This week, I’m writing from the annual Market Counsel meeting in Miami, Florida, which was preceded this year by the T3 Advisor Technology conference add on. The theme of the T3 pre-conference was, in my words, creating a client experience through technology that is similar to your face-to-face advisory experience.
Unfortunately, in my experience, most advisors pick the wrong technology because they don’t know how to define their face-to-face client experience.
Instead of “creating” a good client experience, they simply throw as many things at the client as they can find. The result of course is a bad client experience.
Here’s an example of a great client experience.
When I walked into the Market Counsel conference registration area, a staff member walked up to me, greeted me by name. Then, she walked me to the room where the first session was going to take place.
After the session, when I got back to my room, there was a welcoming note on the table and flowers in my desk. (Wait, there weren’t really flowers on my desk but for some reason the experience made me think there were.)
The overall feeling was that I belonged there and the folks at Market Counsel wanted me to be there.
The takeaway here is that “client experience” isn’t the things that you do, it’s how you make your clients feel. The goal is to make your clients feel that they belong at your firm, and that you are grateful that they are there.
To create that feeling, you should understand both what your clients want — and what they are insecure about. Regardless of how much money they actually have, most clients at advisory firms worry that they don’t have enough money to fit in with the other clients.
One of the worst things you can do is make a client feel that they don’t have enough in investments to belong at your firm. Not only will they never forget how they felt, neither will everybody they tell about their experience.
Instead, your goal should be to make every client and prospect feel like Mark Zuckerberg — that you are thrilled to see them and your firm was created to serve clients exactly like her or him.
Most clients and potential clients are insecure about what they don’t know about finance, and therefore, their need for help.
Explain things as if they already know them, but you’re just making sure you’re both on the same page: “As you know, mutual funds are… but most people aren’t aware that there are some new ones that have…”
Or: “I used to have my retirement plan set up that way too, but then I found that…”
You get the picture. The idea is to give them good advice without making them feel like idiots. Yes, I know that sometimes that’s not easy, but it’s always important.
In sales, there’s an old saying: People will rarely remember what you say, but they will always remember how you made them feel. That’s doubly important in service industries such as ours.
It should be the goal of every advisory business to give clients all the help and advice they need — without making them feel badly about getting it.
That’s the kind of client experience they will tell their friends about — in a good way.