This is the third of our nine part video series for financial advisers and planners on delivering an outstanding client experience. In this video I look at how to go about establishing what clients want from you.
The function of the mere critic is of very subordinate usefulness. It is the doer of deeds who actually counts in the battle for life, and not the man who looks on and says how the fight ought to be fought, without himself sharing the stress and the danger.
In this, the second of a specially commissioned series of 9 videos on delivering an outstanding client experience I explore the importance of being really clear about what your clients value about working with you.
I hated every minute of training but I said to myself, don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.
In our consultancy work with the financial planning sector, we often identify that the same key “blockages” or challenges are holding advisers back from achieving the results they are looking for.
1. No clear vision
Most advisers are so busy keeping all their plates spinning, that they simply haven’t taken the time to define, clarify and write down what they want their business to look like 3 or 5 years from now.
2. No Plan
Those that do have some idea of the kind of business they are looking to build haven’t taken the crucial next step of setting clear goals and establishing a plan to achieve them.
3. Poor Execution
In the chaos that is “business as usual”, even those that do have a plan, often struggle to execute that plan effectively. They delude themselves into thinking that having a plan is the thing that matters, when in reality, the plan is useless if you don’t, won’t or can’t implement it.
4. Wrong measures
Many advisers don’t look beyond revenue when it comes to tracking how their business is performing. Measures that look at productivity, profitability and client quality (AUM or recurring revenue per client for example) are much more likely to give you a true picture of how well you’re really doing and what your business might be worth.
5. Inconsistent marketing
The problem with marketing for many advisers is that they don’t do any! Developing a range of carefully targeted, sustained and consistent marketing strategies and tactics designed specifically for your target markets, where the messaging is focused on the challenges, worries, concerns that the client is facing is crucial for generating a sustainable flow of new client enquiries.
6. No differentiation
Any potential client searching for financial planning advice is likely to start by asking friends for a recommendation or by searching online. For those who do check out advisers online, their search results are likely to generate a list of…
similar businesses with…
similar websites talking about…
similar services that deliver…
similar benefits at a…
similar price through…
similar people with…
similar qualifications and paid…
similar salaries who use…
similar technology to research and recommend…
When everything looks the same, what factor will potential clients typically use to make their decision about who to work with? Price. And, if you compete on price, it’s probably best not to win!
Your company doesn’t define customer experience. Customers do. Customer experience is based on how your customers perceive your organisation and how well you meet their needs when they interact with, hear about and do business with your company”
Michael Hinshaw and Bruce Kasanoff, “Smart Customers, Stupid Companies”
This is the first in a series of 9 videos on how financial advisers and planners can deliver client experience and level of service that delights their clients, sets them apart from the competition and results in effortless referrals through word of mouth.
In this first video we explore why “client experience” is so important to your business.
For all sad words of tongue or pen the saddest are these: It might have been.
John Greenleaf Whittier
I believe that for a financial planning business, it’s important to develop a consistent, scalable and repeatable “client journey”, which supports the “on-boarding” of clients and delivery of initial advice. Very often, the way that clients are “on-boarded” is variable and inconsistent. This is particularly the case in large multi-adviser businesses, where each adviser prefers to do things their way rather than follow, even broadly, a defined and consistent approach.
The result is that the client experience can vary significantly, depending on which adviser they are working with. This means that there is no genuine brand value being created and crucially, that clients will say and feel very different things about your business.
Spending time considering what you want the client experience to look like, based of course on what really matters to clients and then designing your processes to deliver that, is the key to establishing yourself as a business that delights clients at every touchpoint. Mapping the ideal client journey from the moment an initial enquiry is received all the way through to the point where the advice has been fully implemented is a great way to create a really high quality client experience that feels tailored to each client, but is supported by a consistent, scalable and repeatable process.
The crucial thing to remember as you consider these questions is to look at the whole journey from the client’s perspective. Try to ignore what you do currently. Climb inside the mind and skin of your ideal client and create the sort of experience you’d like to have, if you were them. Better still, design it around what they have told you really matters to them.
If you cannot risk, you cannot grow. If you cannot grow, you cannot become your best. If you cannot become your best, you cannot be happy. If you cannot be happy, what else matter?
Dr David Viscott