Clients want more personalized service from their advisors, a survey released Monday by Hartford Funds found. Respondents were twice as likely to say they valued their relationship with their advisor over performance.
“Expectations around solid investment performance are still there in the minds of the consumer,” John Diehl, senior vice president of strategic markets for Hartford Funds, told ThinkAdvisor on Monday. “The difficult thing for advisors is that is almost expected these days. [Clients think,] ‘I wouldn’t be in your office if I didn’t think you had the capability of delivering great investment performance.’”
Diehl said, “There are a lot of outlets that could deliver superior investment performance, but what differentiates one from another, this is where I think the personal touch comes in.”
One such touch is in educating clients, which 22% of respondents said was an area they wanted to see their advisor improve in. Diehl suggested sharing stories of other successful clients.
“I think what clients want to hear these days is ‘What are the experiences of other people like me?’ When you think about a world where many of their choices are influenced by other people’s experiences, like reading user reviews on the Web or hearing stories or testimonies from friends and family,” he said, it’s helpful to hear from a financial advisor about what they have seen people do right and what they’ve seen people do that they regretted.
He stressed that “advisors need to understand that it is about more than providing solid investment results. Don’t get me wrong, that certainly is still important; but the value of advice now goes beyond just investment advice and helps clients in terms of lifestyle advice — how do people stay engaged, what kind of activities do they participate in.”