The problem with traditional client feedback processes
Traditionally, formal feedback has only been collected at the end of a client project. While this provides an interesting snapshot of the client’s experience, actionable insights are being missed. For a start, while the feedback may ask about the entire experience, clients are most likely to remember the peak moments and the most recent moments.
This is called the peak-end rule. This rule reflects the cognitive bias people have when recalling past experiences. They are most likely to remember the peaks (whether positive or negative) and the most recent experiences (the end).
Client listening is evolving
If you only ask at the end of the matter – or worse, only once the invoice has been paid – then most of the day-to-day experiences have already been forgotten. As a result, the actionable insights that can come from the feedback are very low.
What’s worse, your clients know this.
They know that one-off feedback requests, made when it’s too late to respond to the feedback, are pointless. That’s why response rates are so low. Why go to the effort of sharing feedback, when it won’t make a difference?
Always be listening
That’s why forward-looking firms are adopting a different approach. They are seeking feedback throughout the client journey, from new enquiries and project inception all the way through to relationship surveys.
They’re moving to an always-on approach to client listening.
They know that the best time to ask about how clients found their firm, is at the start of the engagement. The best time to ask about how they can improve their experience is when they still have time to change things.
The 1st step in creating continuous feedback intelligence is always be listening. This means collecting feedback across the whole client journey using both formal and informal channels. This doesn’t mean sending lots of surveys. Instead, consistently ask 1 or 2 questions at different touch-points.
While onboarding a new client – “what was it that made you choose us?”
When a project starts – “what would a great experience look like to you?”
Halfway through a project – “how are we doing?”
You are probably asking these questions already. Future-proof client listening means asking all your clients and recording the responses.
As Fernando Antas da Cunha, Managing Partner at ECIJA said on the recent Briefing Legal podcast: “position your firm as an attentive listener, and ask clients what they’re really missing”
To come back to the question at the start of this post. Based on the Future of Client Listening benchmarking report by MyCustomerLens | feedback intelligence, just 26% of respondents said their firm asks for feedback during a matter.
Always-on client listening shows your clients that you care about their experiences. It also gives you a competitive advantage.