This posting, Client Satisfaction Surveys: Yea or Nay? by Charles Green (Trusted Advisor Associates), wisely points out that conventional surveys don't really work for professional service firms -- but strategic, and well-planned review meetings with clients (not necessarily on a strict annual schedule) can be very effective.
I think Green's article could be very useful for many of this blog's readers, but it doesn't solve my own problem.
The challenge with our business is that clients often purchase individual advertisements either to support an association (for which we either publish a publication under contract, or are writing a special feature report), or to support one of their own clients, usually in the context of a special feature/report about the client's business or project.
These advertisers of course are adhering to the principals of client service that I advocate frequently -- your current customers/clients are the most important, and if you do something to help them in their own marketing and promotion, you of course are helping your relationship with them (and less directly, but no less significantly), helping your own business through downstream support of their marketing process.)
My problem is that despite this referred relationship, we are providing the service, and wish our clients to receive value beyond just keeping their own clients happy. This blog originated, in fact, as part of the service process -- I thought by providing useful marketing suggestions and ideas, our clients would gain benefit that transcends their advertising within our newspapers.