Weighting Responses to Client Satisfaction Surveys

Progressive law departments continuously seek feedback from their clients about how well the department is servicing them.  Even better, many law departments collect survey data so that they have metrics to back their conclusions.  My book, Client Satisfaction for Law Departments, covers this subject. 

A more subtle question, however, concerns whether a law department should weight the responses from certain clients more heavily than those from other clients.  Departments should try a weighting analysis.

For example, give the highest level of client respondents a 1.3 multiplier.  Whatever the most senior executives’ scores are, add into your calculations 30 percent more of those scores.  This adjustment will represent their high-level evaluations with more clout.  Thus, if three senior executives each give the department a score of 4.5 on responsiveness, for example, add a 0.9 respondent with 4.5.  The next level down of executives could have a weighting of 1.2, and so forth.

To gain another perspective, give more weight to client responses in proportion to their more significant involvement with the law department during the period covered.  A single question can elicit this degree of involvement.  For those who use the department the most, give their scores an additional weight, such as 30 percent.

(Someone might protest that those who do not use the law department are the ones that ought to get the most attention, because they may be putting the company at risk.  The problem with this is that it is difficult to detect unasked-for legal needs, until it is too late.) 

A law department enamored with statistics could adjust both elements – seniority and amount of experience.  Of the two, I grant more influence to seniority, for the simple reason that perceptions by senior executives of the department largely shape the company’s perceptions. 

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