3 oversights from advisors regarding client experience

March 31, 2017 by Zach Weidman

An advisor discusses a financial plan with a client

About the author:

Zach Weidman

Enterprise account executive

Zach strives to help enterprise firms stay out in front of the pack with technology by helping to implement easy and repeatable internal processes. Zach enjoys learning more about a firms process to help fit technology and strategy together to achieve their goals.

Knowing your audience is paramount in any industry that provides customer service, caters to client experiences, or looks to sell a product. The better you know who you are selling or delivering your services to, the easier it is to put yourself in their shoes.

This can be simple for situations that we have all been in, but in the financial services realm, it can be difficult for advisors to see it from the other side of the table. Working with organizations of all sizes, I frequently see three common oversights regarding client experience.

Industry jargon

Industry terms like “The DOL Rule” are getting more publicity and creeping into the vocabulary of the average consumer, specifically “fiduciary.” However, most of the jargon concerning different products, fees, and strategies are confusing to the end consumer.

The oversight here is that a majority of advisors got their start in the financial services space early in their career so as they have gained knowledge about most of the jargon to most it is a foreign language. If you have confused your clients or your prospects, it is likely that your client experience could use a bit of a makeover.

The easy fix

Create materials or utilize technology that can help you convey your value proposition and strategies in an accessible way, even if the subject matter is complex. These complex matters may be challenging to execute, but can be better conveyed conceptually than what most advisors do now. Second, communicate effectively and provide clarity through each step of the process.

There will be situations where industry jargon cannot be replaced, but as long as you are providing clarity and communication throughout your client relationship you will be better at creating peace of mind; this is a significant aspect of the client experience and a big reason why they seek your services.

Not enough technology

Much like how the times are changing, so is client experience. Technology has significantly changed the way that both the client and the advisor do business. In the past, account balances were either mailed out every few months or obtained by calling a financial professional. But now there are ways to see statements, financial plans, goal tracking, and more all on your cell phone, tablet, or computer.

The oversight here is that the financial services industry is a very “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” industry. While some firms have already adopted technology in their practice, my experience in talking with firms indicates that most of the industry is still lacking.

The easy fix

Evaluate technology early and often. Feel free to ask your clients what technological capabilities they want from your services. For an example, having a portal can enhance your client experience while also reducing an advisor’s workload because the client can access information on their own.

Progress planning

There is no universal or standard relationship between a client and advisor, and meeting regularity can vary. Regardless of the frequency at which you meet with your clients, each engagement should have purpose outside of just returns. The oversight here is that when the returns are up, the client experience is great. However, when the returns are down, it is a different story.

The easy fix

Bring progress reporting and goal monitoring into your process and be diligent about updating it every time you meet with a client. This helps you bring value regardless of whether returns are up or down. You can align the investments to the goals at hand to properly showcase how the returns affect their goals and make adjustments. This ultimately has much more of an impact on your client than returns alone.

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