As a financial advisor, one of the most valuable elements of your practice is the building of genuine relationships with your clients. Since they are trusting you with not only their money but their hopes for their future, it’s vital to your business that you develop a strong customer experience and connection.
The issue with many financial practices is that they don’t always take the time to work on that experience to see how it can be improved. Fortunately, if you’re worried that your clients aren’t getting the most from your interactions, or you’re just hoping to make things better, you can take incremental steps to get to a better place.
Today we want to discuss a three-step strategy that will ensure you’re rebuilding the customer experience the right way. It doesn’t take a massive overhaul of your practice – just a bit of intuition and perspective.
Step One: Walk a Mile in Your Client’s Shoes
You know what it’s like to work at your practice, but do you know what it’s like to visit it as a client? Have you ever walked into the building with fresh eyes and seen how your business operates from the customer’s perspective?
While it may be a little challenging to try and come in with an objective lens next time you go to work, it can prove very beneficial if you can do that. If you want to make sure that you’re not missing anything, you can ask friends or colleagues to act like customers to get their feedback as well.
What does it feel like when you walk through the door? If you were someone looking for financial advice, does the building and the staff look welcoming? How are you greeted when you come in? Does the place feel out of touch, or does it seem like a place where clients can feel comfortable and relaxed?
Try to consider each aspect of the customer experience when looking at it from the client’s eyes. If people have to wait for a little while, what is that like? Is there water or refreshments available? How long do clients have to wait on average? Does the receptionist provide updates regularly during their wait? Do clients have to speak up, or are you anticipating their needs?
Overall, you want to try and look at the whole picture, from the appearance of the office to the little details that can make the customer experience more valuable. Then, once you’ve walked a mile in their shoes, you can take notes about any changes or adjustments that will ensure you’re making the right improvements.
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Step Two: Ask for Feedback
With retail businesses and customer service companies, they often will ask for feedback all the time. They’ll ask clients to fill out surveys to find out what they liked about the experience and what could be improved.
When was the last time that you asked your current clients about your service? How often are you soliciting feedback to find out what’s working and what could be improved? If you haven’t done that already, now is the perfect time to do so.
It can seem a little odd to ask customers for feedback unprompted, but it’s a great way to break the ice and establish a better connection to your clientele. Also, if your customers offer any feedback already (i.e., thank you for your advice last week), feel free to dive deeper and learn more about what they liked (and what they didn’t).
Often, just asking clients about their experience can yield some valuable insight into your practice. Again, it can be challenging to come in with an objective lens, so seeing things through their eyes will be an excellent way to improve your practice.
Step Three: Make Small, Incremental Changes
Another thing that many practices do when trying to improve the customer experience is to overhaul the system and come up with a grand plan to make things better. While having an overarching strategy is good, you don’t want to do too much too fast.
Instead, focus on smaller changes and implement them regularly. Perhaps the first thing you change could be adding artwork to the lobby so that clients have something positive to look at when they walk through the door. Another change could be having the receptionist engage with clients more when they arrive.
There are two advantages of taking smaller steps when working on the customer experience. First, it won’t be too jarring to the clients you already have. Instead, it will be a gradual change that will help them feel better about coming to see you.
Second, you can make adjustments as needed along the way. If you implemented a grand overhaul of your system, then it can be harder to see what works best and what doesn’t. If you make individual changes, you can see how they’re received and either continue using them or switch to something else.
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Bottom Line – Start Small and Grow From There
When rebuilding the customer experience, it’s best to take a more subdued approach. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, so don’t assume that it will take a lot of time or investment to get to where you want to be. That being said, following these steps can yield results in just a few days or weeks, and remember that any improvement, no matter how small, is still significant in your customer’s eyes.
Opinions expressed are those of Signature Wealth Group and not necessarily those of RJFS or Raymond James. All opinions are as of this date and are subject to change without notice. The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete.