#11 Exit Interview
Build your Bankruptcy Business Newsletter #11
The first impression of a person or business is golden. You cannot re-live a first impression. Good, bad or indifferent the impression is etched upon a client’s mind.
Just as important though is the last impression made to a person.
We in the bankruptcy business can instill golden last impressions through an “exit interview”. The term “exit interview” is used when a person is voluntarily leaving a job. The employer usually sets up an interview at the end of the employee’s term. The employer gives the standard departing information.
However, the top employers use this last meeting to ask the former employee why he is leaving and what could be made better on the job and in the work environment. The departing employee is given a chance to give feedback to the employer. In doing so, the employee may feel that he is helping the employer and positive feelings are built up to the employer and the situation.
This is the last impression the employee has and the employer goes out of his way to make it a positive impression. The employer knwos that this person may become a customer in the future or may be a future employee again so goodwill is created. Granted this scenario does not happen often, but the top companies and law firms seek this level of service.
We can use “exit interview” with our clients. In the bankruptcy world, a client hires us for a few months to prepare and represent him in a chapter 7 bankruptcy case. Most of the client involvement is at the beginning of the case and then after the 341(a) meeting of creditors there is no contact with the client until the discharge occurs. The attorney then sends a letter to the client and closes the case. The attorney and client never see or hear from each other again.
In a bankruptcy law firm that practices “exit interview”, the law firm schedules a meeting with the client after the meeting of creditors.(The client is not charged for this meeting!) Procedurally, this meeting severs as a formal parting where the client and the attorney can go over issues and tie up any loose ends. The attorney can impart final words with closure for all involved.
On another level, this meeting can be an information gathering session for the attorney and staff to see where they did well with the client and where they fell short. The client is asked for ways to improve the system and for his or her input in the process going forward for future clients, even though the client has finished his case.
Finally the exit interview can serve as a marketing technique as few bankruptcy law firms do this. If the client had a good experience, then the attorney asks for referrals to friends and family. Or the attorney may use the opportunity to also “soft sell “other non-bankruptcy aspects of his business that the clients may need in the future.
Conduct exit interviews with each of your clients in person or over the phone. Give a little more to your clients at the end so they will have positive feelings toward you and the firm. Ask for referrals!