Times have changed. In some cases, the changes are obvious. Other changes are more subtle but no less far-reaching in their impact on the profession and on your practice. These changes reflect the collision of trends, some building over time and others brought on suddenly by Covid, but all converging to create a radical rethinking of the client experience.
Client experience, or CX, is the sum of every interaction someone has with your firm through every stage of the prospect-to-client lifecycle.
In 2020, Covid-19 forced both businesses and consumers to go digital, immediately. Suddenly, services once reserved for the high-net-worth population could be profitably delivered to nearly every segment of the population. Meanwhile, consumers were experiencing the “Amazon Effect,” where they expect specialized services, personally curated into an easy, efficient experience available at the touch of their fingertips.
I gave the closing keynote at the InvestmentNews Women’s Adviser Summit earlier this month, sharing how these trends are influencing rapid changes in client expectations. It’s time to radically rethink your client experience. It’s time to engage and service clients with a CX built for modern times.
Here are three quick insights you can build on to upgrade your CX:
• Differentiation. We’re moving into an economy driven by experience, but short on attention. Your next CX begins with a differentiated brand (specific audience, approach, outcome or specialty), and your website, marketing messages and personal interactions should all be designed to convey this value in a clear, concise and compelling way that cuts through the background noise.
• Specialization. The CX of the future is designed to deliver new levels of specialized services in a systematic way, freeing up time for the adviser to focus on delivering personal advice to clients. Think of this hyper-specialized approach like a wedding cake. The bottom tier represents the standard services that all clients get. The next tier delivers specialized services that address a deeper level of client needs, wants and preferences. The top tier of the cake is reserved for the personal engagement, where adviser time has the greatest impact and value.
Studies show that clients across all demographics are increasingly interested in conversations that go beyond their finances. Discussing services like Greenlight cards for teens and Evercare for clients with aging parents, or addressing nonfinancial topics, such as longevity, health, relationships and purpose, are all being integrated into specialized service models.
• Digitalization. Topics that once were crammed into in-person meetings can now be talked about throughout the year on a monthly or quarterly service cycle, providing specialized and personalized content in a systematic way while focusing in-person meeting time on specialized needs and personalized advice. These firms are not losing to technology; they are leveraging it to deliver deeper value and drive growth in far less time.
If these seem like pie-in-the-sky insights that have no real relevance to your practice, think again. While advisory firms haven’t seen significant fee compression as once predicted, we are seeing very real service inflation. As competition and complexity continue to climb, firms will need to provide more services (and more specialized and personal ones) just to keep up. Firms not leveraging these insights will find themselves hiring more staff while watching their margins decline.
Advisers who recognize these trends and respond with the future in mind are seeing higher growth, revenue, income, time off and satisfaction than their peers. Advisers like Adam and Tanya.
Adam applied these lessons and went from frustrated-and-failing to 3x growth in just over three years. He differentiated his practice by narrowing his niche to optometrists who were earning seven figures in revenue and within five years of selling their practices. He updated his messaging and prospecting to focus on the differentiated value he could deliver, designed a specialized service model, integrated it into his technology with 80-plus workflows and raised his fees to reflect the deeper value he’s adding.
Adam’s firm delivers value-adds to clients monthly while maintaining a 40% growth rate and scaling the delivery of his hyper-specialized service model in a hyper-efficient way.
Tanya left a toxic firm to tart her own. She used these same lessons to grow her revenue 30% per year and triple her earnings, all while reducing her hours from 50 hours a week to 30. She now takes every Friday off to laugh with her kids.
The role of client experience is rapidly rising in importance. What was once a discussion of productive in-person meetings and how fast you responded to phone calls has blossomed into a holistic, integrated experience that touches every facet of your firm. This is a brave new world, one that’s radically reshaping the client experience in ways that — if you embrace the rise of digital CX — can reshape your firm and future for the better.
Stephanie Bogan is CEO and chief possibility officer of Limitless Adviser Coaching. Learn more about building a happy, high-performing business at limitlessFA.life.
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Andrew is half-human, half-gamer. He’s also a science fiction author writing for BleeBot.