It seems that every year, more financial advisory firms are setting new standards for what clients can expect to experience when working with them.

Whether you’re an individual advisor or you run a larger firm, delivering a remarkable client experience is the key to standing out, in addition to attracting great clients and retaining the people you already serve.

In this blog post, we’ll explore practical steps and considerations to help financial advisors deliver a remarkable client experience for current and future clients.

Who Gets What?

One size doesn’t fit all in the financial advisory world. Recognizing this is the first step toward a remarkable client experience. Not every client needs everything you can do. Begin by segmenting your clients based on their needs, preferences, financial goals and profitability to your business (more on this next).

Our Client Segmentation Worksheet is a valuable resource for this purpose, providing insights into how you can tailor services to specific client tiers.

Imagine The Possibilities!

Next, brainstorm all the amazing services, value and resources you can provide your clients in each tier. Don’t hold back! And don’t (yet) worry about how much it will cost. Just think big. The more you expand your mind about all the ways you might serve your clients, the more potentially great ideas you’ll come up with!

Also, don’t hold yourself back during this brainstorming by asking, “Will compliance allow me to do this?” Just brainstorm! You can cross off ideas after if they aren’t feasible for any reason.

As an example, consider the following questions:

  • Have you thought about coordinating an around-the-world trip with your clients?
  • Have you considered chartering a large fishing boat?
  • Have you looked into bringing a professional therapist in-house?
  • Can you have a golf simulator or coffee shop in your office for clients to enjoy while they wait for their meeting time?

The possibilities are endless!

Again, some of your ideas (or even the ideas listed above) might not be feasible from a financial or compliance perspective. But the point is to think and dream!

The more ideas you brainstorm, the better the probability that one or more could be a game-changer for your client experience.

Client experience entails not just the actual financial advisory services you provide, but the entire spectrum of ways in which your clients engage and interact with you, your team and your company. Therefore, you should think of ideas in your brainstorming exercise related to client onboarding, review meetings, appreciation events, services and more. Next, you’ll start narrowing your list.

How Much Does It Cost?

Of course, you’re running a business. So, it’s vital to understand the profitability of every idea you execute and implement. The first step to knowing this is to look at your client tiers and evaluate the financial costs associated with each tier of client based on hours of your time, your team’s time, resources delivered, etc., to understand the revenue that each client generates for your business.

Once you know the revenue per client in each tier, and the cost to serve each client in each tier, you have an idea of the profitability per client. This isn’t an exact science – there’s not one specific formula that every firm uses. The key is to come up with a number you trust as reliable.

World-renowned direct-response marketer Dan Kennedy is famous for saying, “Whoever can spend the most to acquire a client wins.” His point was that if you can outspend your competitors on advertising or running events that attract your ideal clients, then your competitors might find it difficult to compete.

Now, obviously this has its limits, as clients can come to you or any other advisor in a multitude of ways. The point is, if you know how much profit you earn per client, you can figure out how much you can spend to acquire a client.

Although Dan’s quote is referring to acquiring a client, I mention it in this blog on creating a remarkable client experience because I’ve adapted the quote for retaining clients. You could also say, “Whoever can spend the most to retain a client will win.” If you can continually increase your revenue and profitability per client, you can invest more into your business to provide your clients with an outstanding, remarkable experience with you and your firm.

This is the point at which you can eliminate ideas that aren’t financially feasible based on your current profitability per client. Then, once you have a solid, reasonable, realistic list of ideas for how to improve your client experience, move onto the next step.

Prioritize Your Plan

Prioritize initiatives based on importance, feasibility and financial viability. Identify which initiatives can be executed in the current year and allocate resources accordingly. This step ensures a focused and realistic approach to delivering value. If you really made a great effort in the brainstorming process, you likely have several ideas that you could (at some point) implement. But you only have the resources, time, people and energy that you have today.

For example, if you came up with 100 legitimate, great ideas for improving your client experience, it would be bit chaotic to ask your team and yourself to implement all 100 over the next few months. Instead, identify the ideas on the list that seem like they would make the biggest positive impact and could be implemented over the next few months.

Also, instead of just guessing about what you think would make the biggest positive impact, ask the people who it will ultimately affect: your clients.

Host a Client Advisory Council

Direct client feedback is invaluable. Host a Client Advisory Council to provide a platform for clients to express their needs and expectations directly. This forum not only demonstrates your commitment to delivering the best value possible to your clients, it also offers insights that might not be obvious from your or your team’s perspective. Listening to clients helps you customize your approach to meet their specific expectations.

An awesome tangential benefit to hosting a client advisory council is that it sets you up perfectly to ask your best clients for introductions to people they care about who you and your team could be serving, too.

Certainly, it’s important to get fresh ideas directly from your clients. But remember, this is also a place to get feedback on your brainstormed ideas from your clients. You can quickly identify which ideas your clients love and which they’re not as enthused by. Then, once you have solid ideas you’ve confirmed resonate with your clients, it’s time to set up to execute and implement.

Who Owns It All?

Assign ownership of each initiative to specific team members and establish clear expectations for timelines for implementation. Having specific individuals responsible for key aspects of the client experience ensures accountability and facilitates smoother execution. Regular check-ins and progress reviews help keep the team aligned with the overarching goal.

Also, clearly communicate your expectations for when certain tasks need to be completed. If a deadline isn’t set, it’s easy for these great ideas to be kicked down the road. And if the idea can truly turn your client experience from “good” to “remarkable,” you can’t afford to delay.

Cultivating a Culture of Curiosity

Encourage a culture of continuous improvement within your team. Inspire all team members to always ask, “How can we make this better for our clients?” This mindset sparks creativity and innovation, leading to ongoing enhancements in service delivery. If you and your team constantly have an eye on the “client experience,” you can be prepared to see new and better ways of serving your clients. And this mindset and attitude on your team could be the difference between growing at an OK pace and growing at an exciting, inspiring pace.

Embrace the Purple Cow Concept

In Seth Godin’s book, Purple Cow, he advocates for businesses to be remarkable, standing out like a purple cow in a field of ordinary black-and-white cows. Financial advisors can apply this concept by identifying unique and remarkable elements in their service offerings.

Consider what makes your firm extraordinary – whether it’s a cutting-edge technology platform, a distinctive approach to financial planning, unparalleled customer service or client events and fun experiences that everyone talks about. Embrace these unique aspects and showcase them to clients, reinforcing the idea that your firm is unlike any other.

Elevate Your Service, Create More Value

Creating a remarkable client experience is an ongoing journey that requires strategic planning, client engagement and a commitment to continuous improvement. By segmenting clients, setting priorities, fostering a culture of curiosity and embracing client feedback, financial advisors can elevate their service delivery. And if you need support in this journey, get in touch with us.

By finding and implementing ways to serve even more value and a greater experience to clients, financial advisors can transform their practice into a remarkable, differentiated company in our crowded financial advisory space.

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