Customers aren’t just important to the success of your business. They’re the only thing that really matters.
In fact, success in business — whether it is in financials services, sales, manufacturing, or any other industry — relies on clients that are happy, engaged and ready to come back for more. They are a crucial part of any enterprise.
That said, consumers have proven that they are willing to pay more for better customer service. This is something that we all see every day. We’re willing to pay a little extra for more legroom or a better seat on the airplane, we choose one restaurant vs. another one for lunch based on how we’re treated there, and we’ll go out of our way to visit the retailers that we like and where we enjoy shopping. It is about the value of the experience, of the customer service we receive, and it often takes a significant price cut to make up for poor customer service.
It’s the same for advisors: Clients want to work with the advisors they enjoy working with and whose advice they trust. Here are seven suggestions for how to build profitable, lifelong relationships with your clients.
Create Positive Client Experiences
Happy customers tell others about their experiences. They gossip. They recommend. The encourage their kids and their friends to use your services, projecting a positive impression of your company and your services.
Satisfied clients are the best promotional tool you’ll even have.
In order to get there, however, it’s important to first impress your clients with exceptional service. They need a reason to recommend you. Always address their concerns in a timely manner and with a friendly tone. Be open and responsive, always ready to meet with them and talk through any information they might need or want.
Listen To Your Clients
When in meetings, let your customers talk and show them you are listening. It is their money, and their lifestyle, on the line, so always take their wants and needs into account when recommending services or products.
And the listening doesn’t stop there. Solicit feedback from your customers throughout the year via surveys, social media, email, etc. This will allow you to keep track of what clients are thinking and doing, while also steering your own decision-making to meet those needs.
Respect Your Clients
This should be common sense, but always be kind to your clients — even when they are not necessarily being kind toward you — and keep your patience at all times. Don’t use rude behavior and consistently treat them like the valued, critical resources that they are.
We can all tell when we are not being respected, and few things will drive a client away as quickly as an advisor who they feel talks down to them or doesn’t respect them as a person.
Continue To Keep Your Clients Satisfied
The advisor-client relationship doesn’t end after they’ve written a check and their funds have been deployed. In the best cases, it is a lifelong relationship, so always act like it from day one and every day thereafter.
In addition to quality financial advice and guidance, successful advisors provide excellent service after the deal and excellent support for their clients going forward. In fact, this is often the most difficult part of the job, keeping clients satisfied over the long haul, after the deal has been sold and the excitement of the investment opportunity has worn off.
But successful advisors know that it is far more difficult to find and sign a new client than it is to simply maintain the clients that they already have. Make sure those customers are satisfied and that they never leave.
We all value transparency, and clients will always respond to advisors who are open and responsive to their needs. This starts with an open-door policy that values lots of communication between advisor and client.
If a client emails or leaves a phone message call them back in a timely matter and address their needs. Then, summarize what you talked about in an email so that you both can have that information for your records. And this is a two-way street. Part of good communication is about asking what they need and providing feedback for them as well.
Be honest with your clients; never sugarcoat bad news or try to spin everything in a positive light. Clients will trust you more when they know you are being honest and open with them, and not just telling them what you think they want to hear.
Let clients be the first to know about any changes related to their accounts and, if you messed up, admit it and be open about the problem. On the flipside, if you did something right let them know about that too. They need to know that you’re working with their best interests in mind at that they can trust you with their investment capital.
Along those same lines, be open and transparent about everything that you do. Don’t hide anything — good or bad — from your clients, and prove to them that you’re doing what you say you’re doing. This can take the form of regular reports, monthly emails, regular phone call check-ins or any number of other communications, but the key is always to lay all your cards on the table so that the client can see them.
After all, you’re in this together.
And don’t be afraid of feedback. It’s a great way to spot potential problems before they get out of hand, as well as to fix issues that might damage the client relationship.