney? Under certain circumstances, they might.

Your clients may try another attorney if they perceive that your competition provides better value or service.  I stick with AT&T even though I am unhappy with its value and customer service because no one has ever been able to convince me the others are any better.

I’ve read countless ads by AT&T’s competitors promising me a better family plan or unlimited data usage, somehow making it appear to be a good value. But deep down I know that, once the bill arrives, I will have been nickeled-and-dimed with hidden charges. As for customer service, when did you last hear someone rave about the service provided by a cell-phone provider?

If one of your competitors can get out the message, either through referrals or marketing efforts, that it actually provides better value or client service to its clients than you do, you may be vulnerable. That’s the bad news. The good news is that most of your competitors are probably no better than you are when it comes to providing value and superior client service. Your book of business may therefore be safe.

Opportunity Knocks

But why take that chance? Instead of assuming that your clients are satisfied, why not simply ask them? If they aren’t, you’ll be able to address any concerns so they don’t jump ship. Better still, why not become one of those lawyers who provide extraordinary value and client service – one of those lawyers who successfully poach business from competitors who assume that all of their clients are satisfied. Now, there’s an opportunity.