Do You Know How Long It Takes Your Firm To Respond To A Client Request?

Sharing the business, financial, and service metrics with your staff will require that you have an increased level of trust and change the way that you communicate with them. At your next weekly staff meeting, instead of starting the meeting with a laundry list of updates from the team, take out the metric reports and discuss the key drivers of your business. Allow them to see the trends of these key drivers for the past month, quarter, year, etc. and discuss the trends that concern you and the trends that you should all be excited about. 
Be prepared to listen to your staff as they will most likely base their reaction on their thoughts and feelings about what metrics you want to improve. Its up to you to steer the conversation to the facts without placing blame. Instead of hearing that your new accounts team is swamped, that resources are short in client service, and feeling that your job is to provide some oil to the squeaky wheel, you can respond with the metrics and in turn discuss the facts. Here are some examples of what I mean:
-          As you know, we seek to provide excellent service to our clients. I am concerned about the response time in which we get back to our clients. According to our metrics, our average is within 2 hours; however, we have a few instances that have gone for more than 4 hours before we responded. Explain to me what we can do to reduce the range of the distribution of our response times? Keep in mind that our client that didn’t hear from us for 4 hours doesn’t care that our average was 2 hours. Their specific experience is their reality.
Pretty soon, when using the metrics as a basis for your staff meetings, you will find that your conversation, discussion points and agenda will naturally gravitate to things that your clients care about and things that will allow you to make improvements to your business. Empower your staff to bring ideas to improve the processes and provide training and incentives to do so.   When you find a broken process ask yourself and your staff, is it a people problem or a process problem? If it’s a people problem you either need to train the staff on completing the process correctly, or in some instances you will need to replace the staff member with a more competent person. If it’s a process problem, brainstorm with the people doing the job for ways to improve it. Instead of running around fixing the squeaky wheel, your staff will start monitoring, improving, and creating efficiencies for their respective areas of the metrics. Over the long run, your staff will own the metrics, and allow you to allocate resources towards making your business run better and more profitable. Keep an open mind as you go through this process as it will take time to find metrics that will move the dial for your business and patience to let the changes you implement go into effect.  
By George Tamer and Eric Clarke
George Tamer, Director, Strategic Relationships, TD Ameritrade Institutional
George can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Eric Clarke, President, Orion Advisor Services
Eric can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
TD AMERITRADE, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC/NFA. This is not an offer or solicitation in any jurisdiction where we are not authorized to do business. Past performance of a security does not guarantee future results. All investments are subject to investment risk, including possible loss of the principal invested.

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