How can you measure client experience? Is it even possible to measure something so intangible and “touchy feely”? I believe it is. You can for example monitor the real world interactions your customers have with your firm (e.g call recording/reviewing or observed meetings) and ask for the client’s perceptions of those interactions. You can also track what your customers do as a result of those interactions (e.g. like giving you more of their money to invest or recommending you to friends, family and peers).
Few advisers in the UK seem to actively solicit formal feedback from their clients. Anecdotal feedback from advisers I’ve spoken to about this suggests that PI insurers tend to get a bit twitchy about resulting negative comments which might have to be construed as a complaint, but surely there are sound commercial grounds for wanting to know whether you are ticking all the client’s boxes? Besides, understanding how you can improve your clients’ perceptions of your service and implementing measures which will do just that, is likely to reduce the risk of future PI claims… isn’t it?
3 key questions
Here are three questions about your client experience that it’s worth seeking your clients perceptions on, scored on a scale of 1 (very poor) to 5 (excellent). Customers want their experiences with a company to be useful, easy, and enjoyable. To find if that is your clients’ reality, ask them these 3 questions…
- How effective were we at meeting your needs?
- How easy was it to work with us?
- How enjoyable were your interactions with us? (Yes it is possible to make the financial planning/advice experience enjoyable).
Asking these 3 questions will enable you to create a “Customer Experience Index” which you can track over time to measure how you are doing and what effect any improvement measures, have on your index score.
Calculating your “Client Experience Index”
For each question take the percentage of clients that score you 4 or 5 and subtract the percentage of clients that score you 1 or 2. The implication here is that the results from clients who score you 3 get ignored? On the basis that a score of 3 (implication = average) is hardly cause to crack open the champagne it’s hard to know whether to include this category with the 1’s and 2’s or the 4’s and 5’s. If you happen to have a large swathe of clients who give you an“average” score and you include them in the calculation on either basis, you could get a misleading result. Suffice to say a typical bell curve result is not the outcome you are looking for.
You now have 3 individual index scores in terms of meeting needs, being easy to deal with and enjoyment. To get your overall Client Experience Index, simply average the 3 scores. Track all 4 scores over time, perhaps repeating the survey annually to measure how client perceptions have changed.
What is a good score? In the absence of a reliable UK benchmark it’s hard to be definitive. A recent study in the U.S (across multiple industries and sectors) used the following definitions, which might be helpful
85%+ = “Excellent”
75% – 84% = “Good”
65% – 74% = “Okay”
55% – 64% = “Poor”
Below 55% = “Very Poor”
How confident are you that your results would be in the “good” or “excellent” category?