By Terry Bell, Business Health
Reproduced with permission, first appeared in Business Health, 22 February 2018
In a time of change for the financial services industry, Business Health have seen a number of meaningful and positive changes made by advice practices.
Here are the top 6.
1. Educative, relevant and meaningful information for clients such as:
a. Provision of checklists, calculators, case studies and articles to inform and educate which are often downloadable and easily accessible to clients.
b. Client seminars, webinars and workshops covering more personal issues relevant to clients like aged care, estate planning, divorce and retirement planning.
c. Delivery of content through the internet, such as videos on youtube.
2. Value-added complimentary services
a. Business discussion groups on a wide range of topics like social media or business planning fundamentals to help business owner clients understand their broader obligations, including regulation or occupational health and safety.
b. Guides for clients on protecting themselves from key current concerns such as scams and cyber security.
c. Workshops for the children of clients on financial topics like building a credit history or budgeting.
d. Referring clients with specialist skills, such as designers or plumbers, to other clients.
e. Where appropriate, acting as a buyers’ advocate for clients.
f. Family friendly events, for example, a ‘Meet Santa in the office’ day for children of clients.
3. Starting team meetings with a positive question
a. Business Health found several practices started team meetings with the question “how did we help our clients last month?” which offered a positive start and ensured the ongoing position of clients as the most important people in the business.
4. Improving the client experience
Some businesses made the effort to make client visits less confronting through various means, including:
a. Foyers with free wifi and mobile phone charger facilities
b. Allocated parking and personalised welcome signs
c. Offering a beverage of choice on arrival (with details of preferences kept in the CRM)
d. Introductions to other people in the practice (particularly valuable where an adviser might be reaching retirement age)
e. Seeking feedback after meetings
5. Involvement in the broader community
a. Contributing to local community and charities – sponsorships, donations, allowing staff time off to participate in fund raising and so on.
b. Waiving fees for clients affected by a natural disaster – floods, bushfires etc. And, in some cases, donating to clients directly impacted.
c. Pro bono – encouraged so well by a number of industry associations and licensee groups as well as by individual advisers.
d. And, in a couple of cases, practices had set up a foundation for a specific cause and contributed % of its fees.
6. Evolving business models
a. Expansion of services to meet the needs of their client base, for example, those with an aging client base might include (directly or by referral) areas such as estate planning, aged care and Centrelink
b. Financial coaching style services for millennials as an opportunity to secure this audience as clients in the longer term when their finances better permit servicing.
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