ELITE ADVISOR BY
JOHN J. BOWEN JR.
How to Boost Client Satisfaction
It’s not about your skills, it turns out — other factors are more important
in maintaining happiness and loyalty.
If you’re not highly focused on improving your level of client sat- isfaction, you should be. This is true regardless of whether your clients aren’t thrilled with you or they think you are the greatest gift in their lives. The fact is, your clients’ overall level of happiness with you is central to your ability to fend off competitors and
grow your business rapidly.
Client satisfaction is very much on the minds of many advisors.
In my firm’s recent advisor survey, we learned that 71.4% of RIAs are
“very or extremely concerned” about boosting client satisfaction. In
fact, this concern was one of the most important ones cited by RIAs
in our research — the only two concerns deemed more important were
delivering high-quality products and services, and significantly growing
assets. (See the chart on the next page.)
There are, of course, numerous
reasons for making client satisfaction
a priority. We’ve long known, for example, that satisfaction breeds deep
loyalty in clients. That loyalty, in turn,
provides you with very tangible business benefits: Highly loyal clients gave
their advisors far more assets on average than clients who were less satisfied, researchers have found. And the
most loyal clients made nearly 12 introductions a year, on average, to new
prospective clients, while less-satisfied
clients made just 2. 1 introductions on average.
In general, if clients are unhappy with short-term investment performance but pleased with
their relationship with you, they’ll likely remain
with you. A strong relationship will likewise
help smooth out administrative bumps.
Relationship satisfaction requires strong,
ongoing personal interactions between you
and your clients. There are several drivers of
high levels of client relationship satisfaction:
1. Hustle. The key to high marks here is reli-ability. When you make a promise, keep it, and
keep it on time. Set a goal of providing perfect
service, with plenty of attention to details. Researchers have found that nearly two-thirds of very satisfied clients see
their advisors as being perfectionists,
compared with less than 7% of very dissatisfied clients.
2. Avoid surprises. While clients
dislike service failures, they dislike unpleasant surprises even more, making
it your job to prevent them as much
as possible. To rate well with clients in
this area, actively solicit opinions and
perceptions — including negative ones
Not only will this help you spot and head off
major problems, it will clearly demonstrate your
concern about service to your clients. In addition,
whenever an external disaster occurs, you will do
well to get in touch immediately with clients.
3. Warmth. Good manners are not enough:
Virtually all clients, satisfied and dissatisfied,
If clients are
satisfied with their
you, they’ll likely
remain with you.
WHAT MATTERS MOST
Even though we find that while many advisors are concerned with
boosting satisfaction among their clients, they often don’t know what
to do to make it happen. To ensure thoroughly satisfied clients, first
understand exactly what clients really need. The base of any great
advisor-client relationship is the level of relationship satisfaction a client feels. The way clients feel about their overall relationship with you
is more important than even the level of satisfaction they feel about
your service and your investment performance.