Is customer service and our level of engagement with the client important to the success of a practice? On a recent vacation, a trip to Walt Disney World Resort, I learned first-hand how customer service and interaction impacts the takeaway.
This was not my first trip to the Disney Resort in Orlando, Florida. I received a Disney World Annual Pass as a birthday present in 2002. I became a repeat and loyal patron of the resort and would travel from Charlotte to Orlando at least three times per year for the thirteen years I kept the membership going. A kid at heart, I enjoy themed attractions, especially immersive experiences and thrill rides. That was the first enticement, the second was Disney’s commitment to unrivaled customer service. I had not realized how much it meant to my personal travel experience until it failed.
I work in the marketing segment of the financial and insurance services industry. Upon my return to work I began to ponder the customer experience and how important it is when offering any consumer product. Pertaining to advisors and their businesses, the customer experience revolves around how each client perceives their interactions. Every point of engagement leaves an impression including time with owners, advisory services, staff members and the environment (space) where business is conducted. Expectations and consistency play a role in the positive or negative takeaway from each encounter.
Maintaining connections to long-term clientele is important throughout the life of the business. They usually represent the building blocks from its early stages. Consistency in the conduct of interaction is paramount to maintaining clients and getting referrals. Checking in the first day of my trip, the staff had not been properly trained to take care of things that I was promised. I trusted the brand and now it was letting me down. This made me second guess future trips to the resort.
Trust is a very important component in business relationships. Other key characteristics that clients value in their financial advisors are personalization, expertise and empathy. Clients are interested in working with advisors who understand their personal needs, goals and timetables. It is important the advisor can demonstrate the ability to orchestrate interpersonal skills combined with traditional expertise and the ability to return on investment. This is what creates successful advisor/client relationships.1
Interaction is always a part of any transaction even when a human being is absent from the process. Purposefully corporations hire specialists to build out their web profiles and online presences with UX (User Experience) professionals. This ensures that the consumer has a positive encounter with their website so that they may return to purchase again in the future. Competition is plentiful and company brands’ and reputations are on the line when negative feedback begins to roll in via social outlets. 60% of people get influenced by others when they are about to buy. Any hesitation to fulfill clients’ needs may result in a failure to attract new business or retain your long-time clientele. 2
Fortunately, the Walt Disney World Resort has many outstanding Cast Members who stepped up a few days into the trip. Those excellent employees worked their magic to make amends for the shortcomings that happened at the beginning of the vacation. Their proactive approach reaffirmed my confidence in the product and the brand.
Providing exemplary customer service is not difficult when you stay connected to the clients you serve. Make sure client touches are not too far apart, because emotional relationships between advisors and clients has never been more important. Client appreciation events go a long way to maintaining relationships and garnering referrals from all those long-term investors.3 Treating all your customers with the same respect that you would a recruit will strengthen the relationships for many years and possibly influence their family to seek your advice. By maintaining an interest and attention to personal service, you will keep your clients interested in both you and your business.
1 What Clients Value In Their Financial Advisors – https://www.forbes.com/sites/russalanprince/2015/04/01/what-clients-value-in-their-financial-advisors/#2e016aba1c50
2 Why Great Customer Service Is Critical To Business Success – https://www.tagove.com/great-customer-service-critical-business-success/
3 Advisers’ clients want even more of the human touch – http://www.investmentnews.com/article/20150518/FREE/150519918/advisers-clients-want-even-more-of-the-human-touch