You Must Keep One Thing In The Front Of Your Mind,
“Relationship Building Is A Process”
In our blog about New Client Workflows (http://aeschlapia.wordpress.com/2012/04/24/workflows-how-they-enable-execution-of-your-business-strategy/), we explore the details that you need to consider while building the strategies to acquire and interact with new clients. Existing clients need just as much time and attention in order to remain clients.
In general, a client experience is the knowledge and understanding that clients gain as a result of their interaction with your employees, brand, web site, customer applications, office space, point of sale, or any other touch points. The following factors are the essential ways in which you have control over how good or how great your client experience is:
- Define Your Client Experience: This is a series of decisions about which services to automate, which to drive manually, when to schedule reviews, when to prompt client interactions or service reminders, and what information to store. Establish processes unique to each channel since an in-person experience will differ considerably from an online experience.
- Collect Client Details: The ability to effectively extract relevant details about clients is one of the most potent advantages one can have during the sales process. Our recent blog about Client Management Databases (http://aeschlapia.wordpress.com/2012/05/08/client-management-databases-use-them-to-your-full-advantage/) describes what information to capture in your CRM. However, consider going beyond the norm. Collect information that may be considered trivial or irrelevant (for instance, travel preferences) and use your CRM to process this data and recognize patterns in order to help develop personalized offers. When meeting with clients and prospects, learn as much as possible through a truly meaningful interview by engaging in conversation that will not only strengthen and enhance your relationship, but allow you to find out how your practice can improve their experience. Some topics to ask questions about, are:
- Family and Relationships – issues with family members that may impact planning?
- Lifestyle and Hobbies – What are you most passionate about? In what ways do you participate?
- Value and Concern -How do you define quality of life?
- Career – Are you currently working? How long do you plan to work?
- Business Ownership – Describe how selling or retiring from your business will affect you.
- Assets – What is your strategy for saving or setting aside money to invest?
- Legacy – What causes/organizations/charities, etc. are you and your family passionate about?
- Developing a Team – What are your best and worst experiences with an investment advisor or financial planner?
- Service Expectations – What can our firm do in order to provide you with the ultimate client experience to gain your trust and loyalty?
- Narrow Your Client Focus: A well planned questionnaire to collect information will help you identify which target market your client/prospect should be cited in for future campaigns. This will help you create your ideal customer profile and essentially your niche target market, as well as provide the structure you need to define your client segments and service matrix.
- Engage Your Team Members: It is critical that all levels of the team are involved in this process in order to promote clarity and consistency. Ask your team if they understand what is expected of them. Review and refine all tasks in order to communicate transparent expectations that can be attained. Beware of heavy restrictions and rules that might hinder the ability to create positive client outcomes. Define specific innovation objectives and rewards for improving the customer experience. This will inspire an unrelenting commitment to exceeding client expectations.
- Engage Your Clients: Customer engagement materializes in a conversation that leads to a greater level of interest from both parties. Be the voice of your client and ensure that you are addressing their emotional needs better than your competitor can. Know your client’s alternatives to make sure you can deliver on the promise of being better. This leads to the voluntary involvement of the client rather than a sale on the premise of desperation and lack of alternative options. Once you’ve engaged customers with personalized offers, it’s time to entice them. This means the perfect combination of essential value, amenable feelings, and perfect timing. Practice showing genuine interest through key points that you have learned, in order to show that you have a valued interest in your client beyond the transaction. By adding a personal touch to your client conversations now and in the future, you are most likely to make your clients feel important and special.
- Measure Your Client Experience: The measurement stage is essential to any process. It provides new insights on how to improve and provides empowerment as a result of the successes that are revealed. A good evaluation system is first and foremost regular. It encourages internal feedback as well as elicits feedback from clients to ensure consistency. It may even be beneficial to test a process with trusted clients before the official launch date. Collect feedback through surveys, focus groups, visual tracking aids, and offer incentives for volunteering opinions.
Workflows ensure consistency and the delivery of promised value. The practice can rest, assured that things aren’t falling through the cracks and there are no missed opportunities. In essence, workflows aid in creating exceptional client experiences, which results in client retention and ultimately client referrals. While clients can’t always tell you what will exceed their expectations, they notice it when it happens and they tell others about it.
Ironstone can assist you in developing the strategies and tactical questions to gain meaningful insights that will strengthen client relationships and assist you throughout the process. By seizing control over the factors above, you will move from a buyer/seller relationship to sharing common interests with your clients and prospects.
Contact us for assistance in starting and improving your Existing Client Workflow. We want to hear from you! Share your best ideas here!
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