Sometimes it seems that service is a lost art in today’s world. According to a recent survey by Microsoft, 90% of consumers choose a company based on the quality of its service, while 58% of consumers will switch service providers, primarily resulting from poor service levels that do not meet expectations.
Those statistics speak to why independent advisors deserve to have a turnkey asset management platform (TAMP) partner that provides high-quality, consistent service. While TAMPs have proven popular in recent years, many have grown much larger than they ever thought possible or planned for. This popularity and growth have led to increasing challenges in serving the ever-changing and complex needs of today’s advisors, like you.
That makes it more crucial than ever to ask yourself a few tough questions about your TAMP’s service team and their performance, since they are often your most trusted lifeline on a day-to-day basis. Here are six questions to consider:
1. Does your assigned service team really know you, your style, service philosophy, and your practice?
Your service team must stand ever-ready to deploy resources to you whenever and however you need them. Certainly, you understand how to manage a team of people to serve your own clients, and some of your team members have specialties that focus on particular clients at those times when they most need the help. The same should be true with your service provider. The mark of an exceptional partner is one that truly understands you and your practice, and has the bandwidth to support you consistently and seamlessly.
2. Are they there for you at all times or do you end up in a call-waiting queue or in an email inbox?
Think about the last time you contacted any service department. Did it matter to you how quickly they answered the phone or returned your email? In the advisory business, every second counts. Time is valuable and it is precious. Every wasted minute can cost you your clients’ confidence and trust, and even lose them money.
High-quality service should feel like a personal, custom-made experience tailored around your needs. That is why your TAMP’s advisor-to-service representative ratios are an important metric to consider. It might seem obvious, but as their client, the more representatives your service provider assigns to fewer advisors the better.
Maintaining the proper service team staffing is critical to responding to your needs. One key metric of this effectiveness is response time, and you deserve to have a team that is responsive to you when you need them. Does your team constantly measure their performance metrics? What steps do they take to maintain and improve them? Are they trained to deal with high-stress situations in a calm yet focused manner? When they don’t have the answers to advisor questions, how long will it take them to find them?
3. When you are faced with an operational challenge, do you instantly think of your TAMP’s service team?
This speaks volumes to your TAMP’s value. You need a trusted partner, one that is so highly valued that you consider them to be an intrinsic part of your team and your business. This is the gold standard, and you should always feel comfortable reaching out to your service team for help when you need them most.
4. Do you have instant confidence that they will know what to do and solve it fast?
Ultimately, your service team should be ready and able to handle any and all challenges that you face. Deep, rich experience in handling your specific needs is key. So is training. No matter how many years of experience they have, service representatives should undergo constant and rigorous training to ensure they are performing at their optimum.
5. Have you been forced to hire your own operations staff due to the shortcomings of the TAMP service team?
If you have ever had to backstop your TAMP from a service perspective, this is inexcusable. The right partner is one that totally understands your business and even anticipates your needs, standing ready to fill whatever service gaps might arise on a moment’s notice.
6. Do you find yourself often in defense mode with clients because of frustrating processing errors and delays?
TAMPs were designed to take the burden of account maintenance off your hands, and your partner should mirror the quality and care you give to your clients. After all, your TAMP’s job is to appear transparent, yet seamless, to your client. If your TAMP partner consistently fails in this area, find another one. You deserve to work with one that cares, and if they slip up then they immediately own the situation and fix it immediately.
In critical cases, your customer service team should follow up with a survey to gauge how they performed and how they could improve. This is the mark of a firm that truly cares and wants to improve, using the data to continue delivering quality service and to improve any processes that need tweaking.
Ask these critical questions about your TAMP’s service team. Their job is to serve YOU when you need them.
Advisory services are offered through EQIS Capital Management, Inc. ("EQIS"), a registered investment adviser. EQIS does not provide tax or legal advice. This is intended for informational purposes only and should not be considered an offer to sell securities or provide investment advice. When applicable, sources used in forming EQIS’s opinion are cited, however, other sources may be available which contradict EQIS’s opinion, process, and methodology.