Don’t ask clients “How’d we do?” after routine services

Nat Slavin, the thoughtful editor of InsideCounsel, urges general counsel to keep their ear to the clients’ ground, InsideCounsel, March 2006 at 6. With that prescription, as the author of Client Satisfaction for Law Departments I have no quarrel.

I do push back, however, on Slavin’s exhortation to “create a short, online survey that leaders of the business units can fill out after they interact with the legal department.” To ask senior executives to go online and complete a questionnaire, no matter how brief, after an “interaction” – abominate that flaccid, over-used word, as I do “environment,” “synergy,” and “strategic,” but back to the point – imposes on leaders too much.

Post-mortems on major matters make sense; an annual satisfaction survey these days even bumps into client resistance to “yet another survey,” so the implied frequency of post-“interaction” efforts to assess “leaders’” attitudes lower satisfaction through alienation.

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