As an industry, we love to focus on “best practices”. We examine the strategies and tactics of the most successful advisors and ask how we can replicate those in our own businesses.
- The upside? Best practices focus us on what’s working today.
- The downside? Best practices don’t focus us on how things might be changing in future.
It’s fair to say that our collective goal isn’t just to keep pace, but to stay ahead of the curve.
And if that’s the case, don’t we need to focus squarely on the trends that will shape our future? Instead of thinking about best practices, don’t we need to: think outside the proverbial box, look at how other industries are innovating and ask how that might impact the future of our own industry?
In fairness, we do a good job of this when it comes to things like technology, perhaps because we expect it to play a disruptive force. But what if other aspects of our business – like the way we engage with clients – is also being disrupted? Don’t we owe it to ourselves to consider the future and ask how it will impact the core of what we do?
The Big Five
To understand how client engagement is being disrupted we draw on our own on-going investor and advisor research. As (or more) importantly we look outside the industry at case studies of (and research into) innovation in client engagement. We’ve identified the five ways in which client engagement is changing and in ways that will impact you, your clients and your business in future.
1. Client satisfaction is no longer enough.
I’ve shared research more than once that highlights the low bar you set if client satisfaction and loyalty are your only goals. The reality is that clients are both satisfied and loyal. Achieving either (or both) makes you just as good as everyone else. In the future, we’ll need to find new metrics to measure success.
If that’s the case, how do we measure success?
2. Client engagement is the new client satisfaction.
When we create a deeper and more enduring relationship with clients we create a meaningful bond. While great service can drive satisfaction, driving deeper engagement means playing a qualitatively different role in the lives of your clients. Engaged clients see their advisor as providing leadership in areas that extend beyond investments. In the future we’ll need to find ways to proactively demonstrate leadership in the lives of our best clients to add value.
If that’s the case, how do we create true value?
3. Value will not be provided, but co-created.
While we often focus on the traits of effective leaders, leadership is really a two-way street. In the past value was firm-centric – you decided what you were offering and hoped it sold. It has since morphed to become client-centric, with clients influencing what is offered. We believe that, in the future, the client experience will be actively co-created between advisor and client. In the future, your clients will play a bigger role in defining the experience.
If that’s the case, how do we co-create value when the needs of clients differ?
4. Cater to the needs of everyone and you cater to the needs of no one.
In order to fully connect with clients, we need to focus our attention on a more defined target. We cannot be all things to all people so your client experience will need to reflect the unique needs of your ideal clients. In the future, advisors will need to build a client experience around a more narrowly defined target or offer.
If that’s the case, how can we operate efficiently?
5. ‘Predictable’ and ‘consistent’ are so last year.
In an effort to deliver a great client experience the industry moved toward the notion that we need to standardize processes to provide a strong and repeatable offer. While it’s clear that we cannot re-invent the wheel for every client, personalization and connection are the watchwords for the future. Our challenge is to determine how we can create a personalized experience efficiently, drawing on what we know about what is important to our clients and using technology effectively.
If that’s the case, how do we take action?
Well, that’s the question, isn’t it? We have some thoughts on that. I’d like to invite you to join us on May 25th, if you haven’t already registered. We’re going to run a webinar that will put these five ‘imperatives’ in context and focus on what we can do to take action.
In fact, helping you craft a plan for the future of client engagement is so important to us we’ve formalized a new suite of programs to help you take action. It’s called The Client Engagement Suite and you’ll hear more about it very soon.
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