Las Vegas: “I think we’ve got the service side of the business down pat,” stated Geoff before getting to his real issue “but I’m not sure we’re really differentiating our service model between our top clients and everyone else.”
By the nature of Geoff’s question, posed as a statement, it was obvious that there was little, if any, difference between the service Mr. and Mrs. Affluent received and Mr. and Mrs. Middle-Class. This highlights an issue that’s quite common amongst financial advisors; blurred, if any at all, service models.
Alas, the end result, at least for Geoff, is that it’s unlikely that his financial advisory service rocks as far as his affluent clients are concerned. Here’s the harsh reality about affluent perception of their financial advisor’s service; with only a business relationship (which has how nearly 3/4s of affluent clients view their relationship) less than half (47%) rate their advisor’s support team as Very Good. Ugh!
To put this into the proper context, the following data highlights how rare even good to very good service is from the perspective of the affluent consumer:
- Specialty Stores: 63%
- Department Stores: 50%
- Salon & Spa Services: 47%
- Airlines: 44%
- Cellular Services: 33%
- Cable Providers: 23%
It doesn’t appear that today’s affluent consumer is receiving outstanding service whether it’s dealing with a services provider or a specialty store. I’ve yet to meet a financial advisor satisfied to be rated good rather than very good by his or her affluent clients. To that point, I bet you can remember the last time you received outstanding service. It was a rewarding and not so common experience – right? I’d also wager this outstanding service experience was the result of a particular individual’s attitude, aptitude, and execution, which was most likely best of class. In other words, this person knew the ins and outs of their particular specialty, treated you as if you were the most important person to them at that particular moment, and did so in a timely manner.
What we’ve discovered is that with just a few minor adjustments, most financial advisors can raise their service to the very good #financialadvisorsrock level. The following steps will pave the way:
- Clearly define your Affluent Client Service model.
- Determine which clients should be placed in each segment. Use assets, revenue, advocacy, and other factors to help determine the ranking.
- Make certain every team member understands their role regarding your Affluent Service Model, and that they are empowered, trained, and held accountable for execution.
- Assign specific support personnel as assistant relationship manager to specific affluent clients.
- Have assigned support personnel proactively call each affluent client to touch- base; basically an unexpected personal service call. These personal calls should be made periodically, such as bi-monthly.
- Host a series of Intimate (6-10 clients) “Social” Events that are to be attended by you and your support team – allowing your affluent clients to interact with your support team in a social environment.
- You, financial advisor, in addition to hosting Intimate Social Events, make a point to do something social with each affluent client two to three times a year.
The aforementioned combines a Ritz Carlton quality of service delivered by your support personnel with the broadening of the relationship to include a social component; for you and support personnel. I recognize this is work, but the payoff is off the charts.
Make your service rock and you will continue to differentiate yourself, not just in comparison to other financial advisors, but in comparison to their CPA, attorney, family physician, and virtually every other provider with whom your affluent clients are conducting business. This serves to accelerate the affluent buzz factor – word-of-mouth influence.
All of this gave Geoff a “cause to pause.” I had him thinking, and he finally confessed, “If I’m honest with myself, our service doesn’t rock. There’s definitely a few things we could be doing better.”
Matt Oechsli is author of Building a Successful 21st Century Financial Practice: Attracting, Servicing & Retaining Affluent Clients. www.oechsli.com