Is your support team working remotely? My guess is that many are working from home. With the assumption of working remotely, how would you rate the productivity of your team members, including yourself?
All of us, and I’m including our team, kid ourselves when we think we’re as productive as we were pre-COVID. I’ve written about studies documenting that productivity decreases close to 20% when working remotely. And these were pre-COVID studies, six months and counting of our world turned upside down; dual home offices, children at home with no clear path for school, and the steady drumbeat of worry. We’re all only too aware of how frustration and stress can continue to grow in this environment.
With that dark backdrop – sorry – we need to be realistic about the productivity of every team member and do everything possible to help raise the productivity bar.
Which leads me to the topic of client loyalty. We know that in times of crisis, everyone has to work harder. Clients are nervous, which leads to worry, which fuels negative thinking, which if left unattended activates the negative programming cycle. We are all susceptible – this is a human quality. Whenever a crisis impacts the financial world clients who fall into this negative programming cycle often start having doubts about their financial advisor. This is why we’ve been stressing to the advisors we’re coaching – the stars are aligned for prospecting!
Getting every team member dedicated to doing everything possible to help strengthen client loyalty is the yin to the yang of affluent prospecting; it’s all about going over and beyond client expectations. The nature of client loyalty is recognizing that it’s never static, which is why continuous attention and a total effort – teamwork – is required. Every connection with a client, every behind-the-scenes effort on behalf of a client, must transcend that action and build value into that client relationship. Everyone plays a key role.
To help you and your support team to work toward that end, we’re going to share with you a list of ten questions for every team member to answer; first individually, then collectively as a team. This should lead to agreeing on a handful of action steps directed at strengthening client loyalty. And productivity will increase as a result.
If you answer YES to a question –- ask: How are we doing it? How does it provide value and strengthen client loyalty?
If you answer NO to a question –- ask: What can we do to improve the value we provide in this area?
- Do we communicate with all clients that they are important to us?
- Do we tailor our service to each client’s particular needs?
- Do our clients usually call on us when they have a tough problem to solve? If not, who do they call?
- Do we provide unique or special services for clients that they would find difficult to duplicate?
- Are our clients genuinely convinced that we have their best interests and welfare at heart?
- Do we go out of our way to learn as much about each client as possible?
- Do we follow-up to make certain a client’s decisions and requests are fulfilled accurately and timely?
- If a client registers a complaint, do we handle it promptly?
- Do we always follow-up on problems and complaints to make certain their resolution is satisfactory to the client?
** Make certain you go beyond the YES and NO answer and use the other questions to probe further. When you’ve completed the exercise with the 9 questions above, then ask…
10. Do we ever take a client for granted?
Done properly, this exercise will generate a lot of open dialogue. By “done properly” we mean this needs to be a team exercise with no mention of current levels of productivity, no insinuation that your support team or an individual team member isn’t servicing clients well – rather this is simply an exercise to help strengthen client loyalty.
You will find it helpful for everyone to understand that a loyal client who is emotionally connected to you and your team is an ideal client — as the list below (HBR, August 2016) illustrates…
- 52% more valuable than highly satisfied clients
- 6x more likely to consolidate assets
- Buy more products and services
- Exhibit less price sensitivity
- Pay more attention to your communications
- Follow your advice
- Recommend you more
— Harvard Business Review, August 29, 2016
Discuss the HBR list above with your team. Imagine if every one of your clients fit this profile; you’d have ideal clients! I’ve seen teams make copies of this list for everyone to keep as a visible reminder.
We firmly believe that we can all improve our productivity. Making a team commitment to strengthen client loyalty is a great way to start.