Karen McIntyre works out of a bedroom, but it’s not what you think. The offices of Executive Financial Services are located in a quaint, historic home in suburban Philadelphia. The reception area is a living room (complete with fireplace), the book-lined conference room could pass for a library, and McIntyre’s office happens to be in one of the bedrooms, though it’s been spiffed up with all the professional trappings of desk and computer. It’s a homey atmosphere, and the planners like it that way. “We’re not in the city, we’re not glitzy. We represent families,” says McIntyre. “We made a conscious decision to make this a home-like environment. Money is intimidating enough in itself, so we want to be approachable.”

Part of that approachability means making sure that everyone in the firm knows every client’s name and can greet them accordingly. The firm’s “everybody-knows-your-name” initiative gets some high-tech help from GoldMine, the firm’s contact management software (www.frontrange.com/goldmine). “If you have someone on the phone, you can open up GoldMine and say, ‘Hi, Joan! Hey, I understand you just got back from vacation. How was it?’” says McIntyre. “We want our clients to know how important they are to us. The more we know about them, the better we can help them… and, frankly, the more committed they are to us.”