CLIENT INTERVIEWS AID SUCCESSION & TRANSITIONING PLANNING
Rhode Island-based consultant Linda LaBrie (www.labrieconsulting.com ), who specializes in conducting client satisfaction interviews, thinks that among the greatest benefits to firms from implementing these interviews is the critical and extremely sensitive process of succession planning. In a post on the Legal Marketing Association's listserve, LaBrie wrote: "Even within the most 'collegial, teamwork oriented' firm environments, there exist too many reasons client relationship managers don't wish to nurture new successors or (even worse) are not aware that leadership transitions are underway within client organizations. Not managing this reality may be the greatest negative impact on the future health and well-being of thousands of existing client/firm relationships."
Taking her thoughts further, I would add that not only can the firm get a sense of when existing relationships are or are not working, but also the feedback from client interviews can guide firms in choosing successors who will likely be aligned with the client's desired way of working and personal style.
The client should be brought into the transitioning process early on so that senior partner, heir apparent and client can effect a gradual and smooth transition focused on client needs in the present and future.
Phyllis Weiss Haserot www.pdcounsel.com