Many financial advisors have a passion for their clients that’s unparalleled in other industries. They genuinely want to see their clients succeed, both in their financial and personal lives. They want to see their clients thrive and grow their wealth for generations to come.
Advisors know the importance of providing their clients with life-changing financial guidance, but they’re falling short in another equally important area: client experience.
In the world of financial planning, client experience often falls by the wayside. This, in large part, is through no fault of an advisor themselves. Growing a financial planning practice is tough. There are so many different aspects of running your business that require your immediate attention that as you start to scale it’s easy to miss small details.
The client experience you provide can make or break your business. So how do you ensure that you’re creating a compelling experience for each of your clients? And can you do it while running and growing your financial planning practice?
Why Is Client Experience Important
Before we can talk about the how of a compelling client experience, we need to talk about two things:
- What a client experience is (and what it isn’t).
- Why client experience is one of the most important pieces of your financial planning practice.
Advisors often fall into the trap of thinking that the financial advice and management they provide clients is the client experience. If they’re knocking it out of the park, saving clients money, helping them achieve goals, and growing generational wealth – they think they’ve checked the “client experience” box.
It’s true that the services you provide are part of your client’s experience. However, there’s more to it than that. Your client experience covers how clients and prospects perceive your brand, whether they’re satisfied with the services you provide, and how they feel while working with you.
You build a compelling client experience from the moment they discover you and your business. Your website, contact forms or appointment scheduling system, communication, internet presence, and processes all play a role in building an exceptional client experience.
So, why is it important?
At a basic level, we all understand that client experience is critical to running a successful business. For financial planners, this is especially true. Here are a few things that having an exceptional client experience can do for you:
- It builds trust with clients
- It acts as a form of marketing
- It allows you (and your clients) to shine a light on your skills as a financial planner rather than getting caught in mistakes that don’t relate to your value proposition
The experience you provide your clients is the foundation of everything else you do. If you build your business on a flawed foundation, it won’t matter if the financial planning services you provide are off the charts – the business won’t reach its full potential. Let’s go over the three simplest ways that you can make sure your practice provides an incredible experience to each of your clients.
Focus on the Details
When your financial planning practice starts to grow, details often slip through the cracks. You might forget personal information about a client that could strengthen your connection. Maybe your communication lapses during a particularly busy week. Missing a detail, no matter how small, will paint your business in a negative light.
Luckily, there are a few ways you can make sure that details remain a priority in your practice. First, stop trying to go it alone. If you’re a solo shop, it’s tempting to keep doing everything yourself. As you scale, this becomes increasingly more difficult. Instead, try outsourcing. This might mean hiring a virtual assistant who can perfect your social media presence, email communication, and processes. It might mean finding a paraplanner who can help you build financial plans while you focus on client-facing work. Find tasks that are weighing you down, and outsource them.
Make Things Easy
Clients don’t want to jump through hoops – ever. When you build your financial planning practice, every process that requires a client to take action should be easy. A few things to simplify include:
- How clients contact you. Set up a scheduler on your website so they can book an appointment immediately rather than having to fill out a contact form or contact you directly.
- How you onboard clients. Client onboarding is one of the easiest areas to overcomplicate things for your new clients. Work to simplify this process, and make it easy for clients to provide you their information, and get the financial plan they’re looking for. If you haven’t downloaded our free client onboarding toolkit yet, head over here to get your copy. It contains a simple process flowchart, a step-by-step onboarding procedure template, and more.
- How clients get you their information. It seems like every software and technology we use in financial planning requires a separate login. When possible, try to eliminate some of these for your clients. The fewer logins they have to remember, the more likely they’ll get you what you need.
Consistency is Key
As financial planners, we get caught up in the myth that providing a completely unique experience to each client needs to include unique processes, communication, and more. This is a recipe for disaster. Although some personalization can come in handy, clients don’t want to be surprised when they work with you. They want to know what to expect, and that they can count on you to deliver.
This is where building out processes with client onboarding, appointment scheduling, CRM use, and billing is important. When you create simple, repeatable processes, your clients will always feel comfortable and know what to expect when they work with you.
Build Something You Can Be Proud Of
Advisors often define what a compelling client experience means for their practice differently, and that’s okay. The experience you create is going to be uniquely your own, because it reflects who you are as an advisor and what your practice stands for. If you’re ever doubting the experience you provide, don’t be afraid to make changes. This is your business, and you deserve to feel proud of the experience you’re single-handedly creating for your clients.