The best firms in our profession have moved beyond solely concentrating on their technical competence and have started to focus on creating a fabulous client experience. It really is just a given that you know your stuff technically and so, once you reach that level of technical skill, there are more important things to spend your time doing.
To be honest, most clients are not capable of evaluating your technical skill and what you sell is so intangible it could take 10 or 20 years for a client to know if the advice you provided was any good or not. This does not mean you can just blag your way through life as an adviser, however. Get it wrong and the downside is pretty big. That said, assuming you are competent to practise, then the next thing to work on is making your total advisory process fun and rewarding for clients – the client experience.
Over the next few articles we will examine what makes up the client experience, including:
- Ensuring the client engagement process is fun, educational and tight:
From the initial client phone call to your office, right through until the end of the annual review meeting, every step should be fun for clients – yes, fun. Not only that, but clients should feel more educated about what you are doing for them. This doesn’t mean they have to become financial advisers but they should understand the concepts you are working with. On top of all that, the process should be tight with you, not the client, directing the show at each step. People prefer to be guided with a firm hand by somebody who knows what they are doing. What we sometimes think of as flexibility can come across as wishy-washy and vague, which certainly doesn’t instil confidence.
- Demonstrating value – and the ‘wow factor’ – in each step of the advice process:
whenever you speak to a client face-to-face, there should be an element of ‘wow’ – something extra the client wasn’t expecting but was nonetheless delivered by you. These ‘wow factor’ moments can be built into your process from start to finish.
- Delivering real financial planning advice:
real financial planning addresses the client’s biggest issues, such as “How much is enough?” or “Will my money last as long as I do in retirement?” This is different from what I would call “financial reorganisation”, where one or two issues are sorted out because that is what leads to the quickest sale and a commission for the adviser.
- Using technology to present the complex simply:
in a great client experience, smart use of technology can enhance the understanding of the client and greatly improve buy-in. Tools such as cash flow modelling software can show the client quickly and graphically the impact of their decisions – whether to take or not take action.