The success of a financial advisor is the ability to attract, understand and satisfy the unique needs of the client. The most satisfied clients are said to be the best for any business, including the independent financial advisor. Satisfied clients tend to be loyal and will, most likely, pass your name on as a referral to family and friends.
Do you know how satisfied your clients really are, or how loyal they are?
Customer loyalty is the key to profitability. According to experts, the secret to customer loyalty lies in putting the interests of the client first. One of the best measures to find out just how satisfied and loyal clients are is by implementing a client satisfaction survey. Your business can improve two-fold by engaging your clients and focusing on certain aspects of your client relationships. Plus, a client satisfaction survey is a great tool to drive communication between you and your clients.
Proactive financial advisors will conduct client satisfaction surveys on a regular basis – once or twice a year – to gain a better understanding of where they should focus their customer satisfaction efforts, and how to follow through. Being consistent about soliciting and analyzing feedback is crucial if you want to deliver great results.
Never assume that a loyal client is fully satisfied. Knowing what your customers truly think is critical to your business. As a business owner and financial professional, you need to discover and understand how clients feel about their experience dealing with you, your staff and your company. Doing so helps you to understand if there are any concerns that need to be addressed. By identifying the needs, wants and expectations of your clients, you are able to maximize customer satisfaction and retention.
There are many ways to implement a customer satisfaction survey – online surveys using an online survey company like Survey Monkey or an online market research company like Elite Research Solutions, in-person focus groups, phone interview, mail and email. No matter the method you use, it all starts with planning. To begin, you need to identify the goals of the survey. The key is to be specific about the feedback you want to receive. This involves identifying the target group – new clients, long-standing clients, etc. – to be surveyed, the indexes that should be measured, the measurement of customer satisfaction, and the interpretation of the results and how you will use the results.
Asking the right questions is paramount. You will want to learn what your clients think of your professional services and what they expect to get from you, as well as get feedback and performance ratings on the products you offer and what they would like to see offered. Surveys – whether online or on the phone – should include comment, multiple choice and numeric scales which customers can use to describe your company, services and products; surveys should also determine customers’ expectations.
Be specific in your questions, but keep them simple. You don’t want the user to have to reread the question several times before answering. Ask questions like, “Am I providing you with the service you expect?” with a “yes” or “no” option. But to get even richer data, try asking a “how” question, such as, “How am I providing, or not providing, you with the service you expect?” This will give you a better idea of where your customer service needs are.
Once the survey has been completed and analyzed, the next step is what you do with the answers. Proactive financial advisors will act on the information, correcting the things customers may have complained about, researching new products they may have mentioned and incorporating suggestions in the day-to-day practice.
Most importantly, you need to give your clients feedback that their answers were appreciated and are being acted upon. That feedback can be individual responses to the customers or it can simply be fixing the things that they tell you need to be fixed.
Surveying your clients regularly and in a variety of ways is a critical part of running a successful business. When you accept both praise and constructive criticism, you can build invaluable loyalty that can create buzz around your business and bring in highly qualified referrals.