Financial advisers might believe that their clients are nearly always satisfied. However in reality, financial service clients, just like any other professional service consumers, are perhaps not as satisfied as they seem. As referenced in our series on negative reviews, feedback from advisers indicates many were unaware that their client may have had a problem and were surprised to be on the receiving end of a less than glowing review. If you haven’t thought much about it, it might be time to ask yourself a few questions about your client satisfaction levels.
1) Who are really my most satisfied clients?
One interesting study from the US has discovered that the income level can affect the clients’ degree of satisfaction. The study breaks the individuals down into three categories 1) mass affluent 2) high net worth 3) ultra high net worth. When asked about the current methods of interaction with their financial advisers, these three segments exhibit varying degrees of satisfaction. Ultra high net-worth individuals are the most satisfied, and maybe surprisingly, the high net worth consumers are the least satisfied. There may be an opportunity here for advisers to review their client lists and evaluate interactions and service provisions – particularly for high net-worth individuals, as this group has a large growth potential.
2) Female and male satisfaction diverges
Just as females and males can have different perceptions on general matters in life, they may have differing ideas on how good their financial advisers are. Studies have suggested that males have viewed their advisers as less reliable, whereas females have seen their advisers as more reliable. It has been suggested that this difference could be due to the fact that females are more attracted to the increased range of financial services offered. Here the key concern could be the perception of trust and reliability. Advisers might want to consider how to address the concerns of the males, who tend to be more critical of the advisers’ services.
Another interesting aspect is that females tend to stay longer with their advisers than the males. So advisers may find it worthwhile to adjust their methods to promote longer-term valuable relationships across their client base.
3) Communication, the key to unlocking the secret to higher satisfaction
People are satisfied with financial advice from big organisations but may be reluctant to recommend their advisers to others. One study in particular showed that people tend to choose large banks because of the perception of trust, but that big banks fail to turn the consumer trust into high satisfaction levels. The news that better communication with your clients will lead to higher satisfaction levels for them is certainly not new. It is a basic tenant of any service organisation – but sometimes it helps to be reminded of things we already know so we don’t take them for granted.
All Financial institutions can do better and the place to start is to improve communication. As finance professionals you have the skillset, along with all other good advisers to achieve a client’s goals. A key differentiator can be your skill in communicating with your clients whether directly, via traditional means or with the use of new technology.
By Angus Woods, MD, Adviser Ratings