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Deeper Client Relationships at Scale #2 – Nicole Stuart – Transcript

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Deeper Client Relationships at Scale

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SUMMARY KEYWORDS

clients, business, processes, advisor, appointment, book, people, bit, prosperity, offices, guess, staff members, compliance, king, newsletters, systems, change, demographic, meeting, utilized

SPEAKERS

Nicole Stuart, Fraser Jack

 

Fraser Jack 

Welcome to the x y advisor podcast, a global community of financial advisors sharing and learning with one another to drive the positive evolution of financial advice. To get involved, go to x y advisor.com. Or simply download the x y advisor. This series deeper client relationships at scale is brought to you by my prosperity, the all in one client portal and app designed to enhance your practice efficiencies, promote your digital brand and grow your revenue. You can book a demo directly from the website, go to my prosperity.com.au Welcome back to the x y advisor podcast where we are recording a special episode or special series on the deeper client relationships at scale and talking to all sorts of people around the industry from from from planners to practice managers about how they’re really looking after the client experience and developing those deeper relationships with clients. And of course, at scale or just the the hard part. So today are welcome, Nicole. Hello. Thank you. No, thank you for coming now. Nicole Stewart, you’re from King Financial Group. Welcome to the podcast. I want to give the listeners a quick overview of you and just the business that you were working at.

 

Nicole Stuart 

Yeah, sure. So my current role is National client compliance manager with King Financial Group. I’ve been there about eight years now. However, my role has evolved over over those eight years. I guess my background is, you know, I started off working as a bank teller in a bank and work then moved into working in the investment banking side of things for ANZ stock broking back in the back in the day, then moved into paraplanning and did some advising for a little while before I had children. And then after I had children, I went back to paraplanning. Cuz it was sort of easier to do part time. And that’s where I landed back in landed in King Financial Group and have been there ever since. My role has evolved there, through from paraplanning through to compliance when we had our own afsl. And then that’s evolved as being part of that leadership team, with King Financial Group and guiding the business through, you know, various strategic initiatives, as well as the compliance and client experience systems and processes side of things as well.

 

Fraser Jack 

Fantastic. Those are all things we want to touch on today. Great. And Excellent. So you went to King Financial Group. Now tell us a little bit about King because they’re, they’ve obviously got offices in three different main cities.

 

Nicole Stuart 

Yes. So we have Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane offices. And it was originally a business that was main, as you know, main office was in Melbourne. But over the years, the owner Barry King purchased additional businesses in the Sydney office and the Brisbane office. They were existing businesses there. So there was sort of integrated into the whole King Financial Group spectrum. It over the years, we’ve worked really, really hard to, you know, develop our culture and change the culture, and open up the lines of communication between all the states so that, you know, we’re we’re doing the same system, you know, we’re using the same systems, we’re using the same processes, and we’re providing our clients with the same experience across the board, which is very challenging. However, we’ve taken our advisors and our staff on a journey over the over a number of years now to continuously work on that. And it is a continuous journey to work on that side of things. So

 

Fraser Jack 

yes, not only it’s not an easy thing, if if somebody is contemplating purchasing a business in a different state and opening a new offices, it’s a very difficult thing to try and then bring in systems and processes with people that that aren’t around. And then and then try and get that culture. Yeah, similar.

 

Nicole Stuart 

Yeah. And look, we’ve done that, especially over more recent years where zoom and you know, technology in general has evolved. It’s allowed us to have better communication with all the states. And so you know, we can have meetings now where everyone’s in the room and we can all hang shit on each other and you know, have a good laugh and that that helps, you know.

 

Fraser Jack  

So were you were you there during the the purchase and takeovers.

 

Nicole Stuart 

So not the first to have we have purchased other businesses in the meantime. So we’re constantly sort of looking for business opportunities to buy and grow the business. We’ve got ones going through soon and yes, I have been involved in transition of businesses into qingzi.

 

Fraser Jack 

So I’d like to just dive into the integration part because that’s, that’s a path that can be very difficult in many ways. There’s obviously 1000 different moving parts with that. And I’m also thinking that sometimes you buy a business, and there’s really good systems and processes in there that you want to implement the other way as well. How do you go about looking through that? And then working out what you’re going to do? Yeah, well, I guess it’s,

 

Nicole Stuart 

there’s an assessment process, first of all, looking at, you know, what systems that they do have, what we, you know, what we already share, as in business, you know, as a business, then looking at the cost structure of those platforms that are being used across the two businesses. And then, you know, making an assessment from there, what is going to be in the best interest of the business, what’s going to work the best. We had one A number of years ago, actually, where by we were primarily Yeah, we were using x plane, they used work sorted for part of their business. And I had a look at work sorted at the time, and yet found didn’t assessment, and we actually moved across to work sorted as a business. So it totally changed the way that we did our business by taking on board what the other business utilized in their practice, for the day to day systems and processes and implemented in an hours. And I guess, part of that journey, when when you’re going through that process is getting your team members on board with those changes. Because no one not everyone loves changes. And it means changing the way that you do things. And you know, we all get stuck in our ways of doing things. But when you can show the benefits of moving to the new system, and how that’s going to benefit them and their day to day, you know, workings and how they run their own business, like because we sort of, you know, each advisor, you know, sort of running their own business or in Book of clients and servicing them, then it was a very easy transition, I guess for us. Yep, there are other

 

Fraser Jack 

systems, and you’re looking at the systems and processes, and then also considering the staff, the change has to go on with staff. Now, when it comes to the clients, though, in the change management that helps, obviously has to go with the clients and with the with the building of new relationships with the clients, do you have a process or a plan in place to sort of set out how we’re going to now engage these clients and introduce them to the new business and develop those deeper relationships with them?

 

Nicole Stuart 

Yeah, so I guess over a period of 12 months, we have the, you know, previous owner still in the business, so that there is that warm handover to the new advisor that will be looking after the client. And that gives the client that confidence that, okay, such and such, you know, john smith, he obviously feels comfortable handing over me to this new advisor, because he’s exiting the business or the industry or whatever it may be. And they build that sort of trust there with the new advisor as well, along with the existing adviser. And then what we do is we really have a close relationship with those clients, especially over those first 12 months, keeping in regular contact with them, so that they would they know that we are there. And, you know, educating them along the way of the way that we do things to make that transition as smooth as smooth as possible.

 

Fraser Jack 

Because I would imagine there’s quite a bit of transition that goes to go in the clients mind as well, you know, there’s the the warm relationship hand over whether the the existing advisor might say, Well, look, I’m retiring, and, you know, this is the new people in a look after you and etc, that that they’ve, they’ve got a good story to talk to the client about I guess, some of the instances, I guess, maybe you, you know, you really got to get on the front foot, don’t you and sort of get involved with those clients in a big way. Probably a lot easier to do for some of the larger clients, when you can spend a lot more time. Is there anything that you can do for the smaller clients? Do you do anything? Or clients when you’re dealing with a lot of clients sort of at scale or at Mass? with just the regular communications or you know, getting them to know like, and trust your new business?

 

Nicole Stuart 

Yeah, so um, we Yeah, obviously, that regular contact, we send out regular emails to those clients. We also have our newsletters that we sign clients up to, if that is something that they’re interested in, if they opt in for it. And in those newsletters, especially in that first 12 months, we do sort of like around the grounds, introducing the staff members and in a bit about them, you know, getting that personal connection to the staff members. It’s it’s not a face, it’s a person and here’s a bit about them. And I feel that that’s a really important component of creating that, you know, that deeper connection to the business and staff members. I know that you know, When I’m going to, you know, a new business, something I want to know who I’m dealing with, I want to know a bit about them. And that makes me feel closer to them as a business, if they don’t have any of that information on their website or whatever. I’m like, Oh, I’m not really sure. It’s really weird. The way the mind works sometimes, maybe that’s, but I do feel inside, that’s something that we’ve really pushed and promoted in our business is, you know, getting that connection to each of the staff members on an individual level on a personal level.

 

Fraser Jack 

And do you do that with a, let’s say, a PDF for introduction, or someone that or is there a video involved? Or what sort of Yeah, I haven’t we haven’t gotten?

 

Nicole Stuart 

Yeah, well, we do have a, what do we call, we call it in house, we call it our who’s who in the zoo, which were the zoo, obviously, because there’s the number of officers and people in the business. And we have, you know, just a one sheet paper piece of paper that has a picture of all the staff members in their roles and in each of the offices, so that they know that we’re not just the one office that we have all these other people that support, you know, us as well. So there’s that side of it. And then there’s the the newsletter that we send out on a regular basis that has those touch points, as well. And the advisors also contribute some articles to those newsletters when they can. And then, you know, all of the communication that we send out to our clients, as well via email has a team photo down the bottom of you know, we sign off, you know, the kfg, team, Melbourne, Brisbane, New South Wales, you know, Sydney, whatever it is, so that they’re constantly being reminded of who we are, and our names and things like that as well. Yeah, fantastic. So

 

Fraser Jack 

the team sort of, it’s prioritizing the fact that people can have a relationship with the team or they become part of the team, I guess. Absolutely. Yeah. Now, when when you talk to you, despite this before about the concept of emulating people know, how you do things that you know, and obviously, the every time you take over a new book, it’s introducing people to a new way of doing things? How do you sort of explain sort of what your new system or process or the way that you do things, there are two new client?

 

Nicole Stuart 

Yeah, so that would happen in the client appointment or the client meeting, we would go through a bit of that process, just on verbally. And then, depending on the demographic of the client, like with a recent book that we took over, it was more retirees and the Aged Care space, sort of demographic. And so they required a lot more hand holding than, say, your mums and dads who are a bit more technology and change, you know, that they accept that a little bit more easily. And so there was the client appointments, obviously, our regular communication, and also our C essays, or our client service administrators spent a lot of time with those clients, educating them on, you know, how things worked at Kings, and that we’re here to support them and help them through that change. And yet, we we did a fantastic job. Well, the team did a fantastic job at retaining those clients and educating them and reassuring them and giving them that confidence that although there’s been a big change, and who’s looking after them, we’re still here for them. Whatever they need,

 

Fraser Jack 

yes, a very big focus on the client experience in the client. You know, how they feeling and thinking and feeling at the time? Do you have many different books, when you bring them in? They look after different demographics, we do tend to try and get them in the in the similar?

 

Nicole Stuart 

Well, yeah, no, we do have different books with different different demographics. It’s funny, in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, we all have, you know, similar books, but you would say that there’s demographics that feature more than more than others. So Melbourne, we’ve probably got more of the retirees and aged care, you know, focus down there, you know, Sydney’s probably your higher net worth, you know, client clientele along with some retirees. in Brisbane, there’s probably a bit of a mixture of all three. So when we’re looking at books, it’s really whether the client, the client book is going to fit into our business and what it’s what we’re looking for, you know, what opportunities are there? What’s the life expectancy of those of those clients as well? Because obviously, if you’ve got an aging client client book, you know, depending on the price, it may not be the best best purchase, and how we can what we can, how we can I guess, what benefits we can provide to those clients to enhance their their experience overall, dealing with a financial planner? So yeah, there’s a number of factors are taken into consideration when we’re looking at different books to purchase. But we’re not folk, we generally don’t focus just on one particular demographic.

 

Fraser Jack  

And so now I see your role sort of breaks up into sort of three main main considerations that you obviously have to put into everything that you do. Obviously, we sort of talked about the climax. Baron said sort of a big guy that sort of leads the way. But you’re also making sure that come from a compliance point of view every with all the advices, you know, compliant, and everything’s working structurally correctly. And then you’re also trying to make sure that there’s efficiencies in place, you know, with technology and staff and all those sort of the things with communication. So how do you sort of balance those three,

 

Nicole Stuart 

it’s difficult at times, it’s a bit of a seesaw, you know, at the moment, you know, focusing on, you know, the client experiencing and getting the revenue in before the end of June 30. But also, making sure the compliance side of things is probably just a continuous roundabout really. And, for me, I believe that if you have good processes in place, and checklists, that, you know, people can make sure that they’re ticking off all the boxes that they need to have done. And as long as you’ve got your team following those processes, then you should be pretty bright in terms of, you know, meeting all the compliance requirements. Over the years, you know, our team has, you know, done a lot of work in the term and in terms of processes and making sure that we’re compliant. You know, I think, generally, advisors want to do the right thing, by clients and do the right thing by in terms of compliance as well. So it’s just that we live in such a regulated in, you know, industry now, that, you know, sometimes it’s hard to make sure that you’re ticking off all the boxes, because you think you’re doing the right thing, but then you know, something else comes in and you might miss it or so it is a constant guest review of those processes and making sure that you’ve got all your checklists up to date with what is needed, from a compliance perspective, what were the other things, the processes and processes are always being reviewed in our business? Again, you know, we want to make sure that a the clients experience is awesome, we want to make sure that the efficiencies are there. And I believe, as the industry becomes more digitally, you know, focused that, and we need to be because of the compliance side of things. And, you know, a lot of businesses that I talked to compliance is is a huge burden on the financial planning industry. So we need to find better ways to optimize our processes and systems so that we are spending less time in that in that space. So that’s where, you know, we use different programs to do that, you know, booking appointments online, you know, my prosperity for clients, you know, automated automated emails and things like that, reminding clients to book their review appointments, or, you know, whatever it may be, we try to automate whatever we can. And that also then reduces the load on our client service administrators as well from having to do too much manual manual work as well. So it is it is a constant, sort of revolving door there, I guess. It is hard to balance. But I like a challenge.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yeah, there’s definitely you can be at time, the efficiencies conversation is definitely we always sort of think about technology, I think about in two ways technology and staff, you know, they’ve staff, we’ve got really good systems and processes in place, and that can be efficient, as well as the use of technology. Now, you mentioned a few let’s, let’s start from the top, sort of, let’s go through a client experience, if you like, or maybe a new client experience some or review client experience, or whatever they might be. What sort of technology are you using in the space? You just mentioned online booking that start that sort of start the automation? Yeah,

 

Nicole Stuart 

yeah. So So yeah, so we’re Yeah, so we use works ordered is our main CRM, and through that, I can set up automated emails to clients on a monthly basis when they reviews a Jew, and that invites them to book their appointment online. And I’ve set up calendly for our advisors. And which is you know, automatically linked to their diaries, etc. And you can customize calendly to be available for whatever appointments you want and everything so it’s really flexible like that. And then that allows the client to go into that book online booking, find a time that they want to book just like you do for your hairdresser appointment or or even medical appointment these days. So, so once a client chooses a time calendly then has a back end workflow that you can set up, it then sends a confirmation email to the client confirming their appointment. It has links to where fsgs and it gives them a bit of you know, details about you know, where offices and things like that. And then 24 hours before the appointment calendly automatically sends those clients a reminder email saying hey, you’ve got an appointment tomorrow, can’t wait to see you, yada yada whatever it is.

 

 

And then

 

Fraser Jack 

just just on that, is that mostly for online appointments? Or is that for a mix of they can choose an online or an in person? Yeah,

 

Nicole Stuart 

yep. They can choose telephone in person or zoom appointment. And, yeah, just on that calendly, which I’m sure a lot of booking online booking things do allow you to do that we can we’ve linked our zoom account to our calendly account so that if a client chooses a zoom appointment automatically sends them the zoom link. So again, it’s just sort of removing some manual steps that the CSRS would otherwise have to do by having that automated.

 

Fraser Jack 

And just on your zoom, do you? Do you have different accounts for each planet?

 

Nicole Stuart 

We don’t have different accounts for each planet at the moment, we just have a couple of accounts for each state.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yeah. And so does it send a different ID number, I guess, per each meeting, so they have security purposes? Or how does that work? Yes,

 

Nicole Stuart 

yep, sends us different ID meeting, Id meeting code and also a passcode for the client to put in for the privacy and security piece. Yeah,

 

Fraser Jack 

yep. Nice. And you mentioned my prosperity, how are you using them,

 

Nicole Stuart 

yet my prosperity. So obviously, good ol COVID. as painful as it is, and was and is still a little bit, it’s really provided us with an opportunity to utilize my prosperity, which we’ve had in our business for a number of years now. But haven’t utilized to its full potential. But in terms of digital signing, it’s amazing, amazing for that. And even so you can task things to your clients. Ask them to sign something. And you know, we’re all busy. We’re busy people and doing something on your phone these days, almost seems, you know, seems it’s so easy these days in comparison to what it used to be. I

 

Fraser Jack 

can’t stand when people say to me, can you print that off and sign it and send it back tonight? No, I don’t, I don’t want to do that I want to print.

 

 

Print anyway. Oh, actually,

 

Nicole Stuart 

we’re having we’re having a giggle the other day. So like, remember, when we had to fax everything. When somebody says on I’m sorry, you can only send us effects of that. And you’ll have a fax machine. Anyway, times change, which is which is good. And, yeah, so in the digital allows you and it also if the client doesn’t sign up with, say, within three days, then it sends them a reminder to do it. And it’s just a more quick, efficient way of doing it. And having that, I guess, communication with the clients as well. Unfortunately, Australia Post isn’t as reliable as what it once used to be in terms of just everyday mail. So having that online, instantaneous communication with the clients is awesome. You can also upload, you know, their advice documents, and everything is there as well. So then they’re not being sent all this paper as well. They can just read it on their phone, or they can read it on their desktop at home, as well. And the other thing that we use there as well is our clients managing their cash flow every day cash flow and budgeting for clients that are wanting assistance with that, which is pretty much what all of us that’s that’s used utilized for that as well.

 

 

Yes, some clients have that. Yeah,

 

Fraser Jack 

I think every conversation with the client starts with the positive or negative cash flow, doesn’t it? Yeah, yeah. Well, how many afterpay? transactions have you got on your account? As a company? 00? Let’s close mine down to Yes, I refuse to open one. But But you know, certainly right. When it comes to clients, it’s become one of those things as very heavily marketed to them. And so very easy to pick up. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So you’re using that, as your client portal in your app. And in your, your, your, I guess your lead when it comes to the, you know, the client experience?

 

Nicole Stuart 

Yeah, well, also through my prosperity. So we have the ability to set up regular reports on a monthly basis that gets sent to a client or on a quarterly basis, how whatever sort of, you know, frequency you choose. And that, again, is and you know, that’s got our cover page on it. And it’s all very keen ized. And so I guess that’s another touch point. For our clients, they’re receiving that from us in an email, with some reports on you know, how their budgeting is going or how their cash flow is going, what their assets and liabilities are looking like. And that said, that’s just another another touch point there that they get. We’re also in the process of developing our own app with my prosperity so that when the clients you know, come in to do that, they’ll download the king app instead of just a blanket generic my prosperity one. And we’ll be able to, you know, clients will be able to book appointments through there and all sorts of things. So that’s very exciting for us as well.

 

Fraser Jack 

Fantastic. And so, so that’s all that’s all on its way. So you’re using work sort of as your CRM, or were you using anything else for the modeling or anything like that? Yeah, so

 

Nicole Stuart 

we have Yeah, so it’s work sorted is our main CRM and we still have I’m explain on the side, we have a couple of licenses that look after the modeling and production of advice documents.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yep. Okay. Yeah. And that power plan is using that.

 

Nicole Stuart 

Yeah. So we outsource our our advice documents to power planners, yet outsourced power planners, and they you they just log into our system and utilize that.

 

Fraser Jack 

Okay, so you’re never sort of efficiency mechanism by outsourcing that part of the process?

 

Nicole Stuart 

Absolutely. Yeah. As a small business. We it’s it’s not cost effective for us to have it in house. Unfortunately, as much as we would love to do that. It’s just much more cost effective for us to outsource that.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yeah. Yeah, fantastic. So very, very well. Everything seems to be thought about and worked through and systemized. And in the process going through like, I guess that’s exactly why you’re, you’re here to have the conversation about it. If we go back to the client experience, have you had much, much feedback from the clients regarding the the technology that you’re using?

 

Nicole Stuart 

Look, it’s it’s the book, online booking has only been a recent introduction, we’ve had some clients that have taken it up, like, you know, straight away, no problem. And then there’s, and it’s a change. So, you know, they’re like, oh, not really sure. And so then they give us a call. And then that’s when scsa sort of explained, you know, the change, and we can sort of help them through that educate, provide a bit of education, we’ll be sending out some, you know, how to videos to our clients, as well and sort of talk about, you know, why we’ve gone down this route, you know, I think sometimes explaining the why your, you know, change the process and why it’s changing and how it’s going to benefit them, and how it’s going to help us as well, helps them to get on board as well. So it’s the same with any changes that you make in your team, you want to sort of get the buy in from whoever you’re dealing with, to make it a successful transition. So, and yeah, so we’re still transitioning, I would say, we’ve got some clients that are easily taking it up, and others that, you know, we’re still educating through the process. Yeah,

 

Fraser Jack 

I think there’s plenty of learned behaviors that we’ve taught people in the past that this is the way we do it. And we need to show them the new way of doing it and allow them to gently come across, I think that will certainly happen very, you know, fairly quickly, but certainly over over a period of time. Tell us about the future, what, what is the future hold for King

 

Nicole Stuart 

kings is looking to grow as a business across all three states. So we are looking to, you know, grow the number of clients that we have on our books, we pretty much provide advice in all areas. Now. So we add in all of our states, we’re developing our aged care advice, area, as well, so that we can service that part of the industry. And yeah, just continuing to optimize the service that we provide to our clients. And, you know, developing our culture to be an awesome one. I mean, we have got an awesome culture, most of our staff have been with us for a number of years, it’s unusual for us to have somebody that hasn’t been there at least a few, you know, three years or so. which is I think a good thing means we’ve got that consistency in staff members that our clients get to deal with as well. And yeah,

 

 

I don’t really know, I

 

Nicole Stuart 

haven’t I mean, I have thought about it. But yeah.

 

Fraser Jack 

So so growing, growing with acquisition as well, or just sort of growing mostly with alternative offers for existing clients.

 

Nicole Stuart 

Yeah, no, probably both, actually. So we’re looking to acquire, and also, our advisors also looking to build their businesses to a level that allows them a bit more flexibility in what they do on a, on a day to day, you know, a bit more, they can choose not pick and choose clients. But you know, they’re sort of narrowing down who they’re dealing with and creating that ideal client, you know, profile for themselves.

 

Fraser Jack 

Fantastic, and fantastic. So if somebody wants to get hold of you and speak to you or checkout kings, what’s the best way for them to do that? Yeah, sure, they

 

Nicole Stuart 

can go to our website, which is www.kf group.com.au. Our contact details are on there. I’m loading located in sunny Queensland. But you can get to me through any of the offices. Otherwise, feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn and send me a message and I’d be happy to have a chat.

 

Fraser Jack 

Fantastic. Nicole, thank you so much for coming on and chatting to us about the business. All things from compliance to client experience to efficiencies and technology, really appreciate it. And talking about of course, and focusing on deeper, having deeper client relationships at scale. Thank you

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