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The right kind of feedback
Monday 23 April 2012 by David Pickup
This week in a gap between seeing clients I went to buy a light bulb for my car. I had noticed I had not been very bright (if you see what I mean). It is the sort of thing you usually never get around to sort out. Buying a new one is complicated by having to know exactly what year your car was made; if not the month, and the precise model, and having bought the right thing it is virtually impossible to fit unless you have eyes on stalks and at least three multi-jointed arms.
The point of this story is on the way out I was given a slip of paper with a picture of a cheerful car-parts person explaining how I could win money by completing a feedback form. You had to go online to fill out the questions. I, in fact, had a good service and was pleased to rate them highly. The questions were designed to make you think you - the customer - are the store’s best friend and you would shortly be invited to tea by the staff.
I then went back to my office and compared this to my feedback form. Several years ago we dutifully adopted the standard design and questions. The term feedback itself is not particularly impressive. The questions asked are really a suggested list of reasons to hate solicitors. 'Were we slow, could you understand us, did we treat you unfairly, and you wouldn’t recommend us to your dog would you?' I exaggerate but by giving complaints information you are often pointing out shortcomings rather than reasons to be cheerful.
We send these out to all clients and get a small number returned. Fortunately most people are fairly positive. People usually hate us or love us. You rarely get people saying they liked parts of the case and not others.
My experience of going to the shop was the staff were friendly but not intrusive, they knew what to do and had been trained to make the customer feel important. It was not cheap but I felt it was worth it. Do we as solicitors do this? Are we trained in how to handle customers? Not really.
David Pickup is a partner in Aylesbury based Pickup & Scott
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