Client survey

Benefits and advantages of an underestimated marketing tool

As Professional Service Companies law firms particularly depend on professional client relationships because an important element of their range of services is to involve the client in the provision of services. In-depth knowledge of the client’s needs and on how to meet those needs are key success factors just like professional competence, the consultant’s responsiveness as well as the consulting and process quality of the law firm. In order to understand the client’s needs professional tools are necessary. One of the most important tools is the client survey which can be used for various purposes.

Insights from a client survey create a solid basis for strategic and operational projects.

Advantages of the client survey

  • Objectivity: No distortion of the results caused by oral communication or selective information or selective information
  • Consistency: All interviewees receive the same questions. gic and operational
  • Comparability: Different client surveys can be compared (as regards time, location, content). Thus, trends and changes can be identified.
  • Structure: Questions are structured according to thematic groups. It is possible to ask more detailed questions on individual topics.
  • Completeness: A complete list of questions is created, important questions are not left out.
  • Authenticity: The client’s direct opinion is important. Original statements are better than an indirect communication of the client’s opinion.
  • Written form: A questionnaire used for documentation purposes as well as comprehensive interview protocols are being developed.
  • Abstraction: The results are summarized and evaluated across law firms.

Possible topics for a survey

  • Needs: Identification of clients‘ needs
  • Positioning: Comparing the external image with the internal image of the law firm
  • Selection of a law firm: Important criteria from the client’s point of view
  • Competitive positioning: Ranking among competitors
  • Range of services: Introduction of new services
  • Service quality: Availability, responsiveness and speed
  • Geography: Proximity to the client and internationality
  • Up-selling and cross-selling: Identification of potentials
  • Pricing models: Acceptance of different pricing models
  • Recommendations: Specifically increasing the number of recommendations
  • Client retention: Reasons for losing clients and reactivation
  • Need for improvement: Identification of potential for improvement 
  • Added Value: Which services are of particular value to the client?

Secondary benefits

  • Raising awareness:
    • Especially when used for the first time
    • The client might be familiar with surveys because he already receives questionnaires from other service providers (banks).
  • Increasing mutual trust:
    • Interest in the client’s opinion and needs
    • Confidential treatment of the information from the client’s statements
  • Increasing client loyalty:
    • The client feels valued and rewards it with loyalty.
    • The client invests time to develop the client relationship so that he is less likely to switch.
  • Active cooperation/best practices:
    • Key client relationships serve as role model for improvements and newstandards
    • Services and processes can be better tailored to the client’s needs.

Objections to a client survey

  • „The client is annoyed“
    The high response rates (95 %) refute this statement. 90 % of the interviewed clients would like a survey every 2-3 years. 
  • „I know what my clients think“
    How can this knowledge be documented and used within the law firm? Surveys show that the self-assessment of one’s performance does not necessarily correspond to the assessment of the market.
  • „It only costs time and money“
    The direct benefits from potential extra revenue exceed the expenditures by a factor of 10. The time spent by one partner for one client amounts to only 0,5 h and is thus well invested time.

Course of a client survey

  1. Definition of objective: Setting an objective (What do you want to know from your client?)
  2. Target group: An ABC analysis can be used to segment and select clients. It is desirable but not always possible to interview all clients. The interviews will be conducted with managing directors, boards, entrepreneurs and the heads of the. legal or tax department
  3. Type of survey: The type depends on time, financial and human resources as well as on the defined target group. It has to be decided whether to conduct face-to-face, written, oral or online interviews and the advantages and disadvantages have to be weighed against each other.
  4. Duration of the survey: Type and scope of the survey determine the duration. However, the client should not be overburdened. 45 minutes are sufficient for a face-to-face interview.
  5. Questions: The questions can be asked in a free interview or on the basis of a questionnaire. When designing the interview questions the right scaling has to be taken into account. It is possible to focus on priorities by asking four to eight detail questions in each case.
  6. Analysis: Both qualitative and quantitative analyses are provided and the results are displayed graphically as well. This leads to various implementation approaches.
  7. Feedback to the client: Do not forget to personally thank all the interviewees. Partial results can be published.

Costs vs. benefits

When comparing costs (time and money) and benefits experience shows that benefits (extra revenue, client loyalty, recommend- dations) exceed costs by a factor of 10.


The entire project requires 2-3 months depending on the number of clients to be interviewed and the travel needs. It is advisable to conduct the interviews in the periods Jan. to March, April to June and Sept. to October because time periods for holidays and the preparation of financial statements have to be considered.

Our quotation modules

  1. Planning: Definition of objective, target group, type of survey and design of the questionnaire
  2. Carrying out the survey:
    • Face-to-face interviews ____ clients (price depends on time and travel needs as well as on the data preparation)
    • Written questionnaire ____ clients (price depends on mailing expenses and data preparation)
    • Telephone interview ____ clients (price depends on time needs and data preparation)
    • Online interview ____ clients (one-off price for setting up the online questionnaire)
  3. Analysis and presentation: Evaluation of the results, analyses and presentation (optional benchmarking: comparing your results with the results of your competitors)
  4. Implementation: Our recommendations for your law firm, individual implementation measures based on the results as well as feedback to the clients

We will be pleased to draw up a personalised quotation.

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