Like any legal practitioner, legal departments need client feedback in order to provide effective and appropriate services. Although client input is a crucial part of the process of advising and representing clients, few lawyers seek out or use client feedback systematically, according to a recent article from the American Bar Association.
When legal departments don’t prioritize client feedback, they miss the opportunity to provide more efficient and effective services. They also deprive clients of the benefits of providing such input.
Eliciting Client Feedback: Who Benefits?
Client feedback benefits both legal departments and clients. Departments benefit by:
- Gaining insight into where services are effective and where the department can improve in service delivery,
- Gathering information to support decisions on expansion, practice area growth, areas of focus, and delivery of services,
- Identifying both potential problem areas and potential opportunities within the organization as a whole, before emergencies or lost chances occur.
In addition to these “first-tier” benefits, departments benefit when clients benefit – and clients who are encouraged to give regular feedback benefit in several ways. These include:
- Investing more deeply in the relationship between the legal staff and the client, making clients more willing to share risk, partner in key initiatives, and contact the staff for help before a small problem becomes a big one,
- Aligning client expectations with legal department’s delivery of services and potential results,
- Improving value and service quality as clients learn how to work effectively with the legal department.
How Can Our Department Improve Its Reception of Feedback?
Legal departments can gather client feedback in a number of ways. The methods that will work best for any one department depend on its structure, its budget, and the overall company culture. Options include:
- Visiting clients to discuss outstanding or completed matters, short- and long-term client plans, and other matters,
- Surveys and questionnaires. These may be written or verbal, given by the department or by a third party, and scheduled to coincide with important points in the process, such as when a matter concludes.
- End-of-matter meetings. Gather the entire legal team together with the client to discuss what went well and what needs to improve.
At Assigned Counsel, our experienced recruiters can help you find the people you need to improve client feedback, productivity, and effectiveness of services. Contact us today to learn more.