A company that strives to build a world-class service culture will make every effort to develop service standards that surround exceptional service for every customer, all the time. Now, this does not mean every customer should get the same service. True service excellence requires personalization and making each customer feel as though there is no one else more important in that instance.
Something wonderful happens when a client or prospective client receives personalized service from you or someone in your business. That prospect or client is no longer a nameless number, but rather an important person to you.
Creating a personal concierge concept – like those found in exclusive hotels or luxury brands that cater to VIPs – allows you to set yourself apart from other advisers.
“Using customers’ names and learning their preferences are two ways to accomplish personalized service. For example, imagine how different it feels to call a generic phone number and get a receptionist whose job is to route calls and take messages versus calling your very own ‘personal concierge’, whose goal is to make sure you’re promptly taken care of. Big difference, right?” wrote Brad Johnson, vice president at Advisors Excel for Investment News.
By assigning a “personal concierge” to your prospects and clients, you’re creating a high-end experience, setting yourself apart from other advisers and creating an environment that will attract wealthy clients who like to be treated like VIPs, wrote Johnson.
Short on staff? Johnson says even if you have just one person answering the phones, that’s fine. Make that person the “personal concierge” for all your prospects and clients. If you have more than one assistant, that’s even better. Now you can have multiple “personal concierges” who can help you implement this strategy.
Johnson suggests implementing this strategy during the onboarding process, by introducing new clients to their “personal concierge.” He also suggests having the personal concierge make outbound follow-up calls to prospects.
“During those calls, your team member has the opportunity to make a great impression by saying, ‘My name is _____, and I am your personal concierge at ABC Financial. It’s my job to make sure that every interaction you have with our firm is first class. With that in mind….’” he wrote.
Here are some additional marketing lessons that financial advisors can learn from VIP venues. Customers who frequent these businesses share many similarities with high-net-worth individuals. These attributes include: affluence, a willingness to spend money to receive top quality, the desire to feel special, an expectation for the highest level of service, and a network of like-minded individuals.
Be Authentically Exclusive. VIP venues create the perception of exclusivity by restricting access to their establishment — making those who get in feel special. One of the best examples of this is Studio 54. The club kept such a tight watch on the door that they even turned celebrities away.
As an advisor, you can be authentically exclusive by limiting the number of clients you take. This does, however, require you to develop the skill to deliver the message with the right spin. For example, you might say, “We are a boutique firm that works with a select group of higher-net-worth individuals, so we aren’t the best fit for everyone. This gives us the luxury to pay close attention to each client’s needs, provide highly customized planning solutions, and offer an unsurpassed level of service.”
Create an Unforgettable Experience. When you walk through the doors of a high-end restaurant, hotel, or spa, it’s a remarkably different experience than the outside world. Everything — from the music, to the décor, to the employees’ attire — is chosen to promote their brand, create a sense of wealth, and instill confidence in the excellence of the services.
Advisors can create unforgettable experiences at different events. Create a meeting space with a full-service coffee bar, high-end equipment, comfortable sofas, themed décor, upscale reading materials, and jazzy music. They can also host lavish appreciation events with various themes. A great event can provide a truly memorable experience for your guests and inspire them to bring friends who may, in turn, become your clients. For example, host a Roaring Twenties-themed event at a historic mansion, play big-band music, and hire professional swing dancers to perform and teach your guests.
Promote Top Quality. VIP venues pay attention to every single detail. Quality is of the highest standard and is always consistent. This is an important marketing lesson for advisors to learn. Fortunately, many clients who want top-quality are willing to pay for it. To highlight the quality you offer, be sure to emphasize quality with branding. Your firm’s brand plays an important role in shaping perceptions about your firm’s quality. Review your website, brochures, office décor, attire, signage, and other brand representations. Ensure they send the right image, are made with quality materials, have a consistent look and feel, and have been designed and proofread by professionals.
Gift Thoughtfully. The right gift can impress any client. Look for high-quality and personal items, such as custom-printed stationery sets, monogrammed luggage tags, or monthly chocolate tastings from a high-quality vendor to say “Thank You” for their business.
Summit Brokerage Services is a member of Cetera Financial Group, RCS Capital Corporation’s (NYSE: RCAP) retail investment advice platform.
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