Who benefits from reading this article?
Financial services entities in the USA and international locations. The arena also includes mortgage companies, banks, CPA firms, and insurance companies – to name a few.
What is a financial advisory services customer experience?
Any customer experience (commonly referred to as “CX”) covers the number of touchpoints between clients and their advisory service from the time that the idea of seeking “advice” enters the client’s mind to the point of receiving it, and beyond that (circling back to the advisor after the first results emerge).
Staying engaged with the client’s journey (“CJ”) from one touchpoint to the next is fundamental to sustainable profitability. We cannot overemphasize how crucial this is:
Invariably a potential client (i.e., a prospect) cuts the journey short before buying the financial services because one or a combination of touchpoints create dissatisfaction. A few examples:
- The advisory consultant fails to answer questions convincingly.
- The client isn’t happy with the security protocols.
- Something in the documents signaled a lapse in confidentiality.
- Navigating the website was confusing.
- The mobile support service kept you hanging on for too long.
The fact is, there are scores of touchpoints. Many of them are virtual, like surfing websites, online finance articles, reviews, online-chats with support agents; others are in-office face-to-face connections. Clients zigzag in and out of touchpoints to get to a buying decision, sometimes quickly or over time (i.e., days, weeks, even a year or more).
Every marketing director aims at converting a prospect into a recruited customer. So, when one or the other disappears for no apparent reason, and the advisory firm’s CEO asks, “Who killed the sale?” You can be sure that a touchpoint corruption somewhere in the chain is the culprit.
Why is the microanalysis of a CX touchpoint chain so important?
Every advisory firm is selling a service – not a tangible product. Consequently, its brand value in a competitive market rests on constructs like:
- Astute observation
- Personal attention
- Agility, flexibility
Put it all together, and they converge on a bottom-line impression, namely the perceived value for money.
Every competitor fights tooth-and-nail to close all the possible gaps in a comparative showdown for the clients’ business. The idea is to end up as the best value proposition in the clients’ eyes. In all cases, management cannot ignore profitability, which brings us to two foundation stone considerations:
Building one’s loyal client base goes to the heart of an advisory firm’s sustainable ROI. Long-term customers traditionally:
- Are repeat users of provided services.
- Take advantage of the multiple verticals offered (e.g., funding, accounting, trusts).
- Require very little promotion or maintenance.
- Form the backbone of the business – what marketing strategists refer to as “cash cows.”
On the other hand, Client Churn is just the opposite: Frequently eroding ROI at a significant rate. Losing a loyal customer has two devastating consequences:
- A critical component of the revenue flow is probably lost forever.
- It takes around six times more dollar investment in marketing resources to recruit enough new clients as compensation for losing someone who loved your brand. If churn takes hold of events in an advisory business, the red ink can flow freely.
What is a financial advisory firm’s most penetrative approach to offset CX disruption?
Many things, but far-and-away the most important one is service excellence, which implies:
- It’s providing a service that gives the client extra comfort in the decision-making process.
- The team is going the extra mile to create memorability; align the clients’ thinking with solutions beyond their expectations.
- They’re on top of every touchpoint to ensure that a smooth client journey stays on course.
- When value-for-money is the ultimate incentive for a client to pull the buy-trigger, enhanced emotional and psychographic gratification creates meaningful advantage
When there’s little distinction between the takeaway advice from one advisor to the next (frequently the case), the only thing that counts is: How the client feels and thinks about your brand. In other words, a brand image that stands head-and-shoulders above the rest by:
- Demonstrating what you’re going to do versus actually doing it. In other words, if you don’t tell it right, you may not even get the chance to do it right.
- The way you promote your brand counts, as long as the functional input isn’t worse than your competitors if you get the nod.
Clients prefer a financial services advisor that comes across differently, selling to them the way they want to buy. It calls for something intangibly unique outside of the expected professionalism that every competitive advisor should deliver without much doubt. If you want to grow your advisory business compellingly, develop a CX strategy covering every touchpoint end-to-end.