Last fall I read an article on Wealth Management called It’s Time to Kill Quarterly Business Review Meetings and it got me thinking about the client’s experience. Whether or not you have a quarterly (or semi-annual or annual) review process, certainly there’s more to providing — and proving — value to our clients, right?
As a recovering CPA, I’ve had numerous clients over the years. Demonstrating value of services will always be a challenge for whatever profession — accounting, law, financial, etc. As professionals, we wrestle with giving real value and trying to prove that value. We find that face time works for some clients and in person meetings are a requirement for others. One size does not fit all (as the article above references).
Signal to noise ratio
What if you could add value by minimizing the time you need from your clients? For example, think about one of Apple’s latest apps: Screen Time.
Screen Time is all about minimizing the time we, as users, spend on our phones. It seems counterintuitive. The more time we spend on our iPhone, the higher the value we derive, and the more we’re addicted, right? Well, yes, but perhaps Apple realizes there’s something more. What if we, as professionals, could help by spending less time with our clients?
Put another way, perhaps Apple is cutting out the noise and focusing on the truly relevant?
The client’s timing, or ours?
Cracking open our dusty history books, the ancient Greeks believed in a geocentric solar system where the earth was at the center. We now believe in a heliocentric model where the Sun is at the center of our solar system. It’s easy to mock the ancients for their ludicrous behavior, right?
Are we really different? Do we create processes that benefit us and not the client? Or, to keep with the example above, the processes revolve around us rather than our clients.
There are certain things that must be done according a set schedule. Taxes, for instance. Unless you get an extension, you can’t arbitrarily decide to file on, say, August 12th.
However, for things like reviewing accounts, checking balances, and sitting down to reflect on the next five years, most of these could be based around the client’s availability and interest, rather than ours. We open up our financial portal or bank app when we want and when we have time. For me, that usually that means after 9pm when they kids are asleep. Not in the middle of the day when things are hectic at the office.
It’s not about client meetings after 9pm, but about developing the meetings around your client’s solar system, not ours.
Back when I was in public accounting, I learned this the hard way auditing the books for an organization. I thought clients were really interested in all the ins and outs of the new Generally Accepted Account Principles…they were not. They were attempting to be polite between yawns.
As I continue to spend more time with so many amazing advisors, I learn more and more what sets them apart is listening and providing relevance. Unlike my history, these advisors listen and guide their clients through what is overwhelming or concerning in that moment. Through that, they earn the right to be heard later on. They can start making suggestions “I know you hadn’t asked me, but for someone in your position and circumstance, I typically see…"
In a similar way, empowering clients with 24/7 unlimited access is powerful. They can check their balances, review their finances on their own time. (RightCapital even has the industry’s only native financial planning mobile app) Yes, we could — and should — continue to interact with our clients but driving across town at 10am on a Tuesday morning is difficult for me and that’s also true for many of your clients. Instead, opening my phone to check my account, often piques my curiosity, which motivates me to call my advisor (or attorney or accountant) with questions.
Improving your client's experience helps deepen your relationship with them while simultaneously helping them see the value you provide. In transitionary times with technology, new standards, and ever-changing markets, we need to stay on top of our client relationships in order to maintain a strong, healthy business. Excellent client experience has become a new standard.
Want to learn how RightCapital Financial Planning Software can improve your client experience? Book a demo today.