Nowadays, investors are expecting more when it comes to the quality and breadth of the financial services they receive. This is because they interact with big SaaS companies that provide top-notch customer services like Netflix and Spotify regularly, if not on a daily basis. These experiences have a paramount impact on clients’ expectations of every other online vendor; the wealth industry is not an exception. Wealth consumers now expect every digital interaction to be highly personalized, relevant, timely and effective. Here are 6 ways financial advisors can adopt to improve client engagement, retain loyal customers and generate more referrals:
As mentioned in 5 Things Advisors can Learn from Robo-Advisors, the most crucial way to fortify advisor-client relationships is regular and proactive communication. Clients want to be well informed, updated and checked in on.
“The unpredictability of the current environment demands that advisors spend time with their clients, even if it’s just a quick text to check in” (Forbes).
Proactively reaching out to investors, especially during market votalities, is the best way to ascertain clients and strengthen their trust in the providers. In fact, the most recent study by IG Wealth Management showed that 69% of the 1500 investors it surveyed said that they are not feeling financially healthy because of the recent market conditions.
Christine Van Cauwenberghe, head of financial planning at IG Wealth Management, shares that “If they’re not going to be okay, then help them understand how they need to change course because now is the time that advice can really make a difference. You can really distinguish yourself and prove your true value if you’re there for your clients when the chips are down.”
In addition, according to the Wealth 4.0 report, one of the other strongest drivers of trust is to act in clients’ best interest. To do so, advisors need to carefully and thoroughly understand their financial goals and objectives. Regular check-ins will ensure that both providers and investors are on the same page. It is also a great opportunity to clear any uncertainties or to support clients if they are going through difficult times or life-changing events in their personal lives.
Besides scheduled review sessions, don’t hesitate to use text messages or set up a quick call to check in from time to time.
Even though clients still value face-to-face interactions with their advisors, they also like to have the option to reach out and communicate at their own convenience via digital channels. In fact, 90% of investors claimed that their preferred communication channel is through mobile applications. So why not implement that into your practice?
Making it simple for clients to compliantly communicate with their providers through any digital platform is crucial. For example, texting can be a quick and efficient way to communicate with clients, especially in a remote-working environment.
To effectively endorse this practice, wealth management firms must equip their advisors with the best tools. According to the Putnam Investments survey, advisors said that the two most impactful ways corporate supports their business is by expanding the number of approved channels (48%) and providing timely, relevant content to share (55%).
To continuously understand clients’ expectations and optimize customer service, advisors have to gather feedback and reviews from clients on a regular basis. This can be in bi-annual client satisfaction surveys or questionnaire forms provided during check-in sessions. Collecting clients’ feedback shows them that you care about their input and want to improve your services.
After collecting the data, bake in those good recommendations and act on the problems, if any. You’ll be surprised at how powerful these insights and guides can be on the path towards optimization of client services.
With 81% of consumers trust their friends and family’s recommendations over advice from a business, it is clear that word of mouth is the best marketing method for firms to get new clients. Indeed, what can be more trust-worthy than a tried and tested service?
Making the referral process as seamless as possible incentivizes and generates more referrals from existing clients. When the opportunity comes, the last thing you want is to not have a doorway for customers to refer your service to their friends and family.
Here are some things to consider when launching any referral program:
Clients’ anniversaries or special holidays are like a cherry on top; customers will definitely feel appreciated and special when their advisors remember events that are meaningful to them. It costs more to acquire new clients than to retain existing customers, and showing your appreciation to loyal clients will strengthen the advisor-client relationship.
However, it’s essential to make these connection points meaningful and intimate, rather than just for show. Clients know when providers are being genuine. If need to, record the details that you learn in a single and easily accessible file or a CRM platform, so you don’t let anything slip through the cracks. Doing this will not only help you draw a more complete and holistic picture, but also to show them that you care, even about the smallest deets.
The takeaway here? Pay close attention to investors’ religious holidays, birthdays and anniversaries. Better yet, set up reminders in your calendar to remind yourself a day or two in advance.
There are many benefits when firms and advisors provide client-centric services to retain their long-term customers, from recurring revenue to ongoing referrals. In amid of the Great Wealth Transfer and the rise of automated robo-advisors, it is now more crucial than ever to reprioritize and adopt good client service practices to win not just the wallet, but also the hearts and minds of generations to come.