The needs of clients are simply not being addressed by the professional services sector due to a failure in client satisfaction research, a long time veteran of the industry said on Monday.
Hans Morse, once an employee of PwC, Ernst & Young, Deloitte and a number of law firms, said that he believes most firms are reluctant to really understand client satisfaction in a way that can actually make sense of the issues, and ensure long-term client retention.
"The key is that quantitative research doesn't work at all in professional services, it just gives statistical numbers," Morse told Lawyers Weekly.
Morse notes that the problem stems from the fact that most firms are quick to base their research and review into customer satisfaction purely on quantitative reviews as opposed to face to face interaction.
"(These) quantitative surveys are conducted either electronically or by phone, merely providing statistics which in most cases can be manipulated to give a favorable outcome," he said.
Morse said that from his own experience in top-tier law firms, he believes account managers simply can not undertake the client review work themselves because inevitably, they may cover up any ill findings.
"My opinion is they should be getting someone independent, or in the firm, or at least independent of account work."
Given the current economic climate, Morse added that client retention strategies are essential, and that understanding a client's level of satisfaction through face-to-face interaction is the only means of working through their issues.
This may mean looking to an independent consultant to do the work or if possible, finding somebody within the firm who sits outside business development and account management to offer an independent perspective.
- Angela Priestley