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Venner Shipley – listening to colleagues and clients

Venner Shipley’s clients say it is the friendly, down to earth approach and its strong reputation that stand the firm apart.

Venner Shipley is one of the leading European intellectual property firms, with six offices in the UK and one in Munich, Germany. Its 160 patent attorneys, trademark and design attorneys, patent solicitors and barristers support businesses protecting their assets around the world.

When its Director of Marketing and Business Development Ilka Clune wanted to start a client listening project she turned to the expert team at Meridian West.

Venner Shipley’s clients include some of the world’s largest businesses, fast-growing entrepreneurial businesses, leading educational institutions as well as foreign attorneys around the world. They all, says Ilka, have different needs and requirements with the firm.

Listening to Venner Shipley
The client listening project first started with Meridian West hosting an ‘ideas lab’ with key Venner Shipley stakeholders to define the shape and scope of the client listening programme.

“This is the first full externally supported client listening programme the firm has run, and we wanted to make sure it was done in the right way,” explains Ilka. “This was critical as the relationships we have with our clients can vary enormously and can go back over many decades.”

The firm’s management committee and practice heads, led by Meridian West’s experienced project management team, agreed that the client listening programme should also include a survey of its own partnership and staff.

“Understanding the internal viewpoints provided a valuable measure to benchmark against how our clients see the firm,” explains Ilka.

The shape of the client listening programme followed with questions and discussion points agreed.

Listening to clients
The client listening project was delivered in two tranches – a series of in-depth client interviews together with an online survey delivered to a much wider group of clients.

Venner Shipley looked to understand through these surveys client perceptions of the firm, its competitors, reflections on the firm’s brand, and the way the firm communicates with its clients.

“Following a challenging two years through to COVID, it is really important for us to understand what our clients think, how the see the firm, how they engage with us and the content and updates we provide,” says Ilka.

The “little big things”
The feedback from Venner Shipley’s clients was incredibly positive.

Clients rate the firm’s commerciality and consistency, saying they appreciate the “friendly” style and “approachability” of the Venner Shipley team. Clients praised its ‘non-stuffy” approach.

“The feedback we received from clients is perhaps perfectly captured by one of our clients who said [they] “excel in the little big things”, says Ilka. “That is important to us, and we were very happy that 96% of our responses considered our overall service to be good, with 63% of responses rated our overall service as outstanding.”

Venner Shipley’s client magazine, Inside IP, was universally praised by clients.

The results of the client listening programme we delivered via Meridian West’s bespoke interactive dashboard, allowing the Venner Shipley team to deep dive into the data. The top line findings were also presented back to the management committee, the partnership in a series of workshops and then shared with the whole firm. Individual action plans for teams and key individuals have also been created and the results have been shared externally. Click here: https://www.vennershipley.co.uk/insights-events/client-feedback-2021/

Building the Venner Shipley brand
The client listening project has offered an opportunity for Venner Shipley to take stock of its brand, particularly addressing a perception gap between how staff and clients view the firm.

“A lot has happened to the firm over the past few years,” explains Ilka. “We have grown in size and broadened the offer to our clients. Our brand needs to reflect the collaborative approach both or clients and staff value. We will also look to conduct regular client listening programmes – there is real value in the exercise.”

Matt Baldwin
Matt Baldwin
Co-founder – Coast Communications

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