The Myth of the Satisfied Client

You see it all the time. “Your satisfaction is our goal” or “We’re not satisfied until you’re satisfied.” Consumerism has, for the most part, taught us that satisfaction is the standard. In the financial advisory business, satisfaction is unacceptable. Satisfied clients are not loyal clients and loyal clients are the only good clients. Thus, the myth of the satisfied client.  Satisfied clients will kill your business. The motto should be, “if you’re only satisfied, fire us!”

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Comments (3)
Ron,

I get what you are saying, but I do not believe that loyal and satisfied are mutually exclusive. A survey that asks to grade between not satisfied, satisfied, very satisfied, and loyal is a very odd way of posing the question!

I do NOT want clients to be "loyal" to me, as that evokes shades of Madoff. Do I want them to stick around, do I want referrals, do I want them singing my praises? Of course... but a "very satisfied" client does all those. In the end, it's just semantics... I distrust most surveys because for that exact reason.

The Relationship/Love Affair marketing you address is a great example of building what you call loyalty. Great article, and sorry to nitpick - the wording just raised my hackles. :-)

Best,
Trond Hildahl
Posted by Trond H | Friday, October 26 2012 at 12:33PM ET
Trond,

Thanks for your comment. As the co-author of the article, I wanted to reach out to you. I agree with you, this is primarily about semantics - in theory, we're on the same page. The level of "satisfaction" that is referred to in the article is one that strives only to keep the client from leaving but doesn't stretch beyond that. We want that client relationship to produce introductions, engagement in the process and true connection with the advisor.

As you said, your ideal client is "very satisfied" which produces the type of healthy loyalty we talk about in the article - loyalty not solely to the advisor, but to the experience that advisor provides. What Madoff did was an issue of his own integrity and based on deceit that would have negated whatever false loyalty existed, had clients known.

I always love a good discussion about client relationships so if you ever want to visit, don't hesitate to reach out. Thanks again for your thoughtful comments, Trond.
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