Your clients are often your biggest sources of referrals. But do you give them an experience they can’t wait to tell their friends about? If one of your clients were asked about the level of their experience with you, what would they say? Would they be raging fans or just middle-of-the-road? Are you giving them the client experience they expect, or better yet, doing anything to exceed those expectations? The client experience you create should be one to set you apart. After all, you want your clients to be letting everyone and anyone know how incredible you are and referring their network of friends and family to you. But you have to earn it.
At our recent Advisor Symposium*, Travis Brewer of TD Ameritrade talked about the client experience gap. The space in the middle between what you think is a great experience but what your clients feel is just ok. According to a Bain & Company survey, 80% of CEOs across all industries thought they were delivering excellent service. However, in comparison, only 8% of the surveyed clients said they were providing exceptional service. So, how do we fill the experience gap?
Product. Price. Experience.
There are three elements of a business that you can compete on: product, price and experience. While your competition can match you on product and price, the client experience is something you can solely create. That’s the new X-factor. Your firm is in the relationship business. You may be trading and creating financial plans, but at its core, it’s about the relationships you develop and the trust you earn. Ask yourself what kind of experience am I giving my clients, and what are my opportunities to grow? Are you creating value for your clients? Conducting an annual investment review and sending a holiday card isn’t enough. What sets you apart?
Design or Default
Is your client experience by design or default, and is it consistent? To create a great experience, you first have to start with having your service experience and expectations documented. This way, both you and your team can work to deliver upon those expectations routinely and systematically. To further deliver upon what your clients are looking for, create a feedback loop. This could be as simple as a questionnaire or a few key questions to ask at the end of a specific interaction with your firm. For example, the onboarding phase. Ask the client what their experience was interacting with the firm at every point, from first hearing about you to meetings to paperwork, and what you could do to improve upon their future interactions. You have to remember to close the loop, thank them for their suggestions and work to implement those that would enhance your client experience.
Distributors, Accumulators and HENRYs
Baby Boomers are the distributors, Gen-X the accumulators and millennials are HENRYs (High Earner Not Rich Yet). As detailed above, each generation has different perceptions and expectations. Between 60-90% of typical advisors’ clients are in retirement age, leaving Gen-X and millennials disproportionally underserved. Catering to each generation can be tricky, but the client experience must adapt to have a sustainable business. Today’s accumulators are tomorrow’s distributors, and their expectations for client services will differ. As a financial professional entrusted with your clients’ assets, it’s imperative to deliver on these service expectations. Communicate openly with your ideal clients. Conduct surveys, focus groups or ask them at your next meeting. You’ll be surprised at what you learn, and it can help you refine your client experience and create raging, referring fans.
For additional ideas or recommendations on timely client conversations, feel free to contact your wholesaler or visit our Advisor Toolbox for a number of great resources.
Source: TDAmeritrade Presentation: Elevating the Client Experience
Note the above presentations were created for our advisors with the goal of helping to provide additional resources, tools and talking points that can be used to help navigate clients through this unprecedented time. As such, these presentations are for advisor use only and should not be shared with clients.