Client experience demands will see the end of planner offices closing for Christmas says Mentor Education

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The luxury of financial planners being able to close their offices for the Festive Season (or any extended period these days) have well and truly been dispatched to the pages of history in the new era of delivering exceptional client experience said Mentor Education Group Chairman Dr Jim Taggart.

Commenting further Dr Taggart said “Of course planners and their staff need to take care of themselves physically and emotionally with a regime of work-life balance in order to be at their optimum to provide exemplary service that satisfies the needs of modern day clients”.

“However, the contemporary prerequisite of the customer service experience has created a threshold that demands the creation of new standards for any financial planning practice principal to adhere to in order to compete for the demanding and discerning consumer’s precious dollar”.

Adding his voice, Mentor founder Dr Mark Sinclair said many principals believe that their practice’s customer service is exceptional when it really isn’t delivering the Disneyland experience that delights, engages and leaves clients wanting to refer the business to family, friends and associates.

“Many of Mentor’s programs focus on helping the practice owner reflect on and constantly improve the business.  But most importantly how to effectively manage and respond to client expectations”, continued Dr Sinclair.

“From a business perspective this demands strategies that develop exceptional teams with clearly defined staff roles and employees that are dynamic, motivated, multi skilled and versatile.

“Staff skills, knowledge and expertise need to be transferrable in order to effectively deal with the unforeseen emergencies that inevitably arise and can potentially damage the business brand and client relationship”.

The once standard “I’m not available or out of reach over the Festive Season” is not good enough today affirmed Dr Taggart.

“Trust is built up over time and it occurs on each and every occurrence when a client calls the office to the P2P engagement with the planner or staff”, said Dr Taggart.

“This is a 24 / 7 world and client death, injury, illness or unexpected financial calamity events don’t occur conveniently during office hours.  More often than not they occur after hours or times of office closure; but it’s how a practice responds to these contingencies that differentiates the best from the ordinary”.

Irrespective of the seemingly arduous challenges financial planners encounter daily – the greatest by far is ensuring the practice has a high performance internal culture and operational team ready to respond to client hardship needs at a moments’ notice.

Dr Sinclair said being responsive to these demands in an environment of constant change is the norm these days and not a challenge unique to the financial industry’s advisor sector alone.

“Although the process of aligning staff, clients and alliance partners can take years, the rewards begin to manifest themselves from the outset”, he said.

“What’s more they grow dramatically as the practice finds itself progressively better prepared to deal with changes and unforeseen contingencies in the modern-day post FoFA LIF era.”

Dr Taggart concluded by saying that being a modern day financial planner is not an undertaking for the faint-hearted – but then again, no profession is immune from the challenges of change today.  Taking the high road to creating modern practice responsive to the 24 / 7 needs of clients is not only a choice, it is an imperative!”

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