IHL webinar: Conversation with clients - customer satisfaction and service delivery

As a part of our conversation with clients webinar series, Keith Austin, Senior Vice President & Head of Legal UKIMEA joined Sebastian Price, Partner at Shoosmiths to talk about his experience of measuring customer satisfaction, and share his thoughts on what IHL teams can practically do to deliver great customer service.

Watch the webinar recording


  • Client satisfaction became a key part of the DHL culture and strategy since 2008
  • They introduced a simple strategy focusing on being the provider of choice – whilst this was for the DHL business to their customers it also included internal service providers to the business
  • Client satisfaction has therefore been a key pillar of the business
  • Business units use NP approach on monthly and annual basis – and there was no reason why they shouldn’t do the same for the support functions
  • Customers for Keith are the business users/ colleagues
  • Most of work is transactional in nature around contracts and they work with a vast number of teams across the business

Key elements of Client satisfaction being a success

  • Culture – leadership attributes identified across the board to encourage a can-do attitude and encourage people to be very passionate about the business and ensure right level of expertise “right first time”. Established as part of the DNA and lots of training has been done around this
  • Core pillar of strategy – embedded in the business
  • Monitor performance and measured against these – incentivised to provide the best level of service to customers

What is measured and how

  • 2008-2021 – Global Business Services annual survey to 2000 customers with 31 KPIs, such as business intimacy, ease of use, pragmatism, how helpful to solve problems etc
  • Business changed to more simplified approach with the Net Promoter approach – used universally since being introduce by Bain & Co in 2004
  • Introduced this 2 years ago and is now measured on monthly basis – rating out of 10 – 9 and 10 is promoter, 6-8 is passive and anything below 6 is a detractor
  • Measure service delivery on a month to month basis
  • Customers are encouraged to feed back what worked well and what could improve

Constructive feedback – how do they get this to help improvement?

  • Encourage this a part of continuous improvement – part of the DNA to look at how always evolve
  • Equally nice to have the motivational feedback too
  • Effective tool which gives a lot of data and helps with employee engagement

Governance role of IHLs – situations when can’t please the customer – how manage this conflict?

  • Very often have to say no to things or act as a challenger -  but try to do in a way that they explain why it’s not helping them do what they want to do
  • Concern is that cherry pick the best people to provide the best feedback as 10% of bonus is dependent on good score
  • But don’t want to be at 100% as don’t want to shy away from the difficult conversations and doing what is right
  • Guided by values of respect and results – won’t compromise respect for results
  • People appreciate the honest feedback and advice

How they get lots of feedback

  • Number of deals involved in and how close the lawyers are to the business and legal needs
  • Culture – support from the business to get more data and be data driven to help enhance service offering

Observations with private practice

  • Not many law firms use NPA and don’t publish results
  • Average score of law firms is 30/40 (out of 100) so lower than DHL which is more like 80/90
  • Customer centricity really helps at DHL
  • Really understand the business/ risk appetite and gives them that closeness to the business which is the main driver for good client satisfaction
  • Know your customer really well – how do they want them to deliver service
  • Use profiling to help show whether want succinct advice or detail – gives agility and ability to flex the advice dependent on the recipient of advice
  • Understand the people and what they require

Measurement – dig into feedback more?

  • Required to follow-up with the detractor on the phone within 14 days and find out more about why didn’t deliver the service they wanted
  • Do more of trends analysis and see if what can improve can be clustered together

What do with the scores?

  • Use metrics to show value – helps have dialogue to find out what they want
  • Sit down with the business units and find out what they expect from legal colleagues
  • Develop a SLA and what remit is to add value
  • Always ensure commercial, pragmatic and flexible with the approach
  • Lawyers need to understand the commercial models

What does great service look like – single most important attribute and top tips

  • Main thing – knowing the customer and put self into shoes of the recipient, will take more time on things if know that will be better received for the profile of the business user
  • Top tips
    • Discuss needs with the business – would like to do joint business planning with customers
    • Communicate why, why and how of legal services
    • Culture of feedback
    • Incentivise this – targets and measurement
    • Flexibility and agility of service delivery
    • Celebrate success as much as can
    • Find time to lead and to change


This information is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given. Please contact us for specific advice on your circumstances. © Shoosmiths LLP 2024.



Read the latest articles and commentary from Shoosmiths or you can explore our full insights library.