Updated Wednesday, July 30, 2014 as of 7:07 AM ET
Blogs - Practice Perfect
How to Craft a Better Client Experience
Thursday, February 6, 2014
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Walt Disney said it best when he said, “Whatever you do, do it well. Do it so well that when people see you do it they will want to come back and see you do it again and they will want to bring others and show them how well you do what you do.” 

Imagine what a financial advisor’s practice would look like if Disney was in charge of the marketing.

The mission of Walt Disney in 1955 was simple: We create happiness. Years later, it still holds true. From cast members personally escorting you to a desired location to volunteering to take a picture with your camera so you can be in the picture with your family, everything is focused on the guest experience.

With Disney’s hyper-focus on guests as inspiration, here are a few ways advisors can create an even better client experience:

1. Every team member should know the number one job is to make people happy by providing them with a memorable experience. Some ideas for advisors:

  • Recognize every important milestone in a client’s life -- a birthday phone call, a house warming gift, a wedding present and a celebration of the birth of a new family member. 
  • Write letters at Thanksgiving expressing gratitude and appreciation for your clients and your team.
  • Make clients feel like family by remembering as many of the “little things” as possible. Look for ways to celebrate that are meaningful to clients.
  • Referral etiquette: Both the new client and the referring client should get something unique to say thank you.

2. The complex should be made as simple as possible. A few ideas:

  • Estate plans should  be flowcharted, color-coded and presented on one page.
  • Diagrams and graphs should accompany text, so the plan can be easily understood.
  • Every year remind clients of what they have accomplished because of their work with your firm.

3. Every document put in front clients should be aesthetically pleasing, coordinated and containing the least amount of words as possible but as many as are needed to convey the message.

  • The font, colors and layout of every document should always be the same.
  • Each document should have an icon in the upper right hand corner that reminds clients which phase of the planning process they are in.
  • Every document placed in front of clients should follow a template and every team member should always use these templates. 
  • Documents should be scrutinized by a wordsmith until they achieve maximum impact.

4. Knowing we can’t control the stock market, look to control anything and everything else.

  • Checklists, systems and processes should be put in place for everything that can’t be left to chance. Team members shouldn’t have to constantly reinvent the wheel. They should be 100% focused on what really matters -- delivering a unique client experience.
  • When it comes to transactions, follow up with a call to make sure they’ve received the check they requested and remind them when a premium is due, emailing them well in advance and helping them move cash around as necessary.
  • Remember what drinks they ordered during the last visit and ask if they’d like the same or something different.

Keep the experiences that clients love and stop doing the things that clients don’t care about. And remember, what works for my clients may not work for yours.

If we survey our clients and really listen to what they are saying, we should be able to continually improve upon the unique client experience that we are delivering every day.

Imagine what your practice will look like when you combine great financial advice with an amazing and unique client experience.  I am certain that Walt would get excited about a financial advisor marketing plan that provided both.

John Enright and Michael Palumbos are practicing financial advisors and the co-founders of www.7figureadvisor.com. They are dedicated to helping advisors and planners create a unique client experience.

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(6) Comments
The best way to craft a better client experience is listen to them, help them identify their risks, work with them on how to mitigate their risks, keep them informed of the what's and why's in their portfolio, treat their portfolio in the same manner as you would treat yours, never advise them to invest in something where the risk is greater than their risk appetite. Earn the trust they have reposed in you- do not take it lightly.
Posted by KIMMY B | Friday, February 07 2014 at 8:26AM ET
Thanks for the comment Kimmy. I absolutely agree with you. When we wrote the article we had decided to make a broad assumption that solid planning and great advice were already being brought to the table. When we think of financial planning we feel that it is essential to look not just at the portfolio but at four different planning focus areas. Here's how we break down the planning areas for the advisors we coach at www.7figureadvisor.com (just our belief...there are numerous ways to look at this):

The Estate Plan Focus(TM) Assessment of your wills and trusts, life insurance policies, disability and long term care insurances. All are reviewed and measured against your survivor needs and distribution objectives.

The Personal and Business Investment Focus(TM) Evaluation of your personal risk tolerance, time horizons, current risk exposure, and portfolio construction. Alignment of your investments with goals, values, and time horizons.

The Financial Independence Focus(TM) Review of your financial vision and values to determine your financial independence threshold. This is where we'd look at every major "purchase" for a client that could impact their financial independence-college planning, vacation home, retirement etc.

The Business Exit Planning Focus(TM) We look at your business as a key financial asset and evaluate various exit strategies, deferred compensation solutions, and tax advantaged strategies tailored to your business. As an employee, all of your benefits are your "business" and we will evaluate your benefits to maximize your exit from employment.

Again...thanks for reading the article and keep the comments conversation is always healthy.

Posted by michael p | Friday, February 07 2014 at 10:12AM ET
What a great article with many great examples. Do you track most of this using a CRM software? What do you do in addition to CRM to make sure this is implemented and used?

Thanks again for the great piece! Phil

Posted by Phillip C | Saturday, February 08 2014 at 9:18AM ET
Enjoyed your article ... and have passed it along

One of the best ways to service customers, that I might add... is to start your business off working with your ideal clients. Then it's so easy to bring them happiness :)

In my own business, process wise, I'm redoing #2 this year.

Maria Marsala Coach Maria www.ElevatingYourBusiness.com

Posted by Maria M | Sunday, February 09 2014 at 6:04PM ET
Phillip C,

So glad you enjoyed the article!!!

We currently use Outlook and 4 excel spreadsheets to track everything. We are in the process of switching to a CRM but struggle with which one fits best for what we want it to do. The team really works well together and everyone takes responsibility for their part in creating the unique client experience.

Please feel free to ask any other questions.

Best,

Michael

Posted by michael p | Tuesday, February 11 2014 at 1:41AM ET
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