We live in a service economy, yet we rarely experience exceptional service.

When someone or some organization delivers service that exceeds our expectations, they separate themselves from their competition. At the recent Senior Market Advisor Expo in Las Vegas, advisor Ron Roberts shared with the audience at his breakout session his approach to serving clients. As his coach, I have the privilege of observing how Ron separates himself by providing exceptional service.

It starts with defining the business. The Business Definition involves four elements: Vision, Mission, Values and Business Opportunity.

Vision answers the question: Where are we going? Ron’s vision is to be known as the Financial Ambassador in his community. Ron and his staff are committed to educating and coaching clients and potential clients to assist them in realizing their dreams.

Mission answers the questions: Why are we here? What purpose do we serve? Ron’s commitment to exceptional service is rooted in a strong sense of mission or purpose. He strives to set himself and his team apart through what they do after the sale. Ron has segmented his 750 clients and defined the service levels for each client segment. Everyone on Ron’s team understands the service standards for each client.

One example of the way in which they meet or exceed client expectations is the handling of a client calling in to speak to Ron when he is out of the office. In the past, a staff member would take a message and tell the client that Ron would call them when he returned to the office. Given that many of Ron’s clients are seniors, he realized that they were sitting by the phone waiting for him to call. If it took him a couple of hours or more to return the call, they would feel frustrated or upset. Now, Ron’s staff explains that he is out of the office at an appointment and books a time for Ron to call them back. If the matter is urgent, they can often solve the problem for the client. They have taken dissatisfaction and converted it to a satisfying experience for the client.

A value is a thing or condition we consistently act upon to get and to keep. A value is a vector, a direction with a force. It is not what you say that demonstrates what you value; it is what you do. Ron and his team demonstrate their values of integrity, commitment to client service and community involvement every day. As an American history buff, Ron applies his knowledge four hours a week teaching American history at a local high school. He uses seminars to inform and educate seniors and others of the risks to which they are exposed. He conducts periodic reviews with his top 150 clients to ensure their needs are addressed and that they are working toward their goals. His staff arranges a 15-minute phone call with the other 600 clients to keep them informed of changes in their situation.

People buy financial products based on trigger events such as marriage, a new job, a baby, retirement, or the death of a loved one. Recently, Ron called one of his clients for a review and learned that the client just received a $600,000 inheritance. The system of staying in front of clients generates lots of business opportunities. This is the fourth element in defining your business. For Ron and his team, the business opportunities arise from a willingness to continually examine how they can get better. Like many advisors, Ron has focused on the senior market. While seniors constitute the bulk of his clientele, he saw the opportunity in multi-generational marketing. He is now getting introductions to the children of his senior clients and acquiring them as clients. He is also setting up life insurance and investment plans for the grandchildren of his clients. Ron is building a legacy business.

*For further information or to contact this author, please use the forum below.