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MLM37 - How should negative reviews and feedback from clients be dealt with and utilised effectively?

Customer service is a distinguishing factor in today’s competitive legal landscape and is key to attracting and retaining clients. But what happens when a client isn’t satisfied and the feedback you receive is not as anticipated? How do you shift this negative into a positive, avoid losing your client and damaging your firm’s hard fought for reputation?

Organisational Culture

Striving for excellence must be a standard behaviour but mistakes happen. Ensuring your firm’s culture recognises this and encourages responsibility and openness rather than blames individuals for poor feedback is key. Where people are supported when reacting to a negative episode, research shows they are likely to report it, seek help from superiors and work with the client to resolve an issue and move a relationship forward.

Emotional Intelligence

Understand that a client may want to vent their frustration – let them. Listen to what the client has to say and use this information to address the complaint. Empathy matters, so don’t be frightened to apologise. Saying sorry doesn’t automatically mean a negligence claim but it will show you recognise and care about the client’s experience with your practice.

Digital comments

Increasingly, customers are airing their concerns not just to you directly but to the world on social media. Whether a comment on Twitter or a rant on a review site, speed is of the essence. Respond quickly online indicating you will address the matter, contact the client offline and move the conversation away from the public arena.

Review and act

Your review must retain the client at its heart. Get to the bottom of what has happened; where theremight not be a predetermined resolution process in place think laterally and assess solutions. Once you’ve determined a way forward, speak to the customer about it. This will reassure them that actionis under way and that they’ve been heard – here’s where you can convert a negative to a loyal customer. Once you have solved the issue share the learning to positively to train your team. This knowledge will minimise a repeat incident occurring.

Close positively

Once the matter is concluded let the customer know and check they are satisfied. Communicate your appreciation for them working with you to remedy the issue and thank them for their business – customers always appreciate the recognition. ENDS

Jonathan Silverman, Jt Managing Director, Silverman Advisory.

First published in Modern Law Magazine Issue 37

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