The “client experience” has now moved to the top of what advisors should be thinking about in growing their practice. As it’s often pointed out, clients now are used to the experiences they get with companies like Amazon and Apple and expect it elsewhere. For advisors, this may mean rethinking how to group clients; adding more direct touchpoints, especially for the next generation of clients; and adding financial planning to the mix, according to a new report by Cerulli Associates.
In the study, Client Connections: Built on Trust, Nurtured by Strategy, Cerulli found having “a robust client experience strategy will become increasingly important for investor acquisition and retention.” This includes creative client segmentation, intergenerational engagement, client recognition and appreciation, and the development of a “holistic” client perspective, the report said.
The report states that “prioritizing the client experience requires a strategy. Not only do experience-centric practices go above and beyond to make clients feel special, but they have a strategy in place to reliably deliver a repeatable, consistent experience.”
How can advisors tap into this strategy? There are four ways that Cerulli outlines as components and their impact drivers:
1. Creative Client Segmentation
It shouldn’t be a surprise that technology is the key to helping form client niches.
“Nearly 60% of experience-centric practices use technology to automate client interaction, which includes building personas, helping advisors draw a direct connection between the client’s perspective and the approach they prefer,” said Cerulli research analyst Marina Shtyrkov, in a statement. “By segmenting their client base into client personas, advisors can automate workflows and optimize engagement opportunities.”
This segmentation could be as simple as job function to as deep of a dive as divorced women. The key is to determine the factors that describe a persona that help advisors link a client’s perspective, such as needs, values, lifestyles and the approach they prefer, such as communications style, and events.