The Top Ten Customer Service Questions That Lawyers Might Ask Their Clients
By Alvah Parker
Submitted March, 2006
As program chairperson of my SCORE* chapter I am always looking for new presenters to address the group. I frequently ask my fellow business counselors to give me some ideas.
In August one member approached me with an idea. He suggested inviting some of the clients that the counselors had worked with this year to give us some feedback on our counseling techniques -both the highs and the lows.
Five clients were invited to our meeting and the first 5 questions of this Top Ten list were asked. We learned a lot from the answers we got.
Here is a list of 10 questions you could use. Select a few that suite your situation. The key is to ask the question and then allow the client uninterrupted time to answer.
What was the greatest benefit you derived from my service?
This question helps you to understand what is working. Sometimes you will be surprised by the answer. Our SCORE chapter has a limit of 3 counselors at one location to counsel one client. Our client panelists said the more counselors the better! We have now eliminated the restriction on the number of counselors.
What would you like to see more of when you work with me?
For our session the panelists told us some counselors introduced themselves by telling about their business background during the sessions while others did not. The clients said they wanted to hear the qualifications of the counselors who were working with them. Are you forgetting to be consistent when delivering your product or service to your clients?
How could I improve my service?
Clients often have ideas that are easy to implement but somehow you haven’t thought of it. SCORE does both email and face to face coaching. These were face to face clients who wondered if they could get support between sessions through email. Easily done now that we know it might be helpful. (Our email addresses are on our SCORE business cards!)
Is there anything you would like to see me stop doing?
This question gives the client the opportunity to tell you about something that isn’t useful to him or her. It was suggested in our session that sometimes it is difficult for the business owner to meet with the counselor because the owner can't leave his / her place of business. The SCORE clients wondered if it would be possible for the counselors to occasionally not meet at the Chamber of Commerce Office and meet them at their own place of business. The answer was "Yes". Again not something we had thought to offer.
Is there anything you didn't get from my service that you were looking for?
Here is an opportunity for the client to tell you other services that you might provide. If you are looking for ways to expand your offering this question is important. In the SCORE session one client wanted to know how he might get a counselor who actually worked in or owned the specific type of business that he had. Access to a database of the counselors in our chapter and their background would be helpful to the counselors and our clients. We will be putting one together.
Has my staff treated you with care, attention, and courteousness?
This would be an important question to ask for a service provider with an administrative staff. Clients don't always complain about their experience with your staff but might share something significant when asked.
Is there an issue that I have not spent enough time on for you?
Sometimes clients allow you to move forward but are still thinking about a previous issue. This kind of question helps them to revisit areas they may have not understood and still have an unanswered question.
Am I doing what you want me to do?
Most of the time we are doing what we think the client wants. It is good to check once in a while to find out if you are actually doing what the client wants.
Where have we been less than proactive in addressing your concerns?
It may be that the client is expecting you to move into different areas that you think are being covered by others. Being proactive to the client may have a broader definition than you are using. Asking this question might uncover new business.
Is our billing clear? Are you getting value for your money?
The bill is often a source of anxiety for the client. He / she needs to know exactly what he / she is being billed for. Does your bill show that? This final value question is critical to insuring your client is satisfied with your product or service.
*SCORE – This is an organization that is part of the Small Business Administration in the US. SCORE volunteers are experienced managers and business owners who counsel small business owners without charge.
About the Author: Alvah Parker is a Practice Advisor to attorneys and Career Coach as well as publisher of Parker’s Points, an email tip list and Road to Success, an ezine. Parker’s Value Program© enables her clients to find their own way to work that is more fulfilling and profitable. While she specializes in working with attorneys she also works with other professionals, and coaches people in transition. Alvah is found on the web and may also be reached at 781-598-0388.
Copyright © 2006 Alvah Parker.All rights reserved. No portion of this article may be reproduced without the express written permission of the copyright holder. If you believe you may lawfully use a quotation, excerpt or paraphrase of this article under the Fair Use exception to copyright law, except as otherwise authorized by the author of the article, you must cite this article as a source for your work and include a link back to the original article from any online materials that incorporate or are derived from the content of this article.