Learning to determine your customer service blind spots is an important component of financial services training. Accenture's 2011 Global Consumer Research Study unveiled the fraught consumer-provider relationship: While people often express satisfaction with the companies they patronize, they feel less loyalty than they did in 2010, due in part to low engagement. As a result, they are more likely to bounce between providers and regularly evaluate all their options. On the service provider side, many businesses are unaware of the effects their actions had on their clients.
The researchers uncovered five main customer engagement points that could be deciding factors in whether a client stays with a provider or seeks out a different company.
In order to achieve sustained growth, your firm needs to engage its clients. Satisfaction with the service is not enough, Accenture found, and companies need to focus on building loyalty if they want to keep their customers' eyes from wandering. Continuing to meet their rising expectations should also be a primary focus for businesses, and 31 percent of responding consumers in mature markets and 59 percent of those in emerging markets reported having increased expectations in the past year. Simple things such as cutting down the time a client spends waiting on hold will keep a client satisfied, but it will not engage them - which is the most important factor in retaining your customers, the researchers said.
According to Accenture, the five blind spots are: setting expectations at the beginning of the relationship; catching changes in the client's need to be recognized, rewarded and treated specially; watching for signs of a customer's "cheating heart;" listening; and giving a client the chance to engage with the provider.
Do you have a process in your firm for identifying customer service strengths and weak spots? Is there a metric you use for measuring the company's performance when it comes to addressing client complaints?
Take a moment to reassess the relationship you have with the client and how you are addressing each of your common interests. Results (or substantive interests) address the objective outcomes of an investment or other service, while the process (or procedural interest) concerns your engagement and involvement of the client through the creation and execution of the plan. The emotional (or psychological interest) requires you as the financial advisor to focus on how the client is reacting to the strategy and whether they are getting what they want out of the business relationship.