Nancy MyrlandClient Satisfaction Interviews Leave a Comment

There’s been a lot of discussion lately about the importance of conducting client satisfaction interviews.  Their importance can and should not be underestimated. 

Last week, I attended a 4-day marketing conference in L.A., during which I listened to Steve Rodgers, head of Litigation at Intel.  He was part of a panel on client teams and client satisfaction interviews.  When asked if client satisfaction interviews were important, and who should conduct them, Steve said there were things he could not say to the face of his attorney, and would appreciate the intermediary. 


Nancy MyrlandAll Posts, Client Satisfaction Interviews, Client Service and Retention Leave a Comment

Thursday was another great day at the LMA Conference in Los Angeles.  Even though I was 3 hours off on my internal clock, and it is the middle of the night, I have a few thoughts to share with you that I think you and your firm might find useful.  They have to do with your clients and what they want from your firms and your attorneys.

One of the most powerful presentations of the day was facilitated by veteran marketer and Zeughauser Group consultant, Mozghan Mizban.  Panelists included Zeughauser colleague, Melissa Hoff, Client Development Manager from Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, David Wolber, and last, but definitely not least, Steven Rodgers, Director of Litigation for Intel.

Steve’s comments were worth the price of admission as he is in the position of evaluating, working with, and maximizing Intel’s use of dozens of law firms, soon to be only 6 after next week.

The discussion centered around client teams and client service interviews.  A few thoughts Steve shared when asked about the law firm/client relationship from his vantage point at Intel are to be noted and shared with your attorneys, along with your suggestions and/or a plan for what your firms and attorneys can do to become what Steve, and others like him, need:


“It all comes down to trust.  There are probably hundreds of firms that could handle specific issues for us without any difference in the outcome.”

Bottom line:  Steve just gave what amounts to a free pass to those firms that get how to become trustworthy to him on an ongoing basis.  I suggest you work to figure out how to do that.

When asked what is important for law firms (to know and do for Intel), Steve wants the following:

  • “I want a firm that cares about understanding what I want and what I need.”
  • “I want firms who truly seek to understand me….who know me so well they could almost do my job.”
  • “I want firms who come to me and say ‘Here’s what we perceive to be your situation and here’s what we think you should do.’ “

What does this mean?  Spend some time learning how to that which Steve described above.  It’s not rocket science.  It just takes deliberate, authentic, ongoing effort.

Another question asked of Steve was how firms get to know him:

  • “They ask.”
  • “Only 2 Managing Partners have called me in the past several years.”

His point:  He isn’t hard to get to know if you just spend time asking him what makes him tick, what 3 things are bothering him, or are important to him, and checking in with him on a regular, unbilled basis to make sure you understand him.  Only then can you truly perform intelligent legal work truly based on his needs.

When asked what he thinks of the client satisfaction interview process, and who should conduct these interviews:

“There are things I am just not going to say to somebody’s face, so having an intermediary is key.”

Regarding how many of the firms Intel uses have client teams devoted to Intel:

“I’d be willing to bet I can identify which of my firms have client teams and communicate regularly.”

His point here was that it becomes completely transparent when firms form client teams around his work and Intel, meaning they communicate strategically, methodically and with purpose about how best to take care of Steve and Intel.  It takes time and thought, but it can and should be done.

Someone asked Steve what was important for the relationship manager to know:

  • Put my needs ahead of the firm’s
  • Be powerful enough in the firm to advocate for what I want and need.
  • Sometimes it’s hard to tell who they work for….Intel or the firm
  • They tend to think of things before I do.

Steve’s comments are not to be taken lightly.  I would advise all firms with clients to sit down and think how to deliberately create the situation Steve has outlined.  Do it now before you find yourself in the position dozens of firms will be in next week when he narrows his choice of firms down to six.

Don’t give all the Steve Rodgers of this world the opportunity to even think about being frustrated, or to find a need to whittle their numbers of firms down.  Sit down and think hard about how to make individual clients happy, then set about doing it—tomorrow—or go ahead and start today if you have time!

Here’s to another valuable day of information for law firm attorneys and marketers from the LMA Conference!  Good job conference organizers and all those involved.






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For those of you who were not able to come to the conference this year, I am truly sorry as there is so much here that is worthwhile, and that keeps all of us as legal marketers more valuable to our internal and external clients.

For you, and for those who are coming to the conference but were not able to participate in the pre-conference programs, I wanted to let you know you missed an outstanding day with the Quick Start program.  I know I have shared this with you in the past, but this program has grown to be applicable to marketers at all stages of their careers.

Quick Start participants were greeted by what I will call the Rock Stars of our marketing profession.  The value of being in the same room with those who presented, not just to pick their brains, but for them to share the latest and greatest in what we need to do to be successful, was worth the price of the conference itself!

We started out the day with the always brilliant and entertaining Ross Fishman of Fishman Marketing, who showed us what it really means to differentiate our websites and other communication through a very carefully crafted branding and differentiating approach.

Deb Knupp, Managing Partner of Akina, someone who has enough electricity in her personality to light up L.A. (and that’s a very good thing by the way), then taught how to become effective coaches to our internal clients, our attorneys, as they prepare for, or improve upon, this world of sales and business development they must take responsibility for, with your help, if necessary.

We then heard from PR pros John Hellerman and Helen Bertelli from Hellerman Baretz, who helped participants understand why we need to know and understand PR, and how to craft pitches that will stick with media.  We were given many examples of good and bad pitches, and had hands-on experience crafting some of our own.

No conference would be the same without our friend from Australia, Sue-Ella Prodonovich, Principal of PTB Consulting.  As Ross stated, Sue Ella has become so well known and loved among marketers that she is simply known as “Sue-Ella,” not because we can’t pronounce her last name correctly, but because she’s terrific and offers an approach that makes the necessary, everyday act of conversations attorneys have with clients seem much more effective and fruitful.

Followed by another friend who hails from Dubai (see, you can’t just get this international perspective just anywhere friends!), Clinton Swan, BD Manager with the firm Clyde & Co. helped us understand how you need to add value to what you offer your attorneys by helping us understand that BD strategy must come from overall firm strategy at many levels.

Good heavens…..if we could bottle the wit and wisdom of Russell Freund, drink it and share it (does that sound a little weird-sorry!), we would all help our lawyers understand why we are so indispensable.  Russell helped outline six of the most common barriers to successful law firm marketing.  Who doesn’t need to know how to overcome those?!

Then, with the challenge of being the last two speakers of the day, especially when the pretzels and cookies ran out during the break right before them, David Freeman, CEO, David Freeman Consulting, and his colleague and BD Consultant, Craig Brown hit a home run by engaging all of us with the fast-paced, interesting, witty presentation about how to deal with, and even maximize, the many opportunities that exist for you when laterals are brought in to the firm.

It was an outstanding beginning to the conference, and it hasn’t even begun!  The Welcome Reception is going on downstairs as we speak, or rather, as I write.  This is a great time to renew old acquaintances, meet many new friends, and to continue upon this learning curve we all need to keep riding for the rest of our days.

I’ll be in touch whenever possible to let you know how things are going.

Have a great week.