November 2, 2022

Enhancing the Client Experience #1 – Stewart Bell – Transcript

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Enhancing the Client Experience

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Fraser Jack 

Thank you for joining me, Stewart Bell

 

Stewart Bell 

Fraser. Absolute pleasure. Thank you for inviting me.

 

Fraser Jack 

Thank you for coming along and joining us on this series where we really are getting stuck into the concept of the client experience why it’s so important. What can people do? All this all sort of stuff that you work with every day. So thank you so much for coming along and sharing these gems with us. Let’s let’s dive back in time for those people that don’t know you or haven’t haven’t met you, there might be one or two, let’s face it, they’re not very many, because you’ve been around for a bit. Tell us a little bit about your story and how you got into this space.

 

Stewart Bell 

Okay, so I won’t go back too far. But I’m kind of in the industry, my journey kind of starts in about 2002. I had been in the UK for a while come back from Japan. And I started to get into consulting area in about 2002. Back then I was with MLC, which anybody who was familiar with them will see when I there was a massive grounding in practice management. And as a result, it was very, very popular. I then went on to a&p had a really good experience there as well. And I think it was about 2008, I was walking through an airport on my way down to Melbourne. And I spotted a book in a bookshop. It had a guy holding a balloon, and it had the title, The Four Hour Workweek. And I kind of read it, and it kind of lodged in my brain. And there was a lot of stuff in there that really stuck. And I think that was the moment that I realized I’d become kind of disillusioned with what I was doing. And I ended up taking a year off with with Rachel, my wife. And we traveled all over the world, we spent time in the US through and Central America, South America, Europe, India, Southeast Asia. And it was while I was away, I realized that I hadn’t fallen out of love with the coaching or the consulting. It was the corporate side of things. So I came back and decided to start up as an independent coach. And there weren’t that many people doing at the time there was Jim who’d been doing it for ages, there was on call hard work where there was a few others in the marketplace. And it was it was you know, to start with, it was really enjoyable. But it was probably about three years in about 2013, three or four years in, I started to realize that the way that I was coaching and the way that I was consulting, I was spending a lot of time on planes traveling around and these really long ended meetings every month, that just, it was a lot of talking about what we were going to do. And there was less on the practical side of things. And for me, I just I found that the model wasn’t working. And it was kind of a lot of parallels with with the way my clients were working. And I I’ve been a geek from from way back, I’ve been breaking two eight sixes since I was like 12 years old. To a successful those who aren’t complete geeks are really really old desktop PCs that literally used to run them with dos commands. And so I’ve always been interested in tech and I’d made the mine, Dean who’d got involved in the textile, I suppose he’d started 10 years ago when we as his mates, what are you trying to do trying to launch a platform, and he’s sort of stuck at it. And eventually he’d gone to Silicon Valley he, as is the way he met a bunch of people come back and started this business that seven months later, he sold to Yahoo for 40 million bucks. And he just said screw, you need to kind of get out of yourself, you need to get involved in this tech startup thing. So one thing led to another I end up getting introduced to a few really smart people who were starting an incubator particularly focused on helping corporate escapee wannabes get out of corporate using sort of Silicon Valley methodology. And I invested as a as an investor, I became a managing partner. And for me, it was actually more of an opportunity to learn some I’m I’m I’m in there. We’ve got these speakers, Peter Davidson, who’s on the seed investors of PayPal, Suze Jacobs, Brian Usher we had pulled down was in there and a bunch of other really smart people. And I’m learning about how, you know, these, these tech companies have started and they’ve grown and how the methodologies different, you know, lean startup agile, and all rest of it. And so what I started to do is I started to coach some of the businesses that I was working with. And what I found is that a lot of the the concepts started to get really work and get traction. So that was about 2013 2014. The incubator never quite made it, I’m afraid. But I walked away with a very valuable education. And the, what I was coaching kind of turned into a book, I rebranded my business as our dairy, which is just the book turned it with a working book 10 And a working group, the working group turned into a program. And this is kind of what I’ve been doing for the last, what 898 years in particular, really focusing on on where advice is going, how to kind of evolve or help advice businesses evolve technology as part of that, but kind of crashing together what they’ve known for a while in tech startups about how to do things differently with traditional advisory models and trying to kind of craft that next phase of the evolution that we’re all having painfully going through these last few days. So that’s, that’s me in a nutshell.

 

Fraser Jack 

Well, if I can completely relate to the geeking out to the old To the old 286 by the old Commodore 64. Before before that, but which was probably means that I’m older than you.

 

Stewart Bell 

I had an I had an Amiga 500. And I had to remember the rule, not Atari plate.

 

Fraser Jack 

You can play Pong on it. Yeah. And definitely, definitely similar with the journey through the tech startup world, and then understanding all those words of lean startups and an agile and ways of working. So yeah, Wow, incredible, incredible grounding there in history. And when you bring that into a small bit small to medium business, or advice business or professional firm, which traditionally has been built in a certain way, you know, with a certain, you know, old school, you know, thinking or this is the way it’s always been done to, therefore, surely that’s tried and tested. And then looking at breaking those systems. So the perfect person to talk to about about, you know, how do we had a we look at developing these businesses into, you know, the way of the future and what’s going on what’s coming down the track. Now, I wanted to talk to you about client experience. And specifically, let’s start with the importance of it. Let’s start with the concept of why is it such an important wasn’t such a big deal?

 

Stewart Bell 

Yes. So I, the funny thing is client experience, probably, it’s been around for ages, but I think it first started coming on people’s radar, probably about 2018. That’s when it became a maybe that was just my experience, but that’s when it kind of started become a topic that was presented at conferences. And I’d often get people say, okay, oh, hold on. Can you define it? And I, I’ve always looked on client experience, if, if when I work with businesses, and there’s kind of three areas that we work with on their service model, the first one is kind of what is your service model? And that to me is, what’s your proposition? There was what the value in working with you ongoing? What’s in your packages? And also importantly, how do you deliver it? So that’s the service piece, there’s the pricing, which is making sure whatever you’re designing is profitable. Because otherwise, you know, there’s there’s two reasons businesses go out of business, it’s one, you don’t have enough customers, or you run out of money. And the third one is kind of client experience. And I’ve always thought, if service models what you’re looking to deliver, then then client experiences, how it’s kind of designed to make people feel. And that’s the big difference. It’s the difference between looking at you know, okay, we’re going to send this email or we’re going to send this back and actually stopping and going, Well, hold on, how could we modify it or change it or personalize it or do something to it that so it goes from being just Okay, tomorrow? Uh, Whoa, that’s a that’s a that’s a great experience. A great example of this. You’ve probably seen this Fraser, you’ve seen the direct service? Email, CD, baby. No, no, it’s fantastic. It’s CD Baby was a startup that was It was started by a guy called Derek Severs, who’s a regular on Tim Ferriss show, but he started this kind of Apple Store, or iTunes Store or for independent musicians. And he’s a remarkable guy, because he was, he was one of the guys that was at the table with jobs telling him that he couldn’t do what he wanted to do, you know, back when they were trying to amalgamate it, but He basically took it you can, you can type in Derek Severs email. And he took, he took this email, which basically there’s an invoice. And he turned it into the story about how they took this, we took this CD you’d ordered, and we wrapped it in a guilt, guilt edge box, and we put it on a velvet pillow. And we all all of us got together and carried it down to the boat. And he just took something so mundane. And he turned it into. And since then, you know, this kind of driven a lot of things. So I always look at it from the perspective of how it makes him feel. But I guess the question you asked is, why is it important? And you might have your own take on this? So I think the first thing is, if you look at industries where they’re constrained by price, or the proposition is fundamentally similar, like broken mortgage broking, for example. Yeah, the broken proposition is is is come to us don’t go to the banks will look through a bunch of different lenders, and we’ll do the hard work for you. So when you’ve got industries where the challenge is different, differentiating the offer based on price, or then client experience is a really good way of doing it. People always remember that side of things. The second one is, I think, when I’m doing work with advisors on reviews, we talk about trying to make something remarkable. And what that means is literally you make it so people are able to remark on it to other people. And we already know from the studies which that existing clients are usually big advocates of advice, the NPS scores are off the charts. But it’s the issue is often with non advise people. There’s two things if you can make the referral or the experience something that your clients talk to other people about, because I’ve got something to talk about, it increases the likelihood that non clients gonna come see you. But also, when people visit for the first time, and they have this amazing experience, you’re going to dissipate a lot of those feelings of nervousness and buyer’s remorse. And the third one, which I know we spoke about beforehand, for me, which often gets overlooked is efficiency, which is a lot of client experience. Just like customer experience or user experience is about getting your user or your client to work with you the way that you need them to sort of make sure they’re communicating or they’re utilizing you in the right way as opposed to you know what you’re often getting practices, which is different clients engaging by different communication methods and doing their own thing. So That’s kind of why I think it matters. What’s your take on

 

Fraser Jack 

so many? So many great things? My take on it is, and you kind of touched on this as well, you know, you mentioned the emotion of it and the feeling of something. And, and you know, when you talk about surface models, for example, often that’s a pretty logical thing, right? There’s logic, it’s a bouncing ball, we do this, and then we do that. And there’s all these certain logical, practical methodology to it. Whereas the client experience is really around that emotion. It can be different for every client, but it can also be, how do they feel? Are they feeling secure? Are they feeling safe? Are they feeling happy? Are they like, what’s the emotional piece to it? And sometimes it’s difficult to put into a service model. But it and sometimes it’s a variable, variable thing, but it’s that opposite of logic. It’s that emotion, I guess. And, you know, when I think about what client experiences, that’s what I’m thinking,

 

Stewart Bell 

yeah, you’re spot on, like, you can turn around, say, I’m gonna produce a quarterly report for clients. But it’s the point is to make clients feel secure and safe and peace of mind that that’s the that’s the deliverable, but that’s the output and you can you can sort of play with the information and how it’s presented to sort of make that relevant. Yep,

 

Fraser Jack 

absolutely. Now, let’s, let’s talk about this, obviously, you do a lot of work with advisors, what are some of the things that you’re seeing in the practice that you work with that are really resonating with both the advice teams or the staff as well as the clients.

 

Stewart Bell 

So assuming you’re kind of looking for the individual pieces, and rather than the whole thing, I kind of look at it from, there’s kind of three parts that you can pull out, the first one is kind of obvious, wow, factors where you’re putting something in there and just kind of like, wow, you know, etc. The second one is kind of touch points, which are focused really on building up consistency, or building up certain behaviors. And the third one is kind of the unexpected stuff. And I think if I picked two of the WoW factors kind of out, you know, when a client engages you and says, right, I’m coming on board, and we’re talking about a new client here, you know, just sending out a personalized message that the only purpose of it is just to welcome Thanks. Hey, you know, Fraser, I’m so glad you came on board, really glad to be working with you. And over the next few years, we’re going to make sure that we take in whatever that personalized message, and we can talk a bit about mediums using video and audio. But that’s, I mean, that’s kind of like rolling out the red carpet for me. The other one is welcome kits, we’ve had a lot of success with our business, and also with advice firms just sitting down and going, Okay, if we’re going to send a little package through to clients, and we put some thought into it, what would we put in it, you know? And then make it a physical thing that you send out that can that can have a big impact?

 

Fraser Jack 

And can I just kind of unpack Can I take that just before we move on. I love the idea of personal videos to by the way, they’ll Bon giorno or something like that there’s a couple of different apps out there, or even just jumping on your on your phone and recording your message and texting it through is also really interesting. With the welcome kit, or using that term, that’s something that might be a little bit personalized, quite personalized, generic to the business, what are your thoughts on

 

Stewart Bell 

this? One, if you over personalized something, you just make it hard to do. And if you make something hard to do, it’s not going to get done. But you can make it mass personalized. So for example, you know, having a selection of books, and then you maybe got three or four books that you think are great, you got them on the shelf, and you go, Well, what book would this client like and then do a put a note in there, put a covering multiple notes, say, I’ve given you this book, because I think you’d really enjoy it for this reasons. I mean, like, I’ve got had worked with a couple advisors actually written their own books. And that’s a great thing to put in a welcome kit, because it kind of puts things home. I am a bit bit bit of a fan of kind of moleskin notebooks. And I think giving people like a moleskin, which is something that the other thing is, I hate seeing people put their brand on something like that, because it’s like, if you’re gonna give someone a present, I think give them something that is about them. Predominantly, if you if you’re gonna do a brand, do just a logo and nothing more. But make I think make it something that you personally will use, as opposed to just I don’t know, and don’t want to sort of have a crack at people who give the stuff away. But if it’s if it’s like a, you know, one of those stress balls with your logo on it, that’s probably the less meaning for them. sending someone a good quality notebook or something along those lines, if that makes sense. I have

 

Fraser Jack 

heard that before I went to a conference once and somebody said to me, don’t give me golf balls with the logo, and I’ll hit him in the water, but give me golf balls with our logo. And I’ll tell him my friends that they were given to me by their financial advisor. It was it was quite interesting. I thought that tell you you’re right, actually branding, branding gifts is is a little bit too much.

 

Stewart Bell 

Anytime and I don’t play golf anymore. At the time. I can’t think of any time I’ve looked at a golf ball and gone only those guys aren’t going to look them up online later. It’s just it’s I think it’s more about you know, solving a problem. You know, it’s Christmas, you need a bunch of gifts. It’s easy, right? As opposed to going out selecting a bunch of books.

 

Fraser Jack 

Fantastic. So we can add a couple of WoW factors we you mentioned touch points and consistency. I think this is a good one too.

 

Stewart Bell 

So one of the templates that we have on the program, we got a lot of tools and templates, as you mentioned, it’s called the letters note list. And it’s it’s it’s a it’s an infographic that goes out goes out Prior to review, but we suggest that businesses send it out like two or three times a year. And it’s just like visually, these are 16 reasons why you want to, you might want to contact us, if you know if you’re going to make a major capital purchase, if anything happens in your house. And it’s stuff like that, which is reminder getting on the front foot without having to have a necessarily, you know, 120 conversations and reminding clients that you’re there. And more importantly, saying, These are the things that you need to let us know about beforehand. Another one that’s really important, particularly in the first 90 days, as soon as that welcome message goes out, the next person to step in should be a team, you know, and that’s about positioning, that the fact that they are the concierge, they’re the person you need to speak to, they’re the person who’s gonna help them organize the meeting, they’re the person who potentially is going to do the fact finding, they’re going to pick the person is going to help them because that’s going to create the sense that this is a team exercise and starts to build up that behavior that you know, because if they want, every communication starts coming through you as the advisor, you know, you leave that for long enough, it’s going to become embedded behavior. Another one, which I literally just ran a training session on this couple of weeks ago, which is we’ve got a process called the escalating follow up, which is the idea that, you know, if you, if you assign a task, get us back this information, and the client doesn’t get the information back, just sending the same follow up, email doesn’t really work, you’ve got to escalate it, you got to, you know, make them accountable, and then offer the help. And then finally, you know, if it gets that long enough, you’ve got to have the adviser step in and go, Look, we’re not hearing back from you, you know, on board, maybe we need to stop the advice. And that’s kind of that’s classic, you know, client experience, which is recognizing that getting the advice done is just as important as the quality advice. And as a result, if the clients not playing ball, you kind of got this responsibility to jump in and change the behavior.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yeah, exactly. And consistency is a big part of building trust, which you’ve sort of done a I don’t know, yes, series on recently, which is around, you know, one of the many the pillars of building trust is that consistency, and being able to demonstrate that from a, from a feeling point of view, that’s pretty important.

 

Stewart Bell 

So when you talk about consistency and building trust, like as in doing the same thing over time, we’re doing what you say, how does it work?

 

Fraser Jack 

Yeah, it’s just about filling the bank. It’s about you know, making small deposits in the bank, often that type people say no, that they’re, and they’re going to be there for when I need them. So it’s about rather than having voids I think and just going great, we really, really love you. And then you don’t hear from us for a long time. And then it doesn’t have to be matched. It could be automated text message or something like that. Just letting you know, what’s the So Lee still doing it?

 

Stewart Bell 

It’s funny, the one of the touch points that I often talk about, and particularly in those big voids is, you know, if the only time you’re reaching out to a client is because you need something from them. It’s kind of like Pavlov’s dog, right? Except, oh, God, what I’m gonna have to do next. And sometimes the best ones are just, I mean, we’ve got templates in the program, which just for really simple ones, one of them is like, hey, Fraser, it’s been about three months that we chatted, I just want to check in how’s things going? Do you need anything from us? And that stuff without any, you know, without any anything other than just the desire to connect and offer your services? Sometimes those are the ones where the response comes back from clients, and it’s just they open up or they Yeah, those are the ones that really make often make the biggest difference and results in the kind of biggest interactions.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yep. And yeah, absolutely couldn’t agree more. And now, you mentioned unexpected, you know, the unexpected, as in the niceties, what sort of things are you thinking, that might be like an out of the blue unexpected behavior.

 

Stewart Bell 

I don’t like birthday cards. I think it’s weird when I get a birthday card from from my advisor, but I think it’s also because birthday cards are times when you tend to get tend to get birthday cards from people who are close to write. And whilst I appreciate the thought, it always seems out of place, and maybe this is just me. Whereas if there’s a particular date, maybe the day you started your business, or, you know, the dates. I mean, I remember when one of my clients this is back in the day, he had his first child, I went out and bought ACDC, lullabies and gave it to him. And that was kind of I felt was a little bit different. And sort of bit more memorable. I’m a really big fan of books. I think books are just, I mean, I love books anyway. But giving someone a book is to me is more than just, you know, here’s a gift, it’s actually a particularly it’s a good book, and it’s a relevant book and it’s a book that you’ve read and you and you think it’s gonna make a difference. I think that’s a big one. And if you want to break it, bring it down, just sharing like an article of interest i i use a tool called pocket which is kind of like a digital scrapbook. And whenever I’m reading an article online, I like it I’ll just reach up into the bar and I’ll bookmark it. And then you know, if if something if it’s a really good article, I’ll pick sort of a bunch of clients or group accounts maybe one client and I’ll go I saw this article, I think it’s relevant because of this this and this and I wanted to share it with you that can that can work really really well because yeah, that’s kind of the opposite of newsletters, right? It’s it’s, it’s it’s personalizing things a little bit more.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yeah, I saw this article and I thought of you Matt and accounts Yeah.

 

Stewart Bell 

For as long as it’s not an article about the best dressed man in the world or something like that, then

 

Fraser Jack 

you could send that one to me. Somebody who can coordinate the colors, the image and you hate birthday cards I used to send out just you know, throw myself under the bus here. Anniversary cards, we had some anniversary cards made up heavy, heavy policy anniversary. And of course, it was about their, you know, when their their insurance policy was due. And but it would be like us friendly policy anniversary. And then in the inside, they open it up thinking who’s sending me who’s opening the card, it was a beautiful, you know, green or yellow or orange envelope, you know, it was look like with proper stamp and handwritten on the front.

 

Stewart Bell 

And I’m not trying to take aim at like birth. I’m definitely if you’re if you’re sending out the birthday thing, it’s gonna be better than not doing anything but the opportunities to go. Okay, maybe I can make this something even better. But yeah, yeah, yeah,

 

Fraser Jack 

fantastic. And let’s, let’s, let’s expand this conversation out to other other markets, obviously, with advice, we sort of get our heads down and buried into the advice practices and professional firms. But what do you think, amazing client experiences? And you sort of, you know, you mentioned already around the CD, baby, the the CD, maybe you mentioned that already. But let’s, let’s open this up to other things. What do you think of businesses that do client experience really well, and maybe advice can learn from

 

Stewart Bell 

so I plow? One example that is really close to my heart, because and it’s also pretty irrelevant. Diamond, some other ones. But in 2019, I in February, I ran my last two day program workshop prior to COVID. And we haven’t quite picked it up yet. For a whole bunch of reasons. And we ran out a Bridge Climb. And if you ever don’t have you ever done Bridge Climb in Sydney. Yes. I have many. Yeah. Okay. Tell me tell me just off the cuff. What What are your were your impressions of doing Bridgeclimb compared to what you thought it was going to be beforehand? Yeah, I

 

Fraser Jack 

think I was. I’m stretching my memory. I remember rocking up there. And they did the you know, have you been drinking in the night before? Are you? That was a bit of a freakout moment for me, because I had, and then. And then the impressions were, were pretty good. Like, I mean, the process the fact that they had all the safety in the harnesses, you walk down the platform that underneath the bridge, and you freaked out because you could see underneath you. But then I think once you got into it, it was it was it was really good. And it was good. I enjoyed it. I’ve also done the climb above the stadium in Adelaide. So that’s the other one i How’s that? Yeah, it was good, really good.

 

Stewart Bell 

I haven’t done a set appointment. I’m too scared. But

 

Fraser Jack 

I haven’t moved yet.

 

Stewart Bell 

So I did a two day workshop. And the whole point was we were doing a whole workshop on client experience. And we also we sort of did the morning was great venue. And we did the morning. And then we did the Bridge Climb, we came back and unpacked it. And for anybody who’s not done it, I mean, one of the things we spoke about is the difference between a value proposition and experience. And the story goes, I’d actually booked the walk months in advance, right? And they turned around and said, which walk Do you want. And there’s a few different options. And one of them was a bit shorter than the others. It’s the Xpress walk. And I was like, Okay, well, let’s do the Express form. And for some reason, on the morning, I got it in my in my head, that the Express Walkman, we went up the inside arch. In other words, we were gonna do the Bridge Climb, and we weren’t gonna go to the top and get the photo. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case. But it kind of brought home to me the fact that the reason people do the Bridge Climb is to get to the top of the bridge. And the reason people seek advice is because to get to whatever their goal is, whether it’s a retirement goal, whether it’s a life specific event, all of that sort of stuff. And that’s the most important thing that attracts people and the ability to get there. But the thing that makes Bridgeclimb memorable is the experience you go through, it’s the, you know, going through the briefing, and it’s it’s the it’s like a human assembly line. And then there’s the the guys or the girls who take you up the bridge, and they tell these stories, and they have this five year watch really carefully. They have this fabulous way of never joking about the height, and distracting your attention at just the right moment. And generally they they’re just absolute professionals. And so you kind of we unpacked and we looked at it, we realized that it’s the experience, it’s the what goes on on the way that turns it from just a bunch of people wandering up a big bridge to something that you get bang is amazing. And we’re talking about it. And what was interesting to me about that, if you unpack the the Bridgeclimb store, I think it’s Paul case, who first came up with it, he he was doing I think it was a some co organization he and he was he was going on the bridge, they didn’t do that at all. And he said this would be a great business. And he went with the proposition to the four groups who manage the bridge and they all came back with like 105 reasons why he couldn’t do it. And he answered all of them. And some of them like the harness that it’s actually the bridge is just it’s amazing. It’s you sit there and go, How does that work? But it was really relevant to me because you got a business that has taken millions of people at the bridge. It’s 10s Over billions operating in a totally experiential space. In one of the most legislatively compliance driven environments ever. And when you go through that experience, and you kind of unpack it, it makes you realize, well, if they can do it the bridge, doing it with advice, that’s an even with the compliance, you know, we can do it, it can be done. So that’s probably if you if you haven’t done it, and you want an exactly like an accessible version of what I think is just such a great experience driven business, that’s one that to go and check out. I’ve been up there three times, and I’ll go again.

 

Fraser Jack 

I had to getting paid on a commission for sending people there because there’s always people that are like, Oh, I’m gonna need to go do it now.

 

Stewart Bell 

I have three tickets left over. And to be fair, they’ve extended the voucher, valid literally for like three years ever since COVID. So I’ve got to tip my hat for them.

 

Fraser Jack 

Fantastic. Yeah. Great. Excellent. So so that’s what that’s what I think, is there anything else you think of, especially when the in the tech space, you do a lot of work in tech? Is there any, you know, like you mentioned Apple earlier are really good at this?

 

Stewart Bell 

Yeah, I’d probably is there’s a bunch of examples I’ve put together and one of them, I put them into three categories. There’s examples, which are really good at altering client behavior. There’s examples which are about increased client engagement and retention. And then there’s examples which are about making your proposition easier to engage with and ultimately stay with. If you’re looking at often client bait behavior, I’ve actually got I have a side business, which is running some rental vans through a platform called Car Next Door. And what’s really interesting about that as a as a as a business is because the goal of the client experiences is very different from an advice business. Like it is literally to divert the inquiries to either the call center or to deal with them upfront. So whereas an advice business, your goal is to create contact, the van business is literally a situation where somebody’s texting you and waiting for you to respond, the whole thing breaks down. So that’s that. I mean, context are is a great business. Anyway, given given what’s going on. I’m a big user of apps on my phone. Fit BOD, is a fitness app, which has completely, you know, remove the need for me to a have a gym membership be it’s actually something that because it’s gamified and it tracks and it plans out my workouts for me. Do you use any sleeping apps to track your sleep?

 

Fraser Jack 

I don’t know. No, I used to I used to have a Fitbit. And it did. I was fascinated with the deep sleep and the deep rhythms and all those sorts of things. But I don’t anymore. No.

 

Stewart Bell 

Again, I’m gonna like are you sleep watch. Again, it automates the whole thing and it makes me want to go to bed earlier, it makes me go really identify ways that I can get those eight hours sleep. Another example and I know this, people feel it’s weird service New South Wales, which is the body which used for registering cars, like then stuff that you can do on their website. Now, not to mention the app. I mean, I, every time I come to register one of the vans, which I’ve got to do 13 times a year, it takes me a minute and a half literally the pink slips there. It’s so quick, and it’s so easy to do. Even you can look at Amazon or you know, there’s there’s early adopting businesses where the the game changer was there was really free returns, once they introduced free returns, they made it almost more convenient to to shop online because the risk was gone. So those, those are examples of businesses that went okay, what are the things that are stopping clients from from doing something? Or, you know, what are the things that we need to put in place that we can make people act in a certain way instead of another way? And they’ve sold that really effectively?

 

Fraser Jack 

Yes, this is a this is a part of a client experience that we don’t often talk about, right? Which is this removing obstacles. Yeah. And and with advice, there’s, you know, going to see an advisor, there’s probably a lot of emotional obstacles that get in the way of taking that giant leap of faith. You know, I know I should I know, I should, I know I should. But I’ve got to pick up the phone, I’ve got to make an appointment. And I’ve got to might not be the right person. What if I don’t like them? How do I tell them nicely, I don’t want to be the you know, like, there’s all these things that go through a client’s head to take that giant leap of faith.

 

Stewart Bell 

It’s like factfinding, like from from an experiential point of view, one of the things that will guaranteed driver user offer offer, sign up to an app is when they go, they might get your email address, they might get your name, the moment they asked for a phone number, any of that sort of stuff, you’re out of there and you compare it to you know, we’ve got these clients who are coming in potentially a bit nervous. And it’s the first thing they’re getting is like, give a shit, particularly right now with what’s going on in cyber, you know, give us all of this sort of stuff. How’s that going to impact them? What’s the experience that possibly in many cases? Not great? Yeah, the same would be true for you know, if you’re even at the end of the first appointment, are you asking clients to sign up for advice? Or you often sign up for ongoing advice? One is a double decision. And the other one is, yeah, it’s again, it’s you look at it and go, Okay, what sometimes the the most direct route to solving a problem is not the best route to actually get the outcome.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yeah. And you mentioned retention, and obviously advice and having an ongoing advice relationship. There’s two parts that we’re going to get initial advice and then having an ongoing advice relationship. And that retention side of it is really important. And obviously, you mentioned a few gamification, examples there. Healthcare Now we think about gamification in the world of advice.

 

Stewart Bell 

Really, really good question. Because gamification, yeah, do you know what people have been trying for a while. And I think the thing that works with gamification is it’s got to be, it’s got to be measured, right, you’ve got to have a metric. So I know you’ve done a lot of work on this. But on, I don’t know, there’s some software, good software out for doing this. But ultimately, if you can’t track, if you can’t attribute certain activities, or actions to certain rewards, and progress, then it’s really, really hard to do. And I think a lot of businesses in the past have struggle with this, because they see this as being a data, a data issue, if I can just get all this data and put it in front of the client. It’s often not a data issue. And it’s not a complexity thing. It’s about making it really, really, really simple. And that’s, I think, if there’s anything that maybe holds firms back, sometimes when it comes to experience, it’s over complicating it, or wanting to integrate too much of the data into it rather than less if that makes sense.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yeah, I love I love the concept then in your right there’s there’s some, some great, you know, progress and thinking about those those variables, the rewards, variable or otherwise, that the dopamine hits in the brain and all those sort of things around hitting milestones and getting to targets and whether it’s, you know, meeting steps on a map or whatever it might be to try and get to the the end you’ve started. And now you know, you want to make sure you get to every every take every rung of the ladder if you want.

 

Stewart Bell 

Flick, someone said to me while we go through what do you think the most successful gamified business in Australia is? Taking a guess? Or?

 

Fraser Jack 

I don’t know, what does it call us for compliance? Yes, right. Yeah.

 

Stewart Bell 

So it’s successful, it ended up becoming more, I think it’s even nowadays more valuable than the original company, which was part of the problem. So and you look at it, it’s pure gamification. The The goal is to get you to use corners and the multiple levels, multiple rewards, it’s it’s, it’s an it’s relatively simple.

 

Fraser Jack 

It’s interesting, that concept of status, isn’t it? Like, I mean, they do use there’s this point, but then there’s also status and status can can be a real driver out what I’m, I’m a platinum or gold or silver or whatever the value from any of the lines. And it’s this concept of you know, I’ve built myself up to a status that I’ve always wondered how that can work well, and advice practices. Ah,

 

Stewart Bell 

you know, what I kind of look at I go, what is what is the status thing about? It’s from his lounge access? It’s just being able to rock up there on a Friday and have breakfast rather than sit out there in the in the, you know, in the in the terminal? That’s, that’s the beyond, although, I’m sure there’s other benefits to it. But yeah, again, it depends on the individual ties it to, right. Yep, that’s right.

 

Fraser Jack 

And, and what goes on inside their head? Yeah. Tell us a little bit about, like, if you’re a novice starting up a practice? What would be some of the things that we would definitely have to have in there from a user experience point of view? And what, like, what, let’s start with some of the bigger blocks, obviously. And

 

Stewart Bell 

so I’ll put this past, can you tell me what you’re taking? For me, it has to start with niching. It has to start with sitting down and going before we can build experience before we can, you know, even do any of that sort of stuff, we got to work out. Okay. Are we going to focus on a specific market, demographic market? Or are we going to focus on working with people who’ve got a specific mindset? Or are we going to fight you know, we’re going to work with a bunch of people, we’re gonna put a message out there, and it’s going to attract people. And I think, if you can’t start by getting clear on on that aspect, you know, and I think asking the question, why do people work with me? How does my business deliver those things? And what’s the process behind it? I think it’s much harder to do that if you’re kind of building something which doesn’t have that focus and doesn’t have that, that clear value piece, like, you can’t really build an experience to deliver an an outcome or or underpin an outcome or reinforce an outcome. If you don’t really understand what how that’s going to be perceived by that. By by, by who you’re dealing with.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yeah, yeah, I agree. You know, trying to create a user experience for all things for all people. Is like boiling the ocean, I guess.

 

Stewart Bell 

Yeah. I mean, what comes down to if what I what I appreciate like Virgin for example, a lot of people love virgin and love to get on I love the casual thing. I don’t know, I’m How do I get on? I don’t see it myself. But for some people that really works. And again, maybe that’s a maybe that’s a me thing versus other people. But yeah, it’s that’s definitely experiential. Right?

 

Fraser Jack 

Yeah, absolutely. And, and being different. And being you know, this is not for you, then then there’s probably 100 Other advice practices that are for you, because, you know, you would suit them. And that’s great. So sorting out your target market, really good point, probably, first things if we were selling from fresh, then then what would we do? Well, what are some of the other big blocks that you’ve put in?

 

Stewart Bell 

They want to work with businesses. There’s a bit of practice analysis piece. We can do and actually, we actually made it available publicly so people can go on there and check it out and just do run through it. But one of the models in there talks about the growth cycles that businesses go through. So to get, you know, the the end result, you’ve got, like a franchise and describe disguise, but there’s six stages you go through, the first one is kind of you just when you start your business or you restart your business, you just need to get to a revenue target, you know, at once, until you’ve got enough revenue that you’re going, Okay, now we can pay the bills, then you’re always going to be in, in that mode of contact, we just got to bring on board people. But once you get past that revenue hurdle, and this is the second piece, for me, it’s the next thing you got to do is get your pricing, right. And the reason being is if you’re going to build, if you’re going to build a client experience, you’re gonna have to invest time, you may have to invest in systems, there’s a bunch of work you need to do that you won’t need to do as much later on. In other words, at that stage, your business is going to be more resource hungry than then it probably ever will be proportionally speaking. So if you don’t get your your pricing, right, you don’t have the ability to kind of sit down and do the work. And I think there’s a lot of growing businesses out there that just suffocate themselves really early, because they don’t realize that ultimately, in growth phase, you may have to probably charge more than you maybe maybe can transition to later on because you’ve got that scale. So that’s the second thing for me it’s get pricing right from day one.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yeah, this is a really interesting part too, because the providing a good client experience means that you need funding for it, right? You need to budget you need to be able to spend some money on you know, putting all these things into place and making sure that they remain in the consistent. So yeah, yep, good point,

 

Stewart Bell 

the first thing I would do, and sometimes businesses, when they get to that point where they’re recruiting somebody, they’ll go and recruit an admin assistant. Rarely do they recruit PowerPoint, or go on either at paraplanning admin to do application forms and all this sort of stuff. I personally think one of your first hires the green business should be to hire. I hate calling him VI, it’s because they aren’t, they’re not virtual, they’re real people. They’re just remote. But like VA role that EA, that business manager role, who you can go, Okay, I’m going to hand over things like the email management, the calendar, and equally important, I’m going to hand over management of the system behind it all. So that you’re not the one sitting in your workflow management system kind of ticking things off and sending emails, you’ve got somebody who’s going to help you and kind of manage that side of things. I think that’s even more important than someone who’s going to fill in the application forms or do some of the follow up stuff, which tends to be it’s not technical work, but it tends to be there’s a level of insight into the financial planning process, which most advisors, they have the capability of doing them. I don’t want to at that point in time. But it’s the other stuff, the keeping the machine going that that to me is probably the next thing. I don’t know, what your what your thoughts on

 

Fraser Jack 

that? No, I agree. And I think it was setting up, you know, from scratch, that’s definitely a role that, you know, I think I’ve heard it a million times the $30 an hour job versus the three hour job. Although I don’t necessarily love that analogy, but it’s certainly one of those things that you know, take, take that load off. Because when you do start up a business, you’re doing everything and not the way you can can continue.

 

Stewart Bell 

And there’s a lot of people out there who’ve had experience in managing that sort of stuff. But if you’re bringing on board, someone who doesn’t have experience, and you have to be the one to train them, and then you don’t have the systems, you don’t have all that stuff in place, and you’re also managing everything else while you’re training them. It makes it really, really hard. Whereas if you if you can hand over some of that stuff first. Yeah.

 

Fraser Jack 

And then and obviously, when you’re trying to, you know, have too many balls in the air, you tend to drop them from time to time so that they do and experience suffers then. So that’s the first three, what are the next couple,

 

Stewart Bell 

I think the probably the next one. I mean, I’m a bit of a systems dude, I’ll sit down on I like to sort of pull apart things in my head. And that’s my natural modus operandi. But I think if I, when I started my business, I definitely focused on building systems way too much. And I’ve seen it before, particularly with people who are that way inclined, though, they’ll launch their business, and they’ll spend a lot of time building systems in the back end and getting that sort of stuff, right? When really, that’s kind of that’s overkill at the beginning, I think you just need to build some get a basic workflow system, build out your most basic, you know, your processes or threads, or what you want to call them. And just focus on on, you know, keeping it really, really simple, classic example, I’ve got businesses on the program who have who have gone and they’ve taken, you know, this delivery of communications that you know, across the first 90 days, and the first year, follow up and what and they’ve totally automated it. And then there’s a podcast where I interviewed Debbie French, where she talks about the work she’d done in x plan and really enabled it, but to be honest, for every business that that does that and to be honest business to do that they have someone in the business that that is their job, or that is a big part of the job is just to maintain but if you if you don’t have that full time role, I think you’re probably better off semi automatic and recognizing that the system is there to kind of do the do the remembering to send the email and do this but the actual delivery of it at that stage. You can you can do it sort of semi manually personalized that and I think, yeah, keep it really, really simple. Have a simple workflow management, but don’t go nuts on the systems because, like for two reasons, chances are whatever you Build in the back office to your client experience, you’re gonna have to fix it, you’re gonna have to change it, it’s not going to be right, it’s going to be need to be tweaked. And secondly, as soon as you bring on next wants to people, every process you have in your business is going to break anyway. Because generally, you know what works when you got to, it just doesn’t when there’s four, and that continues all the way through. So that’s probably a good tip, keep it simple. Get the pricing right, hire someone in the background Focus, focus on the systems too much and really keep it simple. Yep. To begin with.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yeah, fantastic. Excellent. Now for practices that he mentioned that it’s great for for new business, but sometimes we’re looking at, you know, expanding or growing or, or coming off a base of, you know, having having that stuff in place in the first place. What are your thoughts on, you know, working, where clients can start? Or can they can work on I know, you talk a lot about portals and those sorts of things, what are the some of the things that can can existing businesses start to implement that, that’s great for clients,

 

Stewart Bell 

supporters are an interesting one. Because there’s a lot of great portals out there. And they do really great things. But the thing about a portal, and there’s a great book on this by Noah IRL called Hooked, which you may have read. But portal, getting people to use a pool is not about functionality. It’s about adoption. And it’s about behavior. And it’s about making something, something that they’re going to use every week or every day. And if you don’t have the ability to get people using it, it’s going to become a bit of a white elephant. There’s a lot of people, a lot of businesses out there who invest in these, because it makes sense, it’s going to change their business, but they never actually cracked the how do we get people using it? How do we use it. And that’s kind of a second part of it. If you’re launching a portal, it’s not just about the clients using it, you as a business have to make it central to your your business to like you have to communicate through it, you have to inflammation is got to come. In other words, it’s got to kind of imagine there’s two arrowheads one is clients engaging with it, one is you engaging with and the portals in the middle. And if they’re not using it, and you’re not using it, it’s just not going to work. So portals can be fantastic. And I think they will become increasingly important over the years for a whole bunch of really good reasons, including very topical ones that are flying around right now to you know what the advice document may become, which is probably going to be more of a, you know, a live dynamic dashboard, I think in time. But yeah, don’t I don’t, don’t go down at least thinking I think you’re gonna buy this tool and launch it and you know, fuel to dreamstyle, they’re going to come because that’s generally not the way it works.

 

Fraser Jack 

It’s a really interesting thing that you mentioned there regarding the book hooked and it talks, talks a lot about, you know, adults behaviors, and how adult, the adult learning and adult, what, you know, the trigger and the variable reward all those sort of things that come into that in teaching adults, you know, I love the same old dog new tricks, right? It’s the it’s the conversation of saying, how do we teach, we’ve already taught the clients, this is the way we do it. We’ve taught them that it’s that they used to that they’re there, think about whether they’ve had the that, you know, reliability behavior that we’ve presented, we’ve always done this. And now I need to teach them a new way to do something different. And so unless we’ve got a good reason why, you know, a trigger, and obviously, you know, you know, with Optus and cybersecurity, there’s probably a reason now why people want to be more safe or what it might be. And so you’ve there isn’t finding that opportunity to then present that and go, How do we now move these existing behaviors? And it’s not just clients, it’s stuff as well, because of it. Yeah, everybody’s so used to doing it that way. And then that change of behavior is a really interesting piece that and I think that

 

Stewart Bell 

I was at a golf charity that ages ago, when I was with a group of four advisors and one woman asked a really good question. He’s like, can I ask a quick question? I just problem clients keep finding my mobile and weekends, how do I how do I solve the problem? And the answer is really simple. It’s number one, stop giving clients your mobile number. And number two, for clients that have your mobile number, stop answering your mobile and weekends. I mean, if you reinforce the behavior of people will, will continue to do it. And so the classic thing is if someone phones you and leaves a message and email them back, if that’s your, or even you send a Voxer message or an audio message, then then you’re resetting it. But if you continue to operate that way, then you’re kind of the cause of the experience break down just as much as they are. Yep. And I

 

Fraser Jack 

think I think there’s also probably a little bit of process around the concept of, right, next time that happens, we’re going to do this and then we might mention it this way, and then have a little bit of a little bit of resources in the background would go. Yep, this is the this is the way we do it now. And the reason we do it is that whatever my client portals, I think you’re right are a big thing that people are moving towards moving away from sending stuff on email and keeping stuff in a portal. And to that degree, also a bit of an app or a bit of a place where clients can go and easy and nice for clients to be able to get there as well.

 

Stewart Bell 

Yeah, I mean, there’s a lot there’s some of these advice tools out there are starting to incorporate that and I think I think personally I think we’re gonna see more and more of it because from an efficiency point of view from an experience point of view from a security point of view, from my evolution to where it should be from a retention, it just makes so much sense.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yep. And now also you do a lot of work in the in the space of videos, you’ve done lots of videos, you encourage a lot of your clients to do videos. And obviously podcasts. Well, tell us a little bit why you think that adds to the client experience.

 

Stewart Bell 

So like, if, for example, if I was going to start with client experience, I usually always start with the first 90 days. First, like, okay, what are you going to do over the course of that first 90 days after? They’ve said yes, at the appointment? And what are you going to do to sort of let them know what they need to know at a certain point in time and inform them about that? Get them involved in the process, the real is not, it’s not a passive thing, but also kind of do a bit of this exciting the light stuff. And I, I’ve always found, like, I’m a terrible typist, the best of times anyway, which is why it’s a lot of dictation. But I’ve noticed that when I sit down and write an email, what comes out tends to be a lot more formal, a lot less. I mean, I’ve got better at it through the years, but most people when they’re only My dear sir, madam, I’m writing to you in relation blah, blah, blah, you get the idea. Whereas, like, when you dictate emails, you get a different thing. Yeah, I mean, there’s, there’s a lot of fluff you have to cut out, but you get something that sounds like you. But often, I’ve sat down and gone well, what would be the better experience if I sent this client an email, or if I sent them the same message, but it’s in an audio message that they can click on? Or alternatively, you know, just just talk to the camera, and every single business that has implemented it has kind of been on a how clients are going to, like receive this. But every single time they do, it changes the nature of it, because it can be highly personal. It’s you It’s your words, it’s your voice, it’s your personality, but it’s quicker, like I can pick up boxer on my phone, and I can sort of Jen, can you please shoot that through to Fraser? Hey, Fraser, it’s due here, man, I’m just sat in the office about to crack open a beer on a Friday, I thought of you because I’m and or I’m out, I’m out with the kids just watching so and so. And even though you know, you’re getting the message. But sometimes it’s that personal aspect that kind of gives people a bit of insight, insight into not everybody wants to do it. But I think sometimes it kind of opens the relationship a bit more. And it can be very, very natural. So, you know, I really think that if you’ve got the option of saying if it’s a personal email, and particularly if it’s a long email, right, if you sit down there and you go, this is way better, if I if I send it then open your box or open whatever audio app you use. Or even better, you know, if you’re comfortable whack on the old video and work on your loom or your Bon giorno, or whatever it is just sticky video and get the video out there and send it.

 

Fraser Jack 

I love it. I love it for so many reasons. Obviously, this is a podcast and you can’t see Stuart but I can and when he picked up he actually picked up his phone and demonstrated that he was using boxer. So for those that are playing along at home. I didn’t say that I wanted to add that pardon. But But definitely, definitely for me, it’s a man that use mentioned the word match, you know, the naturally human being nonverbal cues and authenticity of a few who you are as a as a human being in your rights. And every time we write things, they tend to come out. So for me because we’re trained for that way. I also have I say, here’s a here’s some times if you’re worried then that Oh, what about compliance? What about the paper trail? What about that, this and the other and the answer to that is just save the file to your file. Because Because if you ever did get checked over from a compliance power review, they look at all the different mediums inside the inside of file. So

 

Stewart Bell 

I mean, for example, with loom, actually, the tool we use search here, which is more of a membership platform ever, I can record videos, using the extension, they’ll automatically upload to the platform produces a link, but it automatically transcribes every video, and there’s so many tools out there that do that. So if you really feel the need to, you know, record everything and compliance is going on, we’ve got to have transcriptions because sometimes they do then you can go down that route, but nine times out of 10 That’s not where that’s not where compliance are coming from. They’re not trying to I unless you’ve unless I’m wrong on this, which I don’t think I am. They’re not trying to discourage any contact with the client. They’re just trying to make sure you have a record of any significant event that may be relevant to create as I think read das said to me, when we were talking about ACEs, fall mites are your records are really about creating a story of the clients experience with you. And I don’t think you know, checking your Buy Box was necessarily you know, that remit? Yes, and

 

Fraser Jack 

for those who have met red peas, a compliance auditor and and we’re more than happy to talk to you about compliance. And you just mentioned having a record and again, recording to me is a record whether it’s written or whether it’s it’s a video and I think, you know, we’ve taught it videos is certainly one of those things that we can all get better and better at and there’s lots of different ways that you can get better at videos but I don’t think you’re never going to start and this is the other thing you know, we’re going to start videos with a truly professional performance. No, you are going to start with you being realistically you and which I think is a good thing.

 

Stewart Bell 

There’s a YouTube clip my first video Did I think I was down at a, an off site in Rose Valley. And I’m literally everything wrong. I’m wearing a white t shirt. It’s a bright day, the sun’s in my eye. It’s just awful. But you know, you get started. And eventually you learn about all the things you weren’t doing right? But nine times out of 10. People don’t

 

Fraser Jack 

really care. Yep, first first video, you’ve got to have a first client meeting to at some point, then they’re not always going to get a plan. That’s true. That’s very true. Yeah, fantastic. And well, thank you for it. So So look, we’re probably going to have to stop doing it. This is on point. But if people want to do continue this conversation with you to tell us about how you work with advice firms, and what you do in that space.

 

Stewart Bell 

Okay, thank you, for brother. So I tend to work with advice firms in kind of two ways. I have a full coaching program, where I work with businesses and their teams directly. And it’s called the leverage advice fund program. And you can find out about that just by visiting our website, which is our delray.com. Today, you spell that a U D, E, R E, I also run a version of the program, which is basically has all of the elements of the full program, but it’s kind of less with the intensive coating. So it’s for firms who generally don’t see themselves as being more self directed, non Australian based, or they feel they don’t need the coaching element. And again, that’s called leverage online. And you can jump on there, check out those if you’re interested, shoot me an email. Generally, I’ll sit down with you and spend about an hour to create a high level plan. And at the end of that, if we look at it and go, Okay, there’s ROI on that. That’s when we talk about working together. I’m also, one thing I’ve literally started talking about, I’m looking to launch a three month program next year. So we’ll kick it off in about March, we’ll start marking November, but it’s focused purely on sort of taking four or five strategies out the program and working with a very small group of advisors over the course of three months to generate kind of ROI. It’s pretty early stage at the moment. But if you want to know more about that, because it’s yeah, it’s kind of a short form thing. You can just drop me an email at Stewart Ste wrt at our derek.com. Today, you and also to keep you informed. And obviously if you if you want to go over the website and subscribe to our list, we send out a communication about every, I think every fortnight where we share a blog or sort of other what we hope is high value content. So that’s probably the best way

 

Fraser Jack 

Yeah, fantastic. I love the old helpful hints and valuable content. I also love the idea that you’re designing a 90 day sprint for financial advisors. If we go back to the original conversation, we started to about that lean, lean startup methodology just, you know, 90 day sprint. For those that the methodology of 90 day sprint is it takes 90 days. Then there’s the finish line, you’ve got what you’ve got after 90 days. It’s it’s not about however long it takes to get to the finish line. It’s it’s about spendings for

 

Stewart Bell 

our plans for months, that way too long for you to break it down and it tends to produce better results as you want to.

 

Fraser Jack 

Fantastic. Stewart, thank you so much for coming on and chatting with us today. It’s part of the series, really looking forward to getting this out into the advisors hands and for them to be able to reach out to you should they want to continue this conversation. Really appreciate really appreciate it.

 

Stewart Bell 

It’s been it’s been fun. Thank you so much.

 

Fraser Jack 

Thank you

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