by Jessica Caruso
Business trends come and go. However, there is one trend that has remained consistent over the decades: client service excellence. We have come a long way in terms of how clients are viewed. Where client satisfaction was once the mantra of successful organizations, we have now a seen a definitive shift to client experience.
Why should you care?
With his uncanny ability to identify emerging trends as well as the companies that have embraced them, Warren Buffett is arguably one of the most successful investors in the world. The “Oracle of Omaha”, as he is often referred to, says it best: “You will succeed if you have delighted customers. Don’t settle for satisfied.”
In this age of robo-advisors and the automation of financial services, client experience is the key to elevating your business above the competition. This often forgotten strategy allows you to provide clients a unique selling proposition that builds loyalty all while providing ambassadors for your business. These ambassadors then become your intrinsic sales force, ensuring continued growth for your business.
Here are 5 techniques advisors can use to make client experience their differentiator.
1. Leverage Technology
Technology is playing an ever-growing role in personal, professional, and business transactions. The pace of adoption of new technologies is increasing, and as an advisor, it’s important to recognize what technologies you can leverage to your advantage. From CRMs that help to efficiently manage clients to business intelligence technologies that help you better understand your book of business, there are solutions to help create a more customized client approach.
2. Personalize Experience
According to the IDC, 40% of commerce transactions will be enabled by cognitive/artificial intelligence personal shoppers and conversational commerce solutions by 2020. What does this phenomenon mean for financial services? As communication channels have multiplied, consumers have become increasingly inundated with information. In this world of over-communication, advisors need to ensure all communication touch points remain personalized and address clients’ specific needs if they are to stand out from the crowd.
3. Grow your Business with Feedback
Providing clients an experience that wins business and creates loyalty requires you to evolve… which is easier said than done. How do you provide an experience? The answers are yours for the taking each time you interact with a client. Clients are your largest source of feedback, providing valuable direction about your services and what you need to do to make them better. Never forget that each interaction, whether positive or negative, is an opportunity to gather comments and improve client experience.
4. Communicate Consistently
Segment your clients and prioritize them according to what makes sense for your business, such as by assets under management, or by growth potential. Once this is done, write a communication plan for each segment and stick to it. A report, entitled ‘Banking on Value: Rewards, Robo-Advice and Relevance’, by Accenture states that while consumers are open to robotic advice, the research finds that digital propositions are one element of the wider customer experience, with customers continuing to value face-to-face services at the local branch. Your focus should be on ensuring that clients can count on consistent communications, whether it is a monthly, quarterly or semiannual basis that is pertinent and personalized.
5. Provide Transparency
Everything comes down to trust. Clients need to have confidence that they are being well taken care of, and that their best interests are at the core of every decision. Developing such an experience goes hand-in-hand with being clear and concise, and getting ahead of any potential bumps in the road. Changes in regulations, in reporting documents, or perhaps in pricing are all opportunities to get in front of the story and ensure your clients have a feeling of openness and transparency.
These techniques will help transform your business and cultivate a culture of client experience. Remember that as your client demographic continues to change, aiming for “delighted customers” will help retain current clients, but, more importantly, will position your business to respond to what will soon become the largest demographic in financial services: Millenials.