How financial advisors can design a luxury client experience

Jan 14, 2019

By David Finley

As a financial advisor, you want to provide your clients with an outstanding customer experience right? Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but many advisors are falling short on delivering this goal.

Yes, you’re probably following the advisor rulebook when it comes to providing good customer service: proactive in communication, decent digital experience, and so on. However, if you don’t really listen and speak to the needs of the populations your serve, your clients won’t feel understood and supported.

Investors don’t care about being wealthy, they care about leading wealthy lives. The wealth management client experience needs to shift from packaging itself around its products to communicating and engaging with the lifestyle goals of its investors.

I have assembled six forward-thinking articles on how to deliver the kind of customer experience that is in touch people’s experiences. I also included a quote for each article that highlights a key takeaway from the piece. My hope is that with these articles, you take a step back and see if your customer experience is truly serving the core values of your clients.

When you speak to everyone, you speak to no one.

“A broader and more holistic client experience really can differentiate a firm, but only if the firm clearly understands who it wants to serve, so it can create an extraordinary client experience for that particular target clientele. Because in the end, it’s not about finding the one particular tactic that is going make the difference, but instead, the building of a strong foundation that supports a specific target clientele and is consistent with the client’s journey that truly makes a client’s experience extraordinary!”

Source: Michael Kitces from 11 action steps to design an extraordinary client experience, featuring Julie Littlechild

No one listens when you use financial jargon. Quick, simple messaging is your golden ticket.

“In the financial services industry, a common assumption is that individuals further up the wealth scale have a more advanced understanding of how to make decisions in their best interests. The assumption needs a reality check: end-investors from across the wealth spectrum are less confident of their financial knowledge than many professionals believe. They struggle with investment jargon, worry about risk and suitability, and are frustrated with the unclear portfolio insights delivered to them.”

Source: Tasha Vashisht and Giles Patterson from Is the party over for the asset management industry?

Source: RBC and Scorpio Partnership, Wealth Transfer Report 2017

The financial service industry has done a bad job in listening and supporting the lifestyle goals of women.

“Financial tools need a makeover to be more appealing, and we need more female advisors who can speak our language in terms of how they frame our specific goals and vision for attaining them. We can no longer just admire the problem, we need to go ahead and fix it. We need to ensure that those providing advice, whether it's over the phone, whether it's on a webinar, or whether it's in fact in person, are diverse and accessible to women, minorities and early-career professionals. “

Source: Joan Kuhl  from The New Wellness Trend for Women is Wealth

Yes, even wealthy boomers want a frictionless, digital experience.

“It turns out that wealthy boomers look for a very similar experience to what their millennial children expect: including fast transactions, transparency, mobile-first and elegant experiences according to the CFA report.”

“According to CFA Institute’s 2017 report, The Value of Premium Wealth Management, 39 percent of wealthy individuals 55 or older responded that a core value of wealth management is the strength and breadth of the digital offering made available to them, while only 12 percent of wealth advisors surveyed thought this was important to the boomer generation. This statistic reveals a significant opportunity for firms looking to innovate and serve wealthy families of all generations.”

Source: Doug Fritz from The Myth of the Non-Digital Boomer

Clients don’t care about money. They care about the lifestyle their money will provide.

“People who work in finance underestimate that watching markets go up and down isn’t intellectually stimulating for most regular people.”

“The best way to talk to people about money is keeping the phrases, “What do you want to do?” or “Whatever works for you,” loaded and ready to fire. You can explain to other people the history of what works and what hasn’t while acknowledging their preference to sleep well at night over your definition of “winning.”

Source: Morgan Housel  from How to Talk to People About Money

Empowered clients won’t wait for you to catch up.

While not a wealth management piece, Nike is an all-star example of a company that is streamlining their distribution line to only the products that leave customers feeling like they are wearing something high-quality and exclusive. Advisors could all take a lesson from their “edit to amplify” growth strategy!

“In “Just Do It” fashion, Nike recognized it must “edit to amplify” growth, so it is putting 25% fewer styles into the market to make space in order to amplify sales. Nike could potentially edit out a massive number of distribution partners from its current slate of 30,000 retailers to focus primarily on only 40 that offer superior customer experiences, quality service and storytelling that differentiates the brand. And of course, the company’s own Nike Direct retail platform, both online and offline, is where it can deliver all those at the highest level.

Source: Pamela Danziger  from Nike’s New Consumer Experience Distribution Strategy Hits the Ground Running



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