When writing part 1 of the post on benchmarks, it occurred to me that some people might ask if there are other benchmarks for service businesses/practices. In fact, we have been asked many times over the past 20+ years about our “success rate.” This is always a difficult question to answer because the answer, as Melissa will tell you as a social scientist, is that it actually can’t be answered. And, no lawyer can really, truly explain a success rate for similar reasons (which is why the Bar does not allow such statements). The problem in litigation, and probably in other service industries, one does not have a control group against which to measure success. Does one A/C company perform better than another? Does one photographer do a better job than another at a wedding? Would one trial consultant get a better result for a client? Would a different attorney get a different settlement or verdict than another? The answer to all of these may be yes, or no. The important factor is whether the client of these service providers is happy, or satisfied, with the outcome. Thus, another benchmarking method in service based practices is client satisfaction – which can and should be measured to provide a benchmark. We routinely survey our clients about their satisfaction with our services (and we receive consistently high responses). This same technique can be used in any type of service practice and it can take the form of surveys, interviews, or in person sessions. The key is to track results over time and by attorney or other professional. This is beneficial for marketing as well as training, among other things. So, while in many respects we, as service professionals, cannot prove what might have happened, or what didn’t happen, we can look for ways to measure success in other forms.
David mentioned the benchmark of client satisfaction as an indicator of our success on a particular case. As in any service based business, Magnus’ satisfied clients are the best source of revenue for our business. The primary way we have always obtained new cases on which to consult is from past clients whom we helped achieve a successful outcome on previous cases. Our second most important revenue source is referrals to new clients from past clients who were happy with the service we provided. The common denominator is, of course, the satisfaction of our clients, without whom our business would cease to exist. Suffice it to say that we cannot please everyone; indeed, we have found that attorneys who enjoy working with another jury consultant, and wish we were more like him/her, are better off not working with us and instead, continuing to work with the consultant they have always used. The world of consulting (in any field, not just ours) is relationship based, such that “one size does NOT fit all.” We strive to please all of our clients, and based on our analysis of the client satisfaction surveys we send following the completion of our work on every case, we are performing at an almost 100% level in terms of client satisfaction. Now, if that isn’t a good indication of our success, what is?