As a service professional, your clients are your greatest source of information on how you’re doing in the area of providing superior client service as well as how you can improve. If you want to maximize your potential and are willing to take steps to transform the ways in which you deliver your services, a client satisfaction initiative can provide a detailed roadmap on how to better serve the needs of your existing clients.
Why Conduct A Client Satisfaction Survey?
- You will expand and strengthen existing relationships with current clients. Asking for feedback and suggestions lets your clients know you care about what they want and are committed to making changes in order to retain their business.
- Your clients will help you identify gaps in your service offerings as well as identify opportunities for new services or to assess geographic expansion opportunities
- Cross-marketing opportunities are revealed by determining client awareness of the services you offer and by uncovering needs that are being met by your competitors
- You will identify the marketing efforts that have an impact on your clients’ purchasing decisions and those that don’t
- You will discover the most effective and appreciated forms of communication with your clients as well as the topics of greatest interest to them
What to Include in Your Survey
Identify what you want to learn from your clients. Broad survey topics include:
- Overall reputation of the firm
- Reputation of the firm’s specific practice areas
- Professional expertise
- Billing rates, fees, and billing statements
- Proactive approach to handling client matters
- Perceived value of services provided
- Accessibility, timeliness, and returned phone calls
- Working relationships with other professionals in firm
- Communication style/keeping the client informed
- Responsiveness to email messages
- Telephone and voicemail system effectiveness
- Ethics and integrity of professionals
- Inspiring trust and confidence
- Creativity and problem-solving on complex business issues
- Your client’s perception of who you compete with
- How the firm might expand its representation of the client
- Willingness of satisfied clients to refer business to the firm
- The firm’s greatest strengths
- The firm’s opportunities to improve service
- How effective firm communications are (website, newsletters, seminars, etc.)
- Overall client service rating of firm professionals and staff
- Likelihood of your clients to refer more business to you and your firm
There are a number of ways in which you can find out how your clients feel about you and your firm. Each method will require varying levels of resources, and yield different kinds of results. Watch for our next blog posts that will cover the pros and cons of various format options for your survey including mail, web-based, telephone interviews, focus groups, and in-person interviews.
The Survey Process
- Randomly select an appropriate cross section of clients to survey
- Introduce survey to clients – Formal letter or email
- Conduct the survey
- Analyze the results
- Thank participants and communicate results – Usually formally, by mail
- Develop an action plan to implement findings:
- Communicate results to firm members
- Communicate results to clients!
- Post results on your website
Make sure you commit to acting on any negative feedback you receive. Clients can become frustrated if you ask for their suggestions on improvement, then continue on business as usual. One good test to see if you are ready to survey your clients, is to gauge the firm’s commitment to actually improving business processes based upon the results.
Terrie Wheeler and Kristy Gusick are business partners and the owners of Professional Services Marketing, LLC, a strategic marketing agency for lawyers and financial advisors. Professional Services Marketing is a big-picture, clear-thinking, practical marketing agency that partners with you to create and implement a comprehensive marketing strategy sourced from your strengths, aligned with your time, ability, and resources, and aimed directly at helping you build a prosperous, sustainable future.