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Best Practice: Client satisfaction interviews for insurance defense firms

Asked and Answered

By John W. Olmstead, MBA, Ph.D, CMC

Q. I am the chair of our firm's marketing committee. We are a 24 attorney insurance defense firm in Houston. While we solicit feedback from some of our larger insurance company clients at lunch and face to face meetings - the sessions are not structured, data is not really tabulated, and only a handful of clients are usually involved. We have been thinking of embarking on a more structured process. I would appreciate your thoughts.

A. Our firm recently completed client satisfaction interviews for several of our insurance defense law firm clients. Here are a few quotes and a summary of what these insurance company law firm clients told us:

  • We want to work with proactive attorneys that aren’t afraid to try cases. 
  • Limit the number of people working on a file. I like consistent assignments. 
  • I expect attorneys to get back to me by the next business day. 
  • I like one partner and one associate per file. 
  • Most of our billing issues with law firms is due to excessive use of associates time.  
  • I get upset with attorneys that want to settle right before trial. 
  • The primary reason that we terminate our relationship with our outside attorneys is not reporting to us in a timely fashion and poor communications. 
  • I find that many lawyers are poor at managing their files and have poor basic communication skills. I work with lawyers that can do both of these things well. 
  • I think that it is important that law firms provide value added services such as newsletters, legislative updates, e-alerts, seminars, etc on a “no charge” basis. These services are provided by most law firms these days. Such services help us do our jobs better, improves communications and the overall relationship between our organization and the law firm, keeps us up to date on changes in the law, and helps the law firm stay abreast of emerging needs in our business. 
  •  I will pay higher fees to lawyers that aren’t afraid to try cases.

Much can be learned by talking to your clients. Structured telephone interviews conducted by a neutral in-house law firm marketing employee or outside third party can provide many surprises as well as answers. Client satisfaction interviews can be the best marketing investment that you can make.

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John W. Olmstead, MBA, Ph.D, CMC,( is a past chair and member of the ISBA Standing Committee on Law Office Management and Economics. For more information on law office management please direct questions to the ISBA listserver, which John and other committee members review, or view archived copies of The Bottom Line Newsletters. Contact John at

Posted on August 6, 2014 by Chris Bonjean
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