It’s easy to make decisions in your firm based on what you think your clients want, or on what the other firms in your community are doing, but how do you know what your clients really want from your firm? The best way to find out is to ask them.
Here’s an exercise your firm can engage in: sit down with your staff and list out what you believe are your firm’s top ten competitive advantages. Then, ask your clients, either directly or in the form of a survey, what they think your firm’s top ten competitive advantages are. The differences may surprise you. They’re the “dangerous disparity,” and they’ll let you know whether or not you’re staying in sync with your client’s needs.
Periodically, you need to ask your clients to give your firm a checkup on the basics, like the level of customer service they’re receiving from employees; and whether the overall experience they’ve had with your firm falls below, meets, or exceeds their expectations. Clients won’t volunteer this information to you — you have to ask. And you’d be wise to… they may not be telling you how they feel about they’re firm, but they’re telling other people. On average, if a client has a good experience with your firm, they’ll let three other people know about it. If they have a bad experience, eleven other people are going to hear how horrible your firm is.
You can even take it a step further, and get some of your clients engaged in part of the decision–making process in your firm. It can be helpful to have a few trusted clients give you their thoughts on prospective programs or ideas you plan to implement. Their opinions and reactions can save your practice time and money because instead of engaging in trial and error by guessing what your clients want, you’re taking the simplest route… asking them.
Sanford M. Fisch
CEO & Co-Founder
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
6050 Santo Rd., Ste. 240
San Diego, CA 92124