In our recent articles, we covered several areas of practice management that are top of mind for many advisors:
Continuing our theme of practice management, in this article we’ll discuss client satisfaction and the importance of a happy and engaged client. We’ll look at the key drivers of satisfaction and ways you can measure and improve how satisfied your clients are with your firm and the services your firm offers.
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It is no secret that client loyalty has a strong impact on the bottom line. Industry research from Advisor Impact shows that satisfied and engaged clients are the number one source of referrals for advisors, providing a strong source of new business development. In fact, according to Advisor Impact, 90% of your existing clients are willing to provide referrals if asked.1
As many advisors know, typically it is more cost effective to retain existing clients than it is to recruit new ones. Additionally, it is more enjoyable to work with clients that are happy with you than the alternative.
Some of the key drivers of client satisfaction are:
· Individual attention – Having a client-centered service model
· Competence – Demonstrating deep levels of knowledge and expertise
· Hustle – Going the extra mile to resolve issues
· Consistency – Communicating regularly on important topics so clients are not surprised
· Responsiveness – Providing timely service delivery and multi-channel availability (phone, email, web, office)
· Listening – Taking the time to understand client needs and educating them on solutions
Just aiming to satisfy clients may not be enough. You want your clients to not only be satisfied, but also to be engaged. Satisfied clients may stay with you, but won’t necessarily be your advocate and may also be open to moving their accounts to the competition; therefore it is very important to pay attention to this area of practice management.
How do you move your clients from satisfied to engaged? One technique that you may want to consider is to offer comprehensive wealth management. The more services your firm offers, like financial planning, tax and estate planning, charitable giving, etc., the more likely they are to be engaged with you. This concept of “stickiness” goes a long way towards clients finding your firm invaluable.
You may also engage clients by making them part of your service process by proactively soliciting their opinions and ideas for improving your firm. This can be accomplished by conducting annual client surveys, creating Client Advisory Boards, and holding client events. Additionally, consider increasing your client communications through newsletters blogs3 and by developing a more interactive Web site with market data, educational articles, account information and the like.
Do you know how many times your firm has made contact or “touched” each of your clients in the last year? CEG Worldwide’s research on the middle-class millionaire found that the most highly satisfied and loyal of the 1,412 affluent investors who were surveyed received an average of 24 non-financial-focused contacts from their advisors in the previous year.2 While 24 “touches” may seem like a lot, when you break it down into the number of portfolio reviews you do, emails, birthday cards, holiday cards, newsletters you send, phone calls you make, and invitations to events you hold, it quickly becomes a process that is easily managed and can be facilitated through a robust CRM system.
Incorporate these practices into your business and you may find yourself working with happier and more importantly engaged clients – a recipe that can go a long way to driving success in your firm.
1 “50,000 Clients Can’t Be Wrong: Advisor Impact Client Index: 2009,” November 2009
2 “Blueprint for Success”, By Patricia J. Abram, Research Magazine, November 2008
3 When maintaining or participating in social networking, such as blogs, advisors should consider relevant provisions of the Investment Advisor Act, and communications standards set forth by the FTC.
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