The service standards of providers have always been a key ingredient of the advice process. Sloppy levels of service from investment, pensions, mortgage or protection providers, or platforms, can be costly to the client whilst the adviser often shoulders the blame.
With the advent of the retail distribution review and adviser- charging, the importance of decent client service has never been greater. Transparency of charging means poor provider service levels will hit the client’s pocket directly due to the extra time and cost to advisers in dealing with unsatisfactory behaviour.
Also, as products become more similar in their features and benefits, reliable and consistent service levels are increasingly likely to be the key differentiator when dealing with providers.
With this in mind, Money Marketing is launching a service monitor, with the help of our readers, which will track service standards across the industry and hopefully help drive forward improvements by holding poor performers to account. The Money Marketing Service Monitor has now launched and any advisers or paraplanners wanting to get involved can sign up at www.mmserviceratings.co.uk.
Advisers will be asked to download a web-based application which they can then easily access in their office or on the move. After transacting any client business, you will be asked to rate the service standards you experience. The process should only take a matter of seconds.
By harnessing this feedback, we will be able to create an ongoing benchmark of service standards to both inform the adviser community and put the pressure on providers to either keep their standards high or improve them.
Any advisers or paraplanners involved will have the chance to win monthly prizes, including an iPad 2, plus more substantial quarterly prizes.
More important, anyone who joins the monitor will get access to the data which will become a useful tool in informing their advice decisions and for provider due diligence. The commercial and regulatory pressures being applied on traditional life and pension providers, wrap platforms, asset managers and mortgage lenders are immense and likely to get stronger.
We hope the Money Marketing Service Monitor will become a constant reminder of the importance of investing in client servicing and help drive forward improvements in standards across the industry. But we need your help to make it work.
Paul McMillan is editor of Money Marketing- follow him on twitter here