What an Apple Store Has That Wealth Advisors Want

Providing a standardized ‘service experience’ can differentiate a firm from its competitors, FOX study says

Apple Store employees in Germany welcomed customers on the first day of selling the new iPad. (Photo: AP) Apple Store employees in Germany welcomed customers on the first day of selling the new iPad. (Photo: AP)

In their effort to better manage the complexities of integrating their clients’ planning and financial needs, wealth advisory firms are increasingly standardizing the way they deliver services, much like an Apple store, according to a study released last week by Family Office Exchange.

The study, “Enhancing the Client Service Experience,” found that advisory firms are approaching standardization in several ways, like automating processes, eliminating service inconsistencies between offices and regions, and designating teams to be responsible for process improvements and consistency.

“Standardization can help advisors become more efficient, while giving firms a more sustainable business model over the long term,” David Lincoln, FOX managing director of research, said in a statement.

The study found that firms are doing more to bring the client experience to life in their sales processes. Wealth advisors are adopting a more involved needs assessment during the sales cycle.

At the same time, they are showing greater sensitivity in the way they treat clients in everything from responsiveness to scheduling meetings.

Advisors have little choice in this, given that their products vary little from firm to firm, Lincoln said. “One of the big final frontiers for differentiation is creating ‘a service experience,’ much like, for example, a consumer receives when shopping in an Apple store.”

The new research follows on a FOX study released last year, showing that the need for growth was leading wealth advisory firms to stronger sales cultures and reinvigorated sales efforts.

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