Shh – The client is speaking. What we’ve learned from our NPS surveys


I mentioned in my first blog post that our firm has very high NPS scores. I receive an email each time a client responds to our survey and so every day I receive feedback from our clients, which certainly helps to keep client service top of mind. It’s also really motivating to hear from clients how much they appreciate the hard work of our lawyers on their behalf.

I’ve had 17 responses in the last couple of days:

  • Nine (9) clients gave us a 10
  • Three (3) clients gave us a 9
  • Four (4) clients gave us an 8
  • One (1) client gave us a 6

As you might expect, the 6 is the one we really focussed on as soon as it came in, and thankfully the client provided some commentary along with the score:

“Need to have more regular communication with client to advise re progress on file. No law firm does this well but that’s no excuse.”

That’s helpful feedback and we reviewed the matter with the lawyer who did the work to discuss how we might have done things better to meet his expectations. Nobody felt harshly criticized and we can put that suggestion to work on future matters.

So clearly a law firm can learn from the specific responses that it receives from clients. I’ve also found that there is more we can learn from the full collection of responses.

One thing I’ve noticed over time is that clients who give us a 6 or lower, almost always provide a comment as well. Clients who give us a 10, many times they will include a message of appreciation and acknowledgement. If the score is 7 or 8, the comment box is usually blank. You hear from the people who didn’t have the expectations met, and you hear from the people who were delighted.

Those Passives who give us a 7 or an 8, they don’t give us any clues as to how to turn them into Promoters. We have to work harder to get that information.

Positive comments often reference cost, but negative comments almost never do. The fact that a bill that comes in lower than expected generates a positive NPS score is not surprising. We don’t get a lot of negative comments, but with all of the focus on the cost of legal services, I expected more comments from disappointed clients about their bills. In reality, those clients who gives us a lower NPS score almost never mention cost as the reason.

I’m sure that’s not the case at firms with much higher rates, but if our rates are competitive and in line with a client’s expectations, we need to focus on making the experience a great one – which means investments in tools that add value or make us easier to work with, vs. solely focusing on getting costs as low as possible.

I’ve also noticed that many of the positive comments are often given in relation to experiences with other firms. That was true of one of the comments this week:

“Transparency and general knowledge. Had a bad experience getting overcharged for advice from very junior lawyers, so the rating is relative to my prior experience.”

This client gave us a 10, but did the client really have an experience worthy of that score? Perhaps the bar had just been lowered following the past experiences described in the comment. If that’s the case and we want to have a long-term relationship with a delighted client, we will still need to get better.

Another comment from a client who gave us a 10 helps illustrate this as well:

“Quick to respond, took the time to understand our issue and recommended practical solutions.”

That’s great feedback, but it seems like a description of the basic expectations that every client should have, not a “wow” experience. As I mentioned in my first post, that’s the sort of experience that gets you a satisfied client who would recommend you, but not enough to get them to tell everyone about you. So strong NPS scores might mean there’s no fires to put out but there is still lots of room for improvement.

We’re still waiting for a client to ask for the ability to give us an 11. That’s what we want.

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