5 Ways to Fix the Blind Spot Inside Your Business

How to assess your customer service

(Photo: Thinkstock) (Photo: Thinkstock)

Our work in appointment setting gives us a unique perspective on advisors’ businesses. We get to see a dynamic range of styles, approaches, and specializations as advisors from around the country engage us to help them grow their businesses. While seeing what differs from advisor to advisor is interesting, the commonalities can be even more insightful.

For example, we typically see that advisors—regardless of their location or target market—have the same blind spot, and that blind spot is lurking inside of their businesses, right under their noses.

How does your client feel about working with you? What is the client experience really like?

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You may think you know the answers to these questions, but your view is likely warped, which makes the blind spot even more pronounced. The reality is that we tend to pay the most attention to the feedback given by the top 20% of clients, but these are also the clients who receive most of your attention. If you want insights that lead to growth in your business, talk to all of your clients. You are likely to find that many of the clients in the other 80% have the potential to be your best clients if only you connected with them in a particular way.

To uncover opportunities within your own business to not only improve but to grow—elevating the client experience typically leads to more frequent high-value referrals—you need genuine feedback on your strengths and weaknesses as an advisor. With that feedback, you can improve client retention, potentially increase wallet-share, and stimulate more positive word of mouth about the impact your insights can have on an individual and on their business.

Competitor (Image: Thinkstock)

(Image: Thinkstock)

Here are some ways you can capture actionable client feedback:

  1. Rely on anonymity. Whatever feedback effort you launch, let your clients respond anonymously, and respect their right to do so. This simple adjustment can instantly increase the openness of your clients.

  2. Use targeted surveys. A blanket survey might glean some useful information, but you are likely to learn even more from your clients if you group them into subcategories. Perhaps you craft a survey specific to age groups, business owners, product specific (life insurance, for example), and so forth. This approach allows you to ask more targeted questions and to tie what you learn to more meaningful demographics.

  3. Respect your clients’ time. With any survey or feedback effort, there is a strong correlation between the time it takes to fill out and the overall completion rate. The longer the survey, the less responses you can expect to get, so hone your questions into key focuses rather than trying to ask about everything and anything at once.

  4. Use a third party to conduct surveys. We have done this for advisors and for industry organizations, and we see a clear difference in the depth and nuance of responses that we receive. You can maintain your respondent’s anonymity by using third party callers, and you can create a dynamic where the caller can adjust the conversation to the responses, exploring nuances and unpacking points that seem interesting. The result is much more in-depth information about how your clients feel about your business and their role in it.

  5. Add exit interviews to your process. Your current clients are valuable sources of business intelligence, but your previous clients have useful insights as well. This audience can be more difficult to engage (and it might even be uncomfortable for you), but they are worth reaching out to via email survey or even by a phone follow-up.

There are plenty of growth opportunities outside of your business—and you should be pursuing those—but ignoring the growth opportunities inside of your business can mean missing out on opportunities that not only make the whole of your practice more profitable but also makes your work more enjoyable. If you are actively responding to client needs and feedback, your interactions with them will dramatically improve, and that momentum will carry over into new client interactions as well.

--- Read ACA Waiver Proposals Are Hard to Score: CBO Chief on ThinkAdvisor.

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