Wednesday, 29 April 2009

What do you really want to know from your clients?

It’s true that knowledge is power and most IFA firms now have a back office or CRM solution that helps them collect detailed information about their clients from contact details, portfolio holdings and values, health information to income details. All of this can help firms segment clients into useful groupings for ongoing targeted marketing purposes. However, even with the most sophisticated CRM system, firms need to go further than knowing who the client is in as much detail as possible. In order to continue to shape your service proposition and make sure you can deliver the best possible service for each and every client, you need to know how well they were treated in each and every transaction with your business.

Event driven client feedback programs help you do just that, proactively requesting feedback after each interaction with your client, whether that’s a client review, advice process, lifestyle planning service or a product sale. For such feedback to be really effective, you need to go after the type of information that is going to be most useful for you in understanding the outcomes your proposition is delivering to your clients; the things that provide practical value to you, as a business owner, manager or adviser.

Ideal questions are the ones you can do something about; the ones that really tell you something about the service you are offering; the ones that will drive client referrals and loyalty. If you focus on these then you can really start to understand what your clients think about what you do and more importantly you can adapt to their changing needs and wants.

If a client provides positive feedback, don’t just accept it as a validation that you are doing things right, use it wisely. Positive feedback from your clients is your testimonials, your client referrals, and your repeat business. Positive feedback helps you recognise and reward your team and in turn ensures that each person is motivated to continue providing the highest possible service. If feedback is negative, make sure you have the means to respond quickly and effectively. Research shows that if you can turn around someone who has had a poor experience with your firm, they will end up being one of your most loyal clients. Use negative feedback to help you focus corrective action where it is needed, build it into your training and competency plans and use it to continually improve your service proposition.

Make feedback a strategic part of your everyday business and deliver a service proposition that is truly aligned to your clients needs.

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