All firms talk about service, but the key is backing it up with stellar execution. We consistently hear from advisors that service is more important than almost anything else—and a top reason they recommend TAMPs (Turnkey Asset Management Programs). To earn a recommendation, TAMPs should adopt a strategy that aligns advisors’ needs with measurable business goals.
Care About, Invest In and Empower People
Start with serving advisors through fully empowered people who serve with a purpose. Five years ago we transformed our hiring practices with less focus on experience, and put more energy into finding passionate, optimistic, driven people who have the ability to build great relationships. You can teach skills. You can’t teach passion for service. Service people must become trusted partners who help advisors get the most from a platform and serve their clients.
Honoring the Client Organization-Wide through Communication
The number one way to honor clients is to ensure they have a constant line of communication with your firm. Nobody wants the run-around when they need a question answered; clients are no different. One effective strategy is to create service relationship management structures where a single person can be responsible for handling incoming client inquiries at all times, and that person takes ownership of delivering the solution end-to-end. Anyone answering a client inquiry should be properly trained and prepared to take ownership of a call and find answers fast. Finally, it’s critical that employees are trained to determine the clients’ ultimate need, and supply an answer that solves for that need versus simply answering the question that was asked.
Regularly Obtain Client Feedback
Many firms claim, “We’re an extension of your back office,” but how many put client feedback into promotion and bonus decisions? Creating a real-time feedback loop to process and prioritize customer concerns turns ideas into actions. It is important to initiate immediate and regular connections with advisors and their staff to power continuous improvement and evolve faster than your competition.
Enable Great Service through Technology
In the 21st century, a key component of service is making an investment in technology that helps to better serve your clients. Invest in technology to identify who is calling and deliver information to the service person before they pick up the call. Ensure all answers are given accurately and consistently the first time by serving up knowledge content that helps solve advisor’s needs. Service teams must have access to all operational data to provide complete information about the status of a request. Lastly, firms must have strong operational data and management reports to track average speed to answer, service levels and call volumes in order to ensure that you can appropriately plan and forecast your staffing needs to be there when your clients need you.
By hiring and retaining people who are passionate about service, deploying well-integrated technology, and relentlessly tracking the metrics that matter, TAMPs can earn the trust of financial clients, grow their businesses and be well-positioned for the long run. Set against a backdrop of unpredictable markets, eleventh-hour trades, and assumed risks, the consistent delivery of excellent service stands out as a pillar of security and stability.
Carrie Hansen is EVP and Chief Operating Officer of AssetMark, a provider of investment and consulting solutions serving financial advisors.