Cloud-based customer service application ZenDesk recently released their quarterly Customer Service Benchmark, compiling and comparing customer satisfaction scores from more than 25,000 companies across 140 countries.
Whether it’s the renowned politeness, the charming accent, or the maple syrup consumption, Canada placed second on the list with a customer satisfaction score of 92%—behind only New Zealand. Clio’s score? A full percentage point higher than the Canadian average, clocking in at 93%. These metrics help us work towards improving law firm customer service, wherever we are.
As legal service providers face increasing competition, delivering exceptional client service can be a great way—indeed, the ONLY way—to distinguish yourself from your competitors and generate positive word-of-mouth referrals. And as the only Canadians in this particular room, we’re going to share some of the secrets that allow us to deliver such exceptional service to OUR customers—secrets that you can then apply to your own practice to wow your clients.
First, an important question: do you even care about client satisfaction? Honestly? If not, I’d argue that you might be a great lawyer, but you are a poor businessperson: justice is blind, but your client’s vision is 20/20. Client satisfaction isn’t just tied to whether you help your client achieve their objective or not (though this helps), it runs through every aspect of the client experience.
Make client satisfaction a cornerstone of your law firm culture and ensure that absolutely every employee buys in. Online shoe retailer Zappos grew from modest beginnings to $1B in sales by adhering to one ethos: ‘Customer Service isn’t just a department’. At Clio, we take a similar attitude—whether you work in ‘customer service’ or not, every employee is dedicated to ensuring that our customers walk away from every interaction amazed by the company, the people, and the product we provide. Stay focused on keeping every client satisfied, and the profits will follow.
In the era of customer service, a delayed response time (or even worse, no response at all) can kill the client experience. Make sure you’re setting clear, public-facing guidelines for when a client can expect a response via either email, phone, social media, chat, or any other support channel you use, and then meet and exceed those guidelines. A good rule of thumb is ‘under-promise and over deliver’, but keep in mind that in this day and age client expectations are narrowing the window for an appropriate response time.
Are you collecting the data necessary to measure client satisfaction? Does your firm conduct exit interviews or surveys to see where your client service can be improved? If you’re not measuring client success, you’re flying blind. Tools like SurveyMonkey or Client Heartbeat make it easy to create satisfaction surveys, deliver them, and measure results. Or you can go analog and simply give the client a call. In a great blog post on ‘Lawyering as a Service’, eDiscovery startup Logikcull listed questions to ask your client, including:
- “What initially drew you to our firm?”
- “Why did you decide to stop doing business with our firm?”
- “What, in your opinion, would you have changed with our service?”
- “What are other firms, like us, doing that you think we should be doing too?”
The post also included great instructions on how to measure your Client Satisfaction Score – a valuable quantitive statistic that will give you a great idea of your firm’s overall client satisfaction. Once you have the data, make sure you’re acting on it—identify problem areas where your firm can perform better and improve them.
A satisfied client can be your best marketing tool, and a dissatisfied client can be the biggest deterrent to other clients coming in the door. Monitor social media, review sites, blogs and forums to see what clients are saying about you, and respond appropriately to negative reviews. We cover some tips on dealing with review sites in this post.
If and when a negative review appears; don’t lash out. Don’t delete it. View negative reviews and customer complaints for what they are: opportunities to take your firm’s client service to the next level. Lastly, keep in mind that just because a client is paying the bill (if they aren’t, that’s a whole other problem) doesn’t necessarily mean they’ve been satisfied with your service.