What does it mean to provide a great client experience? This is a difficult question to answer in a day and age where clients are expecting to simply be satisfied with service. However, a satisfying experience is not good enough – your clients want a uniquely great client experience that defies their expectations.
In order to implement the experience, you must first decide what you want your clients’ experience to be and work backwards from there.
Begin with segmentation. Is this client in the right place with your firm? Are you meeting the client’s needs, and are they meeting yours? There are two parts of segmentation. The science of segmentation requires examining the documentation and specific details to determine if they are worth retaining as a client. Examine the revenue they provide, if they’ve provided referrals, if they use multiple services of the firm, if they’re easy to work wit, and any other factor you can think of. You can quantify all these items and sort people into groups. However, you need to balance the science of segmentation with the art of segmentation when you divide your clients into groups.
The art of segmentation is your gut feeling of where the client should be. This would be the client you examine above the numbers, the client you feel the need to work with no matter what. Whatever the case, you need to know your break-even point and determine which clients are unprofitable. For help on determining your client breakeven point, click here and enter the code “segment” to download our Client Segmentation Spreadsheet.
The next step in providing a great client experience is to review your service model. Determine your level of client contact and what kind of communication you need for each type of client and how often: do this for everyone, from your A+ clients to your prospects. Every client is different, and you need to provide each of them the communication they need without feeling pestered or annoyed. On top of that, phone calls by all team members should be handled with professional grace. Everyone on your team represents the whole firm, so ensure your entire team is up to the task of communicating effectively with your clients.
Then move on to the systems that back up your service model. Once you’ve identified who you want to reach and how, identify the best systems to back up your communication efforts and effectively carry them out. Utilize a CRM and other technological tools that can help you manage and, possibly automate, your interactions with clients and prospects. Provide written how-to instructions for each system to ensure continuity when new employees join your team. Having an effective service model is great, but you need to have the systems in place and effectively implemented to back it up.
Above all else, focus on mastering the controllable aspects of your client experience: the services you deliver, the amount and type of contact, face-to-face meetings, the way you explain financial issues, etc.
You may not be able to directly control the markets or portfolio return, but if you excel in creating a superb client experience, your clients will be happy and loyal. And client loyalty will only lead you in one direction: up.