Focus on Quality of Experience

Lots of lawyers claim to be “results-focused.”  Clients want good results, after all, and marketing yourself as one “focused” on delivering them has got to be a lot better  (to clients, anyway) than being “timesheet-focused.”  However, I think  many lawyers who focus only on the result are hurting their clients (and their own practices).  Let me explain:

Most clients get just one “result” in their matter:  it could be a divorce, a home purchase, or a settlement check.  Until that moment — which can take months or years to achieve — they wait.  They get bills.  They attend hearings.  They read letters and go to meetings.  But they don’t know for certain what’s coming in their case until it finally arrives.

So what do clients focus on every day while awaiting their result?  They focus on the quality of their experience:  Does their lawyer return their calls?  Does he validate their parking or give them a hot cup of coffee while they wait in his waiting room?  Does he communicate everything he’s doing on their case and bill them fairly?

And because they don’t have any “results” to share with others, they share their experience instead:

Bill:  “How’s your case coming?”

Wendy:  “Not sure.  I’m still hoping to hit the jackpot, but my attorney is an ass and never calls me back.”

So what’s an attorney to do?  Start by focusing on something more than just the quality of your clients’ results.  Focus on their quality of their experience as well.

Here’s how:

1.  Looking at the chart above, realize that for every client, there are two distinct parts of their legal matter:

  • The Quality of their Result (QoR) speaks for itself, and is measured by how satisfied (or unsatisfied) the client is as their matter concludes.  It is the thing most lawyers claim to focus upon, but in certain instances (litigation, for example) is either pre-ordained or out of the control of both attorney and client.
  • The Quality of their Experience (QoE) is the measure of their satisfaction with everything else, including how they feel about their lawyer and the service she provides.

2.  Ask some of your former clients (or pull some old files and do this yourself) to map out on the grid above how they felt about your representation, making certain their “Experience” measure is for everything that came between hiring you and their result.

3.  Unless everything is in the upper right quadrant, get to work.

If you’re a lawyer who delivers a great experience — even with the occasional bad result — you’re likely to see more repeat and referral business from your former clients than some “results-focused” lawyers who consistently get great results but make their clients miserable in the process.





3 Responses to Focus on Quality of Experience
  1. […] loved this post by Matt Homann suggesting lawyers score their client service on the quality of the client’s […]

  2. […] my post earlier this week, I wrote about Measuring the Quality of Your Clients’ Experiences and not just the quality of their results.  Patrick Lamb suggested that lawyers also use the grid […]

  3. Jeff Carr
    January 24, 2012 | 3:17 pm

    Matt — great post and great idea. I really like the visual depiction of the data. My only suggestion is that having only 2 criteria is a bit limiting and disproportionately weights results. We use the ACC AVI index — which is also the Serengeti Tracker attorney evaluation tool. That tool has 6 criteria — and results are only one. The other 5 criteria help get to the “quality” side. In our case, we link compensation to the evaluation in what is known as the ACES model (“Alliance Counsel Engagmeent System”)and weight all 6 factors equally. We withold 20% of the invoice (whether fixed, hourly, or retainer) and then pay 0-200% of the withheld amount based on the evaluation. If the counsel is evaluated as a 3.0 or “good” (i.e., what we expect), they receive 100% of the holdback — or effectively 100% of the invoice. If they do truly exceptional work — a 5.0 — they receive 200% of the holdback or effectively 120% of the invoice (similarly, a socre of 1.0 would result in 0% holdback payment or 80% of invoice). The amount paid is not nearly as important as the platform this provides for a meaningful discussion about service expectations and performance. Our system works great — and our alliance counsel either continuously improve or are invited to work for other clients.

    All that said, I really like the 2×2 visual depiction and need to think about how we might modify our system to work that in — perhpas by clustering the 6 criteria into 2 groups and then plotting the scores.

    Drop me a note or give me a call if you’d like to discuss.

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