With financial services, success usually means a series of steadily increasing numbers. Gauging a financial advisor’s performance when it comes to client satisfaction can be much more difficult. Nurturing relationships can prove challenging for entrepreneurs who have worked as salespeople – now they must not only close the sale, but work to foster trust and establish client capital. While a few aspects of customer service may be based on intuition, FAs can take several definite actions to improve the interaction between clients and their firms.
In an article for Entrepreneur magazine, Carol Tice offers several steps you can take to make the client experience better. If your office has a voicemail system, make sure it does not require an excessive number of steps. That said, it’s also important to have someone manning the phones during business hours, so clients don’t feel they’re always being greeted by a machine.
Relationship management is also key – staff members need to strike a delicate balance between being effective and aggressive at their jobs while avoiding coming across as pushy. Tice notes that the hard-sell is no longer useful for building client capital. In fact, it will likely push your prospects further away, she says. Remind your employees to be polite and patient in their sales meetings and in their day-to-day interactions with clients.
Of course, the best way to ensure high-quality client relationship management is by hiring people who value customer service, are self-motivated to anticipate clients’ needs and who will work tirelessly to ensure their satisfaction. (We have a series of articles on the process of recruiting and hiring employees. Check out the posts for tips on determining what you need in a new hire and how to find the right person.)
Remember, all of your employees are representatives of the business, and therefore everyone must hone his or her customer service skills. Consider a coaching program to develop skills in not only sales, but running a business, marketing and serving clients.
Tice also notes the power of the unexpected gesture – sending a handwritten note on a client’s birthday or offering to help with a task outside your duties can make a lasting impression. Empowering your employees to be proactive about fixing a problem that pops up will also enable your firm to be more responsive to complaints.
What are some of the procedures or policies you’ve established in your firm for guaranteeing the highest-quality client experience? Do all of your employees, no matter what position they hold, operate with the unofficial title of “customer service representative?”