June 7, 2022

Client Experience As A Growth Engine

Suresh Sadagopan
CEO, Ladder7 Wealth Planners Pvt. Ltd.
Client Experience

Engaging people is a difficult exercise. And engaging them and inspiring them to trust you, an adviser, is even more of a challenge. But it can be done.

We, in the financial services domain, look at everything from the monetary angle. We are applying our knowledge in the domain to solve our client’s problems. We solve the problems by suggesting suitable products.  We start thinking of solutions in terms of products and focus our energies on building a portfolio that will offer the best returns, beat the markets etc.

Coaching clients – Many of us have also realised that our prime focus area is being Investor centric and managing their expectations and behaviour. Accordingly, we work on educating and informing them about the markets. We are coaching and handling their behaviour whereby their expectations are reasonable and their focus is long term. 

We also work on getting them to focus on things that are under control like expenses, goals and disciplined regular investments without worrying too much about the markets. “Returns will eventually come over the longer tenure”, we remind our clients. 

We ensure that the client’s investments are sufficiently diversified and their portfolio offers liquidity, income, tax efficiency, appropriate risk etc.  This will ensure that their goals are met, which is extremely important for the client. That, hopefully, is the reason why clients came to an advisor in the first place. Many advisors clearly articulate this fact, help their clients focus on life and enjoy it.

Getting sidetracked – While we advocate all these, the focus on the larger picture gets diffused. We end up talking about financial products and returns, ultimately getting sidetracked into discussing fads with the clients etc. Even the discussion on goals descends into just transactional level discussions that are dull, boring and disconnects clients from us. 

We all understand at a deeper level what we do for our clients. It may principally be money management but our role is much larger and wider than just that. It impacts the clients’ quality of life in a fundamental way. We, hence, need to keep reminding ourselves of this singular responsibility and help our clients see us as such. This is however easier said than done. 

How do clients perceive us? Just ask a client – How would you describe what we do for you? You will be surprised at what you may hear. Some clients say that we are their investment guys; others say we are tax consultants. Still, others say that they help us with our finances.

Very few say that we are helping them achieve their goals and give them peace of mind. That is the problem we need to address.

Managing client expectations – We all keep talking about managing client expectations. That to me is a limited term as we are trying to do what the clients understand we will do for them. While setting and managing client expectations is important, that is probably where we need to start. A good advisor goes above and beyond clients’ expectations and delivers client delight through an intentionally crafted client experience.

Deeper engagement with clients – We all need to understand that irrespective of what the clients say or seem to perceive, we have a larger role to play. Interestingly, the clients do not push back if we start getting involved in their lives in a genuine manner and start contributing in an honest, helpful way to ensure great outcomes at a personal level, not just finances. We are all humans. We are glad when someone takes interest in us and are genuinely willing to help. Why can’t we be those helpful people? What is stopping us?

If we are looking to engage clients deeply, we need to move beyond mandates and take interest in their lives. This cannot be achieved through random calls and meetings. We need to study the client and understand what is important in their lives. Then we need to create an engagement schedule to specifically address that. We need to talk to them, meet them and get to understand their needs at a deeper level. This looks like lot of work and it is.  But, this is the kind of personalised experience we can deliver to clients that is way beyond finances. It makes a meaningful difference to their lives.

Amazing client experience – Many of us do not engage with our clients enough. Ask your clients and most of them will say that is indeed the case. Clients go through life and have lots of fears, worries and stressors and have no one to share. Sometimes, they do not even share it with their spouses and siblings for the fear of rattling them or to keep up pretences.

We, advisors, maybe the only people whom they may be able to confide in, without inhibition or arousing emotional responses. We can contribute hugely to managing their life events, imbued with turbulence and emotions so that they are able to get along with their lives smoothly, progress towards a fulfilling future and reach the great outcomes that they desire for themselves and their families.

Delivering an amazing client experience – For this, we ought to create opportunities to get close to our clients. It can be facilitated by having meetings or scheduled calls on a regular basis where we go above and beyond finances and discuss their lives. 

We have discussions on things that matter to them – be it their children’s education, retiring early, career, parents, relationships, relocating to another place, staying active while in retirement, hobbies, social life, philanthropy etc. We can also take interest and coach their children about money, help them by educating the spouse about finances, grease a tough marriage by playing the role of a trusted advisor etc. 

What we can do and achieve is just limited by our imagination. The client is not the one stopping us here – we are!

The payback – Crafting an enchanting client experience is backbreaking work. However, in return, we get trusting clients who we have for life, whose finances and life we manage and contribute to. We will own the client. The concept of wallet share becomes irrelevant as we will manage all of it – even portions not directly invested through us. These are clients for life. 

All these are because we chose to engage with the clients deeply and showed them we truly care and enriched their life beyond what a Financial Adviser is ever expected to do!

And we will be advisors, whose praises the clients will sing because we cared for them. Now they will return the favour by showing their care for us by being our staunch advocates, bringing business to us and cherish the relationship.

About The Author: Suresh Sadagopan is the MD & Principal Officer at Ladder7 Wealth Planners and is the author of the book If God was your Financial Planner

3 Thoughts to “Client Experience As A Growth Engine”

  1. Trupti Muralidhar says:

    This is a totally different level of servicing that you are talking about. Though we do the most part of it it’s the feeling of care from our end which we restrain. It’s the time constraint which keeps us from going into such relationships

  2. Deepu Anto says:

    Very very valuable insights…if we do it from our heart it is achievable with most of our clients though it could be time taking…

  3. Very true and rightly said by Mr. Suresh Sadagopan

    We as Financial Advisors often look at more at personal money gain then actually solving the client ignorance or their problems. Its high time we need to look beyond this and focus more deeply on how to Help CLients to achieve their Dreams, Their Vacations Goals, their Family Goals and many such goals which make the clients to include their financial advisor as part of their family and carry on the legacy…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *