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Why In-House Counsel Should Care About Customer Service and Their NPS Score

October 30, 2020 3 min read
Modern office

I know what you’re thinking — what does customer service and a customer satisfaction score (NPS) have to do with you, in-house legal counsel?

Providing top notch, first-class customer service should matter to everyone regardless of direct customer contact. Even if you don’t work directly with customers, you work with employees who do. It’s your job as in-house counsel to assist and support these employees, so it only makes sense for you to consider them as your customers.

How do you ensure you’re providing first class customer service? Start by thinking of the legal department as a business. For a business to survive, it needs a service potential customers want or need. To succeed and thrive, a business needs to convert potential customers into actual customers.

How does that happen? When you make a prospective customer feel like you care about their problems. When you work hard to provide a service that makes their life easier. When you help resolve their problems.

How can you tell if you have a first-in-class legal department?

It will have a customer-oriented culture — and a resulting high Net Promoter Score (NPS). In the business world, that’s the number that represents a customer’s willingness to recommend your services to other potential customers. Think of it as the number that represents the customer’s overall satisfaction with you and your brand.

When a business unit within the company is satisfied with the work of the legal department, that unit will not only give the department a high NPS score, but will also continue to engage with the legal department and encourage other business units to do the same. This evangelism boosts the legal department’s brand internally and fosters a sense of trust and partnership.That means they will bring you in earlier in the process — whether it’s HR drafting a new employee policy or an account executive teeing up a complex deal.

How do you ensure a high Net Promoter Score?

Ensuring a high NPS it is not as difficult as it might seem. It doesn’t mean that you always tell your customers what they want to hear. It does not mean that every strategic initiative for which you provide support will likely be successful. It just means that you will show you care by getting to know your customer, getting to know what your customers do, and helping to make their jobs easier.

For an in-house legal counsel, getting to know the customer means learning all there is to know about your company as well as each of the individual business units that make it up. Take the time to learn what each business unit does, how the business unit does its work, and how that business unit interacts with internal and external partners. Take the time to do these things and you’ll be in a better position to support the business units and make their day-to-day work easier.

Serve your customers well and you’ll serve the company well. You’ll be in a better position to anticipate needs and provide input, and identify and describe potential risk, which may have gone unnoticed by the executive team. When you understand the needs, goals and daily activities of the company’s business units, you’ll be able to speak for them when it counts internally, i.e., earning a seat (or voice) at the table. In short, you’ll help ensure outcomes that satisfy company needs, provide value to the executive team while mitigating risk for the company.

In the end, the question really is, why wouldn’t you care about customer service?

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Lisa Lang currently serves as the General Counsel for Kentucky State University. She is also the creator of the LinkedIn series WHY DO THIS, NOT THAT™, In-house Lawyer Edition and has also co-authored an anthology called #Networked: How 20 Women Lawyers Overcame the Confines of COVID-19 Social Distancing to Create Connections, Cultivate Community, & Build Businesses in the Midst of a Global Pandemic on sale now on Amazon. In April 2021, she will be speaking at the #EmpoweredWomen Spring 2021 Online (Freeman Means Business™ event) that will be held from April 6 to 8 from 9 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. PT about the power of community.