If you asked everyone in your firm to define your value proposition, could they? Would everyone in your firm have the same underlying purpose to their work? Your answers to these simple questions give clues to how advanced and effective your customer experience (CX) is.
Your firm’s value proposition and purpose collectively form the promise your clients sign up for and expect you to keep. It’s important for every person in your firm to know and understand your promise to clients, because clients will use every interaction with your firm to judge whether it’s been delivered.
The reality of best serving clients is that often it’s the finishing touches, or the smallest interactions, that can make or break their satisfaction with your firm. Delivering on their investment strategy is a benchmark expectation, it’s the service and sense of security they feel with your firm that defines the nature and longevity of your relationship.
The people in your business can only articulate and act on your promise to clients if they know what it is and have seen its delivery in action. It’s the responsibility of business leaders to make this a priority and treat it as a live issue that needs ongoing attention and investment.
For example, we acknowledge that technical skills and market knowledge are important to maintain for both client and business outcomes. Something as critical as your promise to clients is equally worthy of continuing and critical consideration.
As a core part of its CX and in an effort to build trust and advocacy, financial advisory firm Gilkison Group has focused on defining and embedding its purpose and values into its operating systems.
“This has created meaningful change in our business,” says director Dean Gilkison. “Inconsistency causes doubt and erodes trust. We want [clients] to feel the relief of knowing they have a team who is working together to help improve their lives from a financial perspective.”
“No matter who in our team is communicating with a client, they hear the same message,” Gilkison says.
You might have 300 clients, but each client only has one financial advice firm that they expect a dedicated, attentive and personalised relationship with. How do you resolve that friction in a growing business?
One of the answers is to focus on, and invest in, automating and digitising processes and transactions where it’s possible and practical. This has the two-fold benefit of giving you and your staff more time to focus on engaging with clients, and giving your clients consistent and efficient interaction with your systems.
“We work with a wide range of clients at different life stages, and the constant is our process – the systems that give us efficiency at scale,” says Gilkison.
This suggestion might seem like an obvious one, but it’s one that can fall by the wayside in a busy operation, until a problem or complaint triggers action. Rather, it should be a continual focus, and it is for forward-thinking, competitive firms.
“Clients and technology are constantly changing,” says Luis Uguina, Chief Digital Officer in Macquarie’s Banking and Financial Services Group. “So this is a race that is not even a marathon… it’s like running forever.”
With all the research, discussion and debate about CX and how to embed it in your business strategy, it’s worth remembering that at its heart, CX is about forming and maintaining a strong, trusted working relationship with your clients.
For advice clients, who are trusting you to help deliver on their life goals, the most impactful interactions are often the simple and comforting ones. Sending a reassuring email after a client makes an important financial decision can be all the indication they need that their portfolio is in the right hands. It’s critical that your people are aware of the impact they can make in that respect.
Gilkison considers this in the context of the professionals he works with in his personal life.
“Say I go into an office, or I go to see my doctor or dentist. I walk through the door and someone knows who I am, they’re expecting me, and I love that,” he says.
“It’s very different if it’s the opposite to that, where you’re almost interrupting someone’s day by walking through the front door or making a phone call to them.”
At Macquarie, we want you to stay ahead of the curve and the competition. We invite you to take this two-minute quiz to help understand if you’ve got the right frameworks in place for exceptional CX, or if there’s opportunity for enhancement. We will also recommend resources that can help you, no matter what stage you’re at. You can also watch Dean Gilkison talk more about his strategy and experience here.
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