Guest Blog: Client Interactions Matter – They’re More Than the Annual Meeting

By Gretchen Halpin, Co-Founder of Beyond AUM

Picture this. You’re running a bit late to work, forgot your lunch on the kitchen counter, stepped in gum when you were getting in the car, and now there’s a line at the local café, but you need your coffee fix. You patiently wait, practicing deep breathing exercises as you inch closer to the front of the line. This could go one of two ways.

A) The friendly barista greets you with a warm smile. He is pleasant and efficient, making small talk and providing you with your change. Your coffee is ready within a matter of minutes and that first sip brings warmth to your stomach. This day can still be great!

B) You get to the counter to place your order and ask the barista how his morning is going. Nothing. No warmth, not even a reply. A few minutes later, your name is called and you grab your coffee. You prepare for the rich flavor on your tongue. Ew, is that soy milk? Is that even coffee? You make a mental note to find a new café and leave in a huff.

We’ve all been there. Negatively (or positively) affected by a business. And while serving coffee is quite different than guiding clients through life’s financial decisions, financial advisors can learn a thing or two from this analogy, namely that client interactions matter, and that when they go wrong, they can leave a bad taste in a client’s mouth…literally.

Far too many financial advisory firms fail to understand the importance of client interactions and their impact on firm growth. When a compelling client journey is established, financial advisors have the potential to gain clients for life, but if they are not established, advisors risk high attrition rates.

So, if you’re looking for a way to engage prospects, improve client interactions, and ultimately boost revenue, keep reading!

What is Client Interaction?

A client interaction refers to any form of communication between an advisory firm and its clients, including digital encounters such as email exchanges or client portals. These interactions should always be motivated by purpose, for example, to discuss economic outlooks, changes in marital status, or the impact of a recent relocation.

Why is Effective Client Interaction Important?

How an advisory firm interacts with its clients can make or break its long-term relationships, making prioritizing positive and efficient client interactions vital to the success of your firm. Yes, it’s important to attract new leads, but a loyal client is much more valuable — and less expensive — than a new client.

According to the White House Office of Consumer Affairs, loyal customers are on average worth up to 10 times as much as their first purchase. This is due, in part, to the fact that satisfied clients are much more likely to make referrals, which tend to be the best leads. On the flip side, when an advisory firm has failed to maintain a healthy client-advisor dynamic, its business is bound to experience some setbacks, particularly in terms of growth and stability.

Therefore, advisory firms should never underestimate the power of a client. Firms that aim to wow their clients, especially by providing them with top-notch service and valuable interaction experiences, are likely to outperform firms lacking in these areas.

How to Make Your Client Interactions Excellent

There are two key elements that play a crucial role in achieving excellent client interactions:

Approachability

How approachable are the advisors and team members who represent your business? The people who work for your firm are your front line; Their energy and attitudes set the stage. If they are warm, friendly, knowledgeable, and easily accessible, clients are more likely to reach out for help and guidance, which will ultimately allow them to better realize the value in your services.

Trustworthiness

When a prospect decides to work with your firm, they place their complete trust in you. When it comes to client interactions, trustworthiness is less about the service itself and more about the level of care, attentiveness, and transparency your client receives from your financial advisory firm. It’s important for your team to convey honest and timely answers to client questions and instill faith that they will always be available to provide help and support.

Of course, it probably won’t be possible to keep your phone on or check your email 24/7, but letting clients know that they are welcome to reach out at any time, for any reason, and reliably getting back to them in a timely fashion can leave a lasting impact. The key here is setting expectations and living up to them.
Clients trust firms to provide support for them during every step of the client journey. But when this support is missing, clients are more likely to lose trust in the firm and abandon it for one that provides better, more trustworthy, and more transparent client interactions.

Final Thoughts

Creating an approachable and trustworthy client journey can significantly improve client interactions, while neglecting to do so can damage a firm beyond repair. By maintaining steady and reliable client interactions, acting with empathy, meeting your clients where they are, and being transparent and communicative, you have the opportunity to create a happy client base, build strong referral relationships and ultimately to generate higher growth and profits.

Looking for creative and effective ways to interact with your clients? Beyond AUM can help! Reach out to their team.

Beyond AUM is a growth, experience, and technology agency that specializes in serving financial advisory firms.

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