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Act on client feedback

Hopefully, my article last month got practices thinking about where the charge points in their advice process are going to be and what charging methods they are going to use, be it hourly rates, fixed fees or a percentage of assets.

Having spent time previously on defining the adviser proposition, they should be good to go. However, the question I get asked often is, how do I roll this out?
On my travels around the country, I have recently had some very interesting debates with firms about who to roll a new client proposition out to first. I am not suggesting that there is any one way which is right but I thought I would share my views on what I have found to work well firm owners will need to adapt each step in accordance with the size of their firm.

First, I am a great believer in actively seeking feedback so I would recommend that there is a sharing of the intended proposition with some of the most trusted clients. They should give valuable feedback before launching to a wider sample of customers. Do act on the feedback. All too often, we go to the trouble of seeking feedback and then do nothing with the information.

Next, I would suggest that firms run a short pilot with some new clients. Ideally, this would be over two to three months for it to be meaningful. Depending upon the number of advisers within the business, owners might choose a selection with varying experience and specialities instead of involving all advisers at this stage. Certainly, time should be set aside to listen to the feedback from the participants and make any necessary adjustments.

From here, the focus should be on the training that is required, first and foremost, for the advisers but also for the support staff so that everybody understands the objective and to ensure that there are common standards in place.

Once the new proposition is in place for new clients, next comes the rollout to existing clients, arguably the most challenging part, especially if it involves an increase in the cost of the service that has been historically provided.

This step is essential to protect legacy renewal income and to ensure consistency of charging for both new and existing clients. Ideally, this is an exercise best completed face to face to ensure that clients fully understand what is being delivered, the costs of this service and in order to answer any questions they might have.

Finally, firms should map out a timeline for the above steps and adhere to it. It may seem like a long time until RDR becomes a reality but it is not very long to see all clients face to face. Start now and the task is manageable, leave it any later and the process becomes much more difficult.


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