3 Ways to Measure Client Happiness



Happy clients are return clients. This we know. And significant research shows that keeping customers as opposed to seeking new customers can have a real impact on your bottom line. According to a Harvard Business Review article, “acquiring a new customer is anywhere from five to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one. It makes sense: you don’t have to spend time and resources going out and finding a new client — you just have to keep the one you have happy.” The same article cites research from Bain & Company that shows increasing customer retention by just 5 percent can increase profits 25 to 95 percent. Here are three ways to tell if you have a happy client:

  1. They tell others about you.

    Yelp, Google, and Facebook are full of reviews from law firm clients who are either really happy or unhappy. There doesn’t tend to be many in-between. An Above the Law article on online reviews says “Since attorneys do not get the same volume of clients compared to restaurants and grocery stores, attorneys do not get a lot of reviews. This means that every client review is a big deal.”

    When your clients are happy, they can be your firm’s most prominent ambassadors, so making it easy for clients to leave you reviews is in your firm’s best interest. Whether it’s via an online review or a one-to-one referral, a happy client will be sure to spread the word. Bill Macaitus, the Chief Marketing Officer for software company Slack, sets a high bar for client satisfaction. He “is not fully satisfied if someone signs up for Slack. He is not fully satisfied if someone becomes a paying customer. [His] bar is will someone recommend Slack?”

  2. They tell you that they are happy with your work. 

    We know that the best way to find out if a client is happy is to ask – and we also know that it is better for lawyers to hear directly from clients about their experience with the firm, either good or bad, before the client shares that experience with the world. Finding ways to routinely ask for client feedback – or formalizing a mechanism that allows clients to regularly provide you with feedback – gives you great insight into what your firm is doing well, and other areas where you can improve.

    According to this American Bar Association article, there are added benefits, including a better understanding of your firm’s competitive position. “When asked, clients will often share what they think other firms are doing that the law firm asking for feedback should consider. It’s also eye-opening to hear a client’s perception of the firm’s scope and reach. Frequently, the client only knows a little bit about what the firm offers, not the full extent.”

  3. They hire you for something else. 

    A post on the Rainmaker blog accurately assesses the crux of developing repeat business, “Quoting a client, Nat Slavin, former publisher of Inside Counsel, said: ‘Smart is what gets you in the door. How you manage the relationship is what keeps you inside.’ The relationship is what builds loyalty.” Nurturing client relationships is a critical component of law practice management. When we talked about converting short-term customers to long-term clients, we talked about how long-term clients naturally trust you and your skillset. While your competency and proficiency in a particular area of law will get the client in the door, meeting and exceeding their expectations will ensure that they return.

Generally speaking, you won’t know if your clients are happy unless you ask. But you will definitely know if your clients are unhappy. Communication and keeping clear and open lines of communication with clients is really the best way to know if your client retention is a cause for concern.

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