I recently bought a new car, my first in nine years. One reason I stayed with my last car so long was that I dreaded the car buying process. To alleviate some of the burden, I decided to go with the same make as my previous car but a new model. It’s a luxury brand, entry-level model, so my expectations were high. I went to the dealership where I’d had my old car serviced quarterly for the last nine years. The service experience over that time had been impeccable.
But not this time. Although the process of making the deal with the sales manager was quick and painless, from there the experience went downhill. The mistakes the dealership made were great practice management lessons for financial planners.
Advisor Lesson No. 1: Blueprint Your Process
When the salesperson showed me the car, he mentioned its features but clearly randomly as they popped into his head. Then he said to me, “You know, there is like a 30-point checklist for this.” He did not have the checklist with him.
The business manager had no order to the paperwork. He was tossing blank forms in front of me asking me to sign with no explanation. He seemed unsure which forms I needed to sign and which I didn’t. He gave me no indication how long the process would take or what information I should bring with me.
Lesson Learned: Blueprint your process. Have checklists you and your staff can use to make sure you have all the documents you need. Checklists also provide the client with a roadmap to the process. The client knows what is going to happen next. They can see the checklist being completed, so they know everything is in control.
Lesson No. 2: Design the Experience