17 May The 10 commandments of a positive client experience in wealth management
In wealth management, financial performance is important, but the client experience should not be overlooked. Building a positive relationship with investors moves you from being a service provider to a much more solid and lasting partner.
“Regardless of the sector of activity, clients must be at the center of all a company’s actions and concerns, because they are the reason for the existence of any business activity. In fact, 84% of companies that work to improve their client experience have seen their revenue increase,” said Daniel Lafrenière, author, speaker, columnist and client experience expert.
Croesus met with him to discuss the practices that ensure a quality client experience.
Croesus (C): What is client experience?
Daniel Lafrenière (DL): We often try to analyze the client experience in a Cartesian way, but it is above all a question of emotions. It doesn’t matter if it’s B2C (private clients) or B2B (commercial clients), it’s a human interaction.
The client experience is therefore the emotion that a client feels when interacting with a company, whether it is through the website, through client service, by receiving an invoice, or by other means. What matters is the emotional imprint left by that experience. That’s what the client will remember and how they will tell their friends about it.
C: Is client experience that important?
DL: It is estimated that a bad client experience is talked about twice as much as a good one, and that 70% of dissatisfied people say so on social media. This permanent digital trail is not insignificant since, according to Google, 78% of people trust their friends first when assessing a product or service.
If you don’t provide a good client experience, you risk losing up to half of your clientele. In fact, 32% of clients turn their backs on a brand they love after one bad experience, according to a study by PricewaterhouseCoopers. Since it is much more expensive to acquire a client than to keep one, the calculation is easy to do.
C: What impact does a positive client experience have?
DL: Satisfaction comes from meeting your expectations. Client expectations are increasingly high, because clients bring the sum of their experiences, including digital ones, to the table and expect the same quality of experience. For them, there is no distinction between the client experience they receive from their financial advisor, from Amazon, or from a restaurant.
In addition to remaining loyal, buying more, being more receptive to suggestions, and being more forgiving, satisfied customers become ambassadors and advocates for their favorite company. Some brands like Apple and Harley-Davidson have such a strong impact on their customers that some see them as a religion and even get a tattoo of their logo.
C: How do you improve the client experience?
DL: Client experience is the sum of service quality, hard skills (know-how), and soft skills (attitude). The gaps are generally in the area of soft skills.
Efficiency, convenience, nice people, and knowledgeable people are the four client experience characteristics that appeal most, according to a study by PricewaterhouseCoopers. That’s the foundation. If the product is great, but the foundation is weak, the client experience will not be good.
To ensure client satisfaction, you must follow the 10 commandments of client experience:
1. Thou shalt minimize their efforts
Clients don’t like to put in the useless effort. Making their lives easier helps improve their experience. This can be done by directing them from the start to the person who can help them, to the product that is right for them, and helping them understand it.
2. Thou shalt know them
Take the time to understand your clients’ needs and expectations and then write them down so you won’t have to repeat them. In the financial industry, what clients dislike most is a service or product offering that is not relevant, followed by an advisor who does not go beyond what is expected. Generic service offerings that do not take into account client history, not understanding client needs, and incompetent staff are other dislikes.
3. Thou shalt be proactive in the relationship
One of the keys to adapting to your clients and their situations is the ability to understand them well. This means taking a natural interest in your clients by gradually gathering information through conversations. This creates relationships that personalize your service.
4. Thou shalt be polite and empathetic
Obviously, you should use polite phrases when addressing clients. On the phone as well as in person, you should smile, since it gives the impression that you are more sincere, social, and competent.
On the other hand, you should never be abrupt, raise your voice, question your clients’ word or make fun of them. You should also be careful about using scripts that make you look like a robot. Basically, the best way to deal with clients is to put yourself in their shoes.
5. Thou shalt reassure and inform them
To effectively reassure clients, you must first find out what their fears are. You must then clearly inform them of all the processes by answering the questions: Who? What? When? How much (cost)? How? You must provide regular feedback by informing them of each step to avoid them becoming anxious. Finally, you must minimize the wait or at least keep clients informed of the process when the wait is unavoidable.
6. Thou shalt foresee their needs
It is always best to reach out to clients to offer assistance. You must be transparent to prepare clients for the problems that may be encountered during the process.
7. Thou shalt not forsake them
When clients have a problem, you should at least try to meet their need by offering alternative solutions or providing extra help. Such attention can become an investment that will make these clients loyal clients.
8. Thou shalt be transparent
Be transparent about costs, limits, and deadlines to avoid unpleasant surprises.
9. Thou shalt inspire confidence
Esthetics is the first factor on which clients base their trust in a service or product. Physical location as well as communications are therefore essential. It is estimated that Internet users decide in a few seconds whether or not to trust a site.
10. Thou shalt pleasantly surprise them
Thanking clients in a creative way by offering them something unexpected that makes them happy makes all the difference. Your clients will feel important. Of course, this rule only works when you have delivered what is expected of you.
For more information about Daniel Lafrenière, visit daniellafreniere.com.