When examining your client experience, think about it from their perspective. What are they looking for from their financial advisor? Of course, they want an advisor with the knowledge, experience, and expertise to provide solid wealth planning and investment advice. But many clients will look to you for much more than that.
Here are seven expectations that your clients assume you will provide for them. How can you demonstrate your commitment to delivering each one?
1. Clients want to be heard and understood.
Hearing and understanding begins with listening, more listening, then asking a few questions, and then listening some more. Listening takes time, and it takes commitment to grasp the other person’s perspective and emotional state, as well as their needs, concerns, and challenges. You can demonstrate that you have heard and understood them by providing feedback, verbal and written, that confirms to your clients that their communication was received accurately and completely. Your recollection of the details will acknowledge the importance you placed on fully understanding the particulars of their situation.
2. Clients want to know what to expect.
In any relationship, and particularly with a professional service provider, clients want to know what their experience will be like. This is where a defined process that begins with an agenda, ends with next steps, and provides consistency in between can create a sense of comfort and familiarity. Setting expectations for actions to be taken and future communication are critical.
3. Clients want to be treated with respect.
Treating a client with respect is evidenced by a high level of professionalism, which includes following up and following through on commitments. Of course, it also means making sure that nothing falls through the cracks, but when it does (and it will!), taking the initiative to explain and then remedy the situation can often be viewed more positively than if the situation had not happened at all.
4. Clients want you to cut through the clutter.
Cutting through the clutter can mean simplifying the complex by providing context and relevance leading to understanding. It can also refer to providing meaningful communication by the use of simple English, rather than the technical jargon and acronyms that confuse rather than clarify.
5. Clients want transparency.
Transparency means providing a clear description of the pros and cons of any action. That includes explaining the risks versus rewards, outlining potential tax consequences and/or describing the costs of a particular course of action. Sometimes it simply means being honest about what you can or cannot do.
6. Clients want to know they are on track.
Clients don’t expect you to be a mind reader or a fortune teller. But they do want a description of their future that is as accurate as you can make it. They want to know how you believe they will be able to get there and how potential risks will be managed. They want to know that you’re looking out for them, and that you will help them anticipate and even prepare for the unexpected obstacles and events that could derail their plans.
7. Clients want you to help them provide for their family.
Many clients care more about providing for their family than taking care of themselves. They know that the day will come when they can no longer manage their financial matters due to illness or death. They want your help to provide for a smooth transition for their family by making sure the proper documents are in place, and their financial lives are in order.
How well do you meet these client expectations? Are these topics included in your conversations, so they recognize and appreciate what you provide for them? Make time to consider each expectation and jot down some notes about next steps you will take to ensure that your client experience matches (or exceeds) your clients’ expectations. You might even share these seven expectations with your clients and ask them which ones they think are most important.