Ensure what you offer has value and how you deliver it, is an experience
Ensure what you deliver offers value (value proposition) and how you deliver it is an experience
A great client experience doesn’t happen by chance, it needs to be designed
A great client experience is a competitive advantage and a differentiator
What is the experience your clients have when they engage with your business? Does that match the experience you want them to have? Does that experience build trust and make them want to tell others about you?
In the experience economy of today people don’t buy products, they buy experiences. And whether that experience was worth the price they paid (the value experience), is dependent on whether the financial outcome and the service they expected have been met or exceeded.
The starting point of a great client experience is meeting the client’s expectation with the product or service you deliver: The physical dimension. Delivering a good product or service is the entry fee to the game. Clients expect you to deliver great advice; be technically proficient; know your stuff. They expect the product you recommend to deliver the financial outcome that was planned: do what it says on the tin!
So, here is an interesting question: How do we deliver what is expected if we do not have control over the outcome?
Determine what it is your client expect
Without knowing the financial and service expectations, advisors won’t know which criteria the client will use to evaluate success. If these expectations are unrealistic or not workable for the advisor, it needs to be re-defined and communicated as part of the advice agreement.
Clearly define, quantify, and agree on the financial and service expectations
Advisors should clearly define and quantify both the financial and service expectations upfront. The financial expectations need to be clearly stated in terms of realistic outcomes and the risk required to achieve the outcomes. This is done best with a wealth plan that is engaging and creates context for the suitability of the recommended investment strategy. The service expectations also need to be defined upfront in terms of the service model and should be captured in the advice agreement.
Ensure the recommended solution is aligned
Thirdly, the advisor should ensure that the recommended investment solution is managed in alignment with the same outcomes-based principles. This could assist in managing the investor’s behavior and enhancing the probability of achieving the planned outcome.
Delivering on the physical element of the experience will ensure that the client’s financial and service expectations are met. It will deliver “client satisfaction”. However, a satisfied client will not necessarily be a loyal client because the glue that makes the client stick, is the emotional connection to the advisor’s business.
Turning a good experience into a great experience
When the product or service meet or exceed the expectation it contributes to a positive client experience, but it is the emotional dimension that will wow them.
When clients engage with an advice business they want to experience financial peace of mind, feel secure in their financial future, and be in control of their financial destiny. Clients also want to feel that they are important and valued.
Advisors that design their client experience model to deliver on these emotional factors adds another value dimension to their advice and changes the focus from the product to the value of the advisor as a guide to financial wellbeing.
So, what are the emotions you evoke in your clients? Is your client discovery process, wealth plan, client communication and review meetings designed to create emotional value or are you leaving it to chance?
Advisors often ask: How can I differentiate my business when everybody offers the same services?
The answer to this question is not only in the “what is offered” but rather in the “how it is delivered”. By building a value proposition on delivering a wealth management experience, advisors can create a unique competitive advantage that is difficult to copy.
So, what makes a wealth management experience great?
THE FIVE DETERMINANTS OF A GREAT WEALTH MANAGEMENT EXPERIENCE
1 Meet or exceed the client’s expectations
An advisor does not have to meet every expectation a client may have. By re-defining and quantifying expectations upfront the advisor can ensure that the expectations are realistic and viable. Both the advisor and client must agree on the expectations. This allows the advisor to focus on the functional and service elements that are aligned with the criteria that the client will use to evaluate the experience. This in turn will ensure that the expectations are met.
2 The experience must be valued by the client
Advisors know what is important from a technical point of view to achieve the client’s financial goals. Investment planning usually focuses on required returns, asset allocation and fund performance. Although these are of great value from a financial planning perspective, it is often not what the client values. This technical expertise is what they would expect from a professional advisor.
The emotional element of any product and service is at least 50% of its value. Clients value an advice process that shows them how they can finance the life events that are personal and important to them; they value the feeling of being in control of their financial destiny; they value experiencing peace of mind and a sense of financial wellbeing.
Advisors should ensure that each touchpoint with the client conveys these messages in a personal and engaging way.
3 The experience must have meaning and purpose
Advisors are in control of the advice narrative and too often the message in planning and review meetings, and even in client valuation reports, focus on the investment fund, performance, or the markets. Advisors themselves focus their value on investment products or performance instead of guiding the client to a better financial destiny.
For clients to have a great wealth management experience they must feel that every interaction with the advice business has meaning for them. That is why the planning meeting should focus on exploring life goals that are important to them. Review meetings should focus on the progress that has been made in achieving the goal and identifying actions that need to be taken to ensure that the goals are achieved. Client communication should focus on empowering the client to make better financial decisions and influence their behavior.
4 The experience must be personal
People do not like to be advised. They want to be empowered. Clients want to be engaged and to achieve that the wealth management process must make it personal. It needs to connect their life to their wealth.
The client discovery process should therefore focus on exploring the client’s goals and personalising these goals by linking it to people and life events. That is why a goals-based wealth management approach is so valuable. It creates the “why” which motivates the client to follow through on the plan. It also assists in creating context which help the client understand why the recommended investment strategy is appropriate for the particular goal. Clients are motivated and their behavior changed when the wealth plan is personal.
The experience should also be made more personal through small actions. Small gestures like having biscuits or cake at a review meeting, sending a handwritten birthday card, or following up on something they mentioned at a previous meeting are examples of personalisation.
These actions build a trusted relationship because they show you know the client and that you care.
5 The experience must have an element of surprise
People want to be surprised. It gives them a feeling of excitement, joy, amazement and makes them feel special. And who does not like to feel special? It can be something as small as an article you send to your client about their hobby. It can be an SMS warning them that their drivers license is about to expire or reminding them of their wedding anniversary.
Things like these are unexpected and show you know them which creates an emotional bond that contributes to trust and loyalty.
If you want to turn loyal clients into brand evangelists make sure you deliver an experience they will talk about
Sustaining and growing an advice business is dependent on building and maintaining trusted relationships. Trusted relationships turn clients into brand evangelists.
Loyalty is built and value enhanced when clients have a great wealth management experience.
So, ask yourself: What is the one or two touchpoints I can change with limited effort or cost that will make an immediate impact on the wealth management experience of my clients? Try it, and just maybe you will experience WOW!