July 26, 2020

This post:

  • Questions why some of us are not regularly seeking our clients’ feedback;
  • Suggests some reasons why we really need to gather such data; and
  • Offers a link to a sample “Client Questionnaire” to help get you started.

I have taught many workshops through the years on how to gather clients’ feedback on a shoestring budget (e.g. telephone, online, email surveys, etc).  I recently ran across one of my 2002 Lawyers Weekly USA columns: “Ask Clients to Prepare an Attorney Report Card?!? Are You Crazy!?!” Yep, it was written many years ago, but it is just as relevant (if not more so) in today’s world….and, worse, attorneys seem just as reluctant now as they were waaaay back in ’02 to ask for their clients’ brutally honest feedback.  Is this because:

We’re lazy?

We don’t think clients have the know-how to judge us fairly and properly?

Are we really scared of what they may say negative about us? or

Do we just not “get” what an invaluable resource client feedback is?

Whatever our reasons for not providing several alternative ways for our clients to give us their ongoing and forthright feedback (and sooner than later hopefully), we are missing out on enormously valuable marketing, self-improvement and planning data.   Who better than our clients to tell us how we’re doing and that includes what we’re doing right, what they appreciate most and whatever else we do to earn their loyalty.  Client surveys – written, oral or otherwise – are not for the sole purpose of digging of all our faults per the client’s eye….they are also about finding out what we’re doing right to help ensure we recognize (and keep doing!) those things appreciated and valued by our clients.  A very simple starter sample of a client questionnaire can be viewed by clicking here.

So as this minimally updated version of my 2002 article recommends, let’s put on our thick skins and begin soliciting more feedback from our clients….start with the next one you email or talk to by phone by asking one feedback-type question before hanging up or hitting the email “send” button (e.g. “How have I helped you most?”  “Is there anyone at our office that stands out as one you can always count on to have a positive and helpful attitude?”  “Would you feel totally comfortable recommending our firm to one of your friends, relatives or business associates?”)

If your firm hasn’t given client feedback an honest effort yet, I strongly recommend you make it a top priority over the next few months.  You’ll find out who your wannabe comedian clients are, likely get at least some bogus feedback, and will absolutely gain a good bit of very useful information from the best sources possible…those we serve.  Let me know how it goes. And, if you don’t agree 1000% that it was worth your efforts, please let me know that too.

Enjoy your day in spite of any jerks who attempt to make it less than enjoyable for you!  And please let’s all make and take time for whatever helps us de-stress, re-align our positive spirits, etc.  We need to take care of ourselves more than ever with Covid-19 and what seems like a zillion other worldly stresses and challenges these days.

As for me, our 4-legged family members …the horses, donkeys, dogs, cat…. help bring back my sense of humor and positive attitude whenever my plate gets overloaded from too much work or having to deal with too many toxic folks during any given day!  And, thank heavens for a great sense of humor…some days it seems that’s all we have left to hang onto, doesn’t it?

About the author 

Nancy Byerly Jones

Nancy Byerly Jones and her husband reside on their mountainside ranch (“Little Hee Haw Farm”) with an energetic “family” of horses, donkeys (large and miniature), dogs and cats. Their favorite pastime is sharing the joy and fun of their animals and ranch life with their family, friends and clients.

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