Customer service plays an integral part in extracting value from clients and retaining their business. Here’s how you can give your customers the quality of service they expect and deserve.
Customer service is something that is often overlooked in the finance industry. For most hard-working professionals, the success of their brand is determined by customer satisfaction and the ability to build trusting relationships with their clients.
For product providers whose clients are financial advisors, wealth managers and family offices, it’s fundamental to be able to maintain and nurture these relationships; otherwise, they will look elsewhere for these services regardless of how good or efficient the products are.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at some of the key factors that come into play when delivering an exceptional customer experience and how these are used to enhance credibility and brand persona.
Offer Education and Insight
When it comes to introducing or distributing products, it’s imperative that the product provider is not only able to give a detailed explanation about the mechanics of the product, but they should also be able to provide extensive supporting material which includes but is not limited to:
Easy access to a due diligence package that enables the financial advisor to understand the risk levels;
A detailed overview of how secure their clients’ capital is; and
What measures have been put in place to safeguard against potential losses.
This material enables the financial advisor to make an informed decision as to whether a product fits their client’s attitude to risk and whether this is likely to remain the same or change over time.
Be Proactive and Present
When it comes to communication, it’s key to approach all matters and answers to questions with a needs-based attitude that shows proactivity over reactivity. Whether IFAs need to know what the exact requirements are, facts about the product, what technical challenges they’re likely to come up against, questions raised by clients, or anything else that’s product or marketing-related, being able to respond in a timely manner means that the product providers are able to go back to their clients in a reasonable time frame which seeks only to continue to strengthen the relationship they have with their client(s).
Accountability doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It demands effective communication and upfront transparency of the results that may affect all parties. For product providers, accountability means taking ownership of both challenges and successes, with the openness and willingness to be judged on the performance of their contribution towards a product. As a result, they maintain their integrity and retain the trust and confidence of their network partners.
Make Clear Observations
Nobody likes to be talked at or have someone’s personal agenda pushed on them. Being prepared to sincerely and actively listen to financial advisors and the questions from their clients helps to offer genuine responses that seek to provide clarity and assistance. This means putting themselves in their shoes, listening from a point of reference, and tuning into their wavelength. Taking cognisance of what they have to say enables product providers to explore core issues and hidden problems their clients may be up against while assisting them in making conscious, informed decisions with regards to the products being provided.
Comprehensive Training and Development
Product providers should be comprehensive with advisor support and training as a basis to help IFAs expand core skills and knowledge, ensure they get the exposure they need to navigate and work with current trends and topics, stimulate new ways of thinking in how they approach advising, improve collaboration with clients, and enable them to refine their values and philosophies. Ultimately, the goal of any development training or professional support program is to ensure that advisors have the support and detailed information they need to effectively meet the needs of their clients.
A people-centric approach gives product providers the grounds to build authentic relationships with financial advisors that last. Regular check-ins, offering support and guidance and discussing and addressing their concerns in an honest, transparent way acts as a vehicle for which they and their partners/clients can openly communicate and develop an ongoing practical dialogue.
Fast and Reliable With Communication
Product providers need to be personal, rapid, and reliable in their communications. This enables them to respond to the shifting demands of financial advisors and their clients and provide enhanced levels of support when they need it. Refraining from using automated systems for correspondence and minimising delays in answering queries are paramount in helping IFAs settle concerns, achieve their business goals, and maintain loyalty and trust.
Experts in the Industry
As industry-specific experts and product knowledge specialists, product providers and distributors should strive to quickly identify new trends and best practises while having a solid understanding of how to implement them in the most efficient possible way. This translates into being able to help both advisors and network partners enhance efficiencies, show their commitment to client-based deliverables, and provide more value to their clients that help them streamline the management and health of their overall business.