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It can range from awkward to excruciating, but in an ever-tightening race to win, keep and grow clients, top professional services firms can’t risk not asking for it: feedback.

Many of us prefer to avoid the F-word. However, asking for, and harnessing, the information clients provide when honestly reflecting on your services can be a game-changer for your firm.

Just ask Brett Lunn, the Managing Partner of specialist intellectual property firm FB Rice. His firm proved it is winning the race for client satisfaction in the specialist IP services industry by claiming not one but three awards in the annual Client Choice Awards.

Dr Lunn, who has a PhD in Materials Science, said seeking and acting on client feedback as part of his team’s broader “client experience culture” was a huge factor in the firm’s wins.

“To say we are incredibly proud of our client experience culture is an understatement,” he said.

“Winning three awards this year further demonstrates to our team the importance of exceptional client service and the importance of continuing to build on our firm brand with each and every client interaction.”

The annual Client Choice Awards recognise the best Australian and New Zealand firms in four professions: accounting and consulting, built and natural environment, legal and specialist IP services. Awards are given out based on clients’ votes – not via panels, judges, or self-nominations –offering firms unique feedback on the preferences and satisfaction of their clients. This year more than 250 firms entered, and more than 15,000 pieces of client feedback were reviewed.

FB Rice, which was founded in Sydney but now operates across the Tasman as well as globally, stood out as a winner in the three categories of Best Specialist IP and Related Services Firm(>$20m revenue), Best CX Firm: Specialist IP & Related Services, and the Most Innovative Specialist IP & Related Services Firm.

“It’s great to see our dedication to this is supported by client feedback, we see our client experience as a differentiator and a key measure of our success,” said Dr Lunn.

“Being successful at the Client Choice Awards means as a professional services firm we understand our clients and their business. With this understanding, we can provide more strategic, long-term advice that will benefit our clients now and into the future.”

Dr Lunn added that receiving uncomfortable feedback should be seen as an opportunity to improve – citing a situation in which one of the firm’s largest international associates provided feedback on billing processes on a Friday afternoon. The team quickly acknowledged the comments and followed up with a constructive discussion with the client on the Monday.

“By understanding the associate’s internal processes and the unintentional impact our approach was having, we immediately implemented a change in our system to streamline their invoice payment process. The matter was resolved quickly and is an example of using a difficult situation to actually improve our service,” he said.

“Without client feedback, you have a very internal view of the world … Receiving feedback from our clients is an indicator as to what is important to them and how we can change to meet their needs and better service our clients across the board.”

FB Rice was named the Best Specialist IP and Related Services Firm (>$20m revenue), Best CX Firm: Specialist IP & Related Services and Most Innovative Specialist IP & Related Services Firm – presented in Partnership with the State Government of Victoria, in the 2022 Client Choice Awards.

The Client Choice Awards rewards firms for excellent client service, technical expertise, innovation and client experience. It is the only multi-profession and fully client-judged awards anywhere in the world. The Principal Partner of the Awards is NAB.

Enter your firm for the 2023 Awards here.