Has your legal department surveyed your customers recently? Customer satisfaction surveys for legal departments are a helpful tool for legal leadership. This article describes why that is and how you can successfully survey your internal customers.

Why survey your internal customers?

Internal customer surveys tell legal department important details about how they can improve service to their customers. Savvy legal departments use survey results to help them prioritize operational improvements and request budget for needed technology or staff to make these improvements.

Over time, as changes are made in the legal department to improve the relationship with other departments, legal leaders can report on how department innovation improves the organization at large.

How to write a satisfaction survey

When writing a customer satisfaction survey, you should first consider what you want to learn from the survey. Do you want to understand how your department is perceived? Identify strong and weak areas in your department? Find pain points you may not be aware of? Something else? The purpose of your survey will drive both the questions you ask and the pool of respondents you select.

With your purpose in mind, take a look at some of these sample surveys: ACC, eHarmony, Sterling Miller

You can add some of your own questions to address specific scenarios in your department, combine ideas from multiple surveys, or simply create something very similar to what you find online. You don’t have to completely reinvent the wheel to write a meaningful survey for your department. Just ensure you’re asking for what you’re doing right, what other departments’ pain points are, and what you can do to help smooth those pain points. A mixture of multiple choice/scale questions and free response answers will get you useful data across the board.

Who should you survey?

Each department will approach who to survey differently. Some departments are most concerned with perception within leadership, while others want to hear from anyone that may interact with them. A general goal would be to at least form an appropriate sample group that represents your internal customer base. Ensure you have representation from all departments and roles necessary to accomplish the purpose of the survey.

Keep in mind that internal office surveys generally receive a 30-40% response rate, so you should create a sample group large enough to generate statistically meaningful data with 30-40% of selected customers responding.

Depending on the size of your company, or if you’d like to simply generate goodwill from all internal customers, you may elect to send the survey to anyone that has interaction with the legal department. In this instance, it may be helpful to include questions within the survey on how customers interact with the legal department and how frequently they use your services so you can narrow down responses to specific types of interactions and weigh them accordingly.

Results are in…now what?

First, you’ll want to analyze the results. Compile the responses and look for patterns. Answers you get from free response questions can be very illuminating, so track their contents to identify if a complaint, praise, or request is showing up repeatedly.

While you’re reviewing your results, keep in mind that those most likely to respond to a survey are those experiencing a problem. It’s not uncommon to receive more negative reviews than positive reviews, and that is simply based on who is filling out your surveys. Use the survey results to identify areas of improvement for your department; you can use these results to justify spend on legal technology or an additional seat while setting an agenda for the department for the next year.

Now that you’ve analyzed the results, you’ll want to share them and create an action plan based on what you heard. Being responsive following the survey lets your clients know you heard them. Share the top three areas of service, top three areas of improvement, and how you intend to improve (even if you’re simply sharing that there is a plan in place to research a viable solution). As changes are made in the department based on feedback, share these with your client with a reminder of why the changes are taking place.

Being diligent about your response throughout the year and showing measurable change generates goodwill from your customers, and makes the time spent by the customer more valuable.

Brycellyn LaBorde

Brycellyn LaBorde

Operations Manager, Bigfork Technologies