In a feature story in the October edition of Investment Advisor, I suggested that there was a tactical path that leads to more engaged client relationships which we called the Engagement Roadmap. That roadmap paints a picture of those advisory businesses with the highest levels of engagement and, therefore, the highest levels of growth, which share some common characteristics:
- They have an objective and consistent process to gather input from clients in order to know what they need, want and expect. They partner with their clients.
- They know their ideal client, have a process to identify those individuals and walk away when the fit isn’t right.
- They structure a defined service plan that is meaningful for their target client and profitable to deliver.
- They provide leadership to their clients in good times and in bad.
- Finally, they leverage their most committed relationships to drive extraordinary growth through referrals.
It’s not surprising that an engaged client relationship starts with service that is meaningful and relevant for the client. The question is, are you making assumptions about what your clients value? If so, you are not alone but may want to consider the first step on the road to engagement—establishing a consistent and objective way to gather and use client intelligence.
As part of the engagement process, client feedback serves four primary objectives:
- Define. It ensures you understand how your clients define the value you provide.
- Measure. It allows you to measure the strength of your relationships and your performance over time.
- Engage. It opens up a meaningful dialogue with clients, which demonstrates your commitment.
- Uncover. It uncovers specific revenue and referral opportunities.
Getting more tactical, let’s examine some of the specific steps to implementing a ‘voice of the client’ program that will ensure you are on track and uncover new revenue opportunities along the way.
What Is the Best Method?
Your overall objectives for client feedback will inform the best method. Your first decision is whether you need qualitative or quantitative feedback. (Click chart to enlarge)