Easy does it
Ever tried to do some business with a company only to find they make the process unnecessarily difficult?
I’m sure you’ve had that experience as both a business owner and in a personal consumer capacity.
I was on a website recently trying to purchase something. There was nothing inherently wrong with the website, but it was proving a bit clunky and difficult to use. I quickly lost patience and just went to Amazon and bought it there.
The thing is that the goalposts for what consumers find unnecessarily difficult are constantly moving. This can be a threat or an opportunity for your business.
The frustrating website I was on would have been perfectly adequate even three or four years ago, but not today. My expectations have been raised and there’s no going back.
Amazon have focused relentlessly and obsessively on making it easier to do business with them. It’s not just a cheap price they lead with, its ease of purchase and delivery. By removing seemingly small pain points for consumers they’ve made themselves the dominant player in online retailing globally. Existing industries quake in their boots, and share prices move when Amazon enters their space.
So what’s all this got to do with you?
There’s a great lesson here.
What are the pain points for you and your clients? How might you remove some of them to make it easier to do business with you?
No problem too small
As advisers we can be a little too technically focused and can all too easily assume that our ‘quality’ will save the day. The only problem is, most consumers have no idea if you are a good adviser technically or not. That comes later. How you do business comes first.
Here are a few pain points I’ve seen dealt with by great businesses in our profession:
Lost In Space
One firm I know have a magnificent, semi-rural location. The office is an old barn and there’s plenty of parking. That part is good.
However, because of the location and the vagaries of GPS, clients often find themselves driving past the entrance to the office location. That’s not a great first impression for a new client. They are probably stressed enough going to see a new adviser for the first time.
When we looked at the problem it was clear the driveway entrance wasn’t particularly well signposted. So we discussed putting up some more obvious signage in keeping with the brand of the business.
Death and Taxes
Another adviser I was working with proactively asked clients at every review meeting, “What’s the biggest hassle for you in managing your financial affairs?”
One lady responded that she found it a real pain getting her personal tax return done each year.
The adviser said he’d organise that for her and did so with a local accountant, removing a seemingly small pain point for his client.
Technology Saves the Day
A firm I was speaking with recently had a challenge around investment reporting, as they have four platforms and a range of investment options for clients. Although they are working on simplifying this, it’s going to take some time. The reporting of such a multitude of platforms and investments needed addressing now.
So they’ve taken on some reporting software that is able to sort the problem. That removes a pain point (confusing and non-standard reporting) for their clients and their team.
What About Investment Markets?
As I write this article investment markets have started experiencing more volatility. It’s only a matter of time before we experience some sort of major market correction or crash.
I’ve seen lots of Twitter action during the recent volatility, from advisers who claim they don’t communicate with their clients at all during market volatility because they’ve trained clients not to call or be worried.
As Carl Richards, Certified Financial Planner and creator of the New York Times’ Sketch Guy column, tweeted in response to some of these comments at the time, “You CAN be empathic.”.
I don’t care if you manage money passively and are invested for the long term. Clients will still be scared witless about their situation when the inevitable crash comes.
I’ve been an adviser for 14 years and a consultant working with great advisers for another 14 years. I know a lot more about this than the average client. I’ll be scared when a crash happens too. It’s how we’re wired.
Why not create an emergency communication now? Anticipating this future pain point for your clients. Why not create an emergency communication now, that can be sent to clients within 24 hours of a major correction or shock?
You could create an email that is called ‘In Case Of Emergency’ or something similar. The emergency pack could contain:
- Some soothing words and reminders of the great shape you’ve got clients in for this eventuality – this crash hasn’t come as a surprise to you.
- Some historical perspective on how this is just another regular market correction, despite whatever BS the media will write at the time.
- Maybe you could send clients a link to a meditation, or a link to some great ways to stop worrying. That’s the best course of action.
Sending something as soon as things start happening will generate you a lot of brownie points with clients, and will certainly calm their nerves. Just because they are not calling you doesn’t mean they are feeling good about life at a time like that.
Who is Advocating for the Client?
As Bob Thompson said in, Take a Tip from Bezos: Customers Always Need a Seat at the Table, Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, “is famous for leaving an empty chair at the conference table and letting attendees know it’s occupied by the ‘the most important person in the room’ – the customer.”
As the leader in your business how do you advocate for the customer?
If you can be aware of the seemingly small pain points your customers face, and start removing them, you can stay relevant and out compete your rivals who won’t do the same.
What pain points have you removed from your client experience?
I’d love to hear your story.