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How acting like you care can win you clients

Trust only takes a moment to destroy. Just a few sentences, a broken promise, a lack of empathy, and it is gone.

In most scenarios of customer dissatisfaction, there may well be significant (and often justifiable) operational barriers that either contribute to the creation of the problem or prevent us from fixing it.

But in most instances, that is not where the breakdown happened. It happened because a human being decided to not care. Not to care and not express anything that felt like caring (victim of bureaucracy or not).

This is a problem because, while people like to have their problems fixed, what they most want is to be seen and to be cared about. Customers will put up with imperfect, but one thing they would like in return is for you to care.

Marketers keep making big promises, and organisations struggle to keep those promises. Sooner or later, it leads to a situation where the broken promise arrives on the customer’s lap.

In that moment, what the customer wants most is someone to care.

Correlation analysis from our latest adviser research shows a strong positive relationship between how far providers are perceived to care about advisers’ businesses and adviser propensity to do business. But across the industry advisers rate the industry around 6/10 on this measure.

This is a hugely missed opportunity – even more so when we consider that almost as good as an organisation primed to care at every touchpoint is an organisation that consistently acts like it cares.

It is a mistake to believe you actually have to care the way the customer cares, and that anything less means you should not even try. There are hundreds of examples where professionals do emotional labour all the time. They present the best version of their professional self they are capable of.

When Dame Judy Dench shows up on stage, the audience would like to believe that she is as engaged and excited as she was on opening night. And she might be. Or not. What matters is that we cannot tell.

If you care, that is great. If you do not, at least right now, well, it is your job. That is the hard part.

Acting as if you do, and doing it with effort and consistency, is what your customers need from you.

Phil Wickenden is managing director of Cicero Research


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There are 8 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. I’d be very concerned if an adviser didn’t care for their clients and therefore had to act that they did.

    Perhaps that’s the biggest issue we face – when we look at UCIS, unregulated advisers, commissions still being paid and businesses which phoenix – the underlying question is perhaps whether they care more about their clients than themselves.

    Care and empathy is intrinsic to the traits of the individual and, as a result, the culture of the business – it generally can’t be trained or taught and I suspect the type of clients we typically seek will quickly see whether it exists or not.

  2. John Hutton-Attenborough 18th January 2018 at 2:22 pm

    And what happens when your client finds out that it was all just an act!

    • I thought the same. holdn’t it say SHOW you care, as Paul Stocks says, the vast majority of us do and show it along with having empathy for our clients siutaitons and needs. That is the difference between passing exams and doing the job.

  3. Stephen Underwood 18th January 2018 at 3:48 pm

    I agree with with Paul and John. Don’t act like you care! Rather than putting in the Oscar winning performance, try actually caring and have a pride in what you are doing for the client.

  4. Phillip Wickenden 18th January 2018 at 7:43 pm

    Couldn’t agree more. ACTUALLY caring beats the something out of any facsimile!

  5. If you have to ‘act’ like you care please kindly leave our profession.

    Mr Wickenden if this is the standard of your future columns save us the time and don’t bother.

    Utter drivel

  6. “Trust only takes a moment to destroy.”

    I can only assume the opening line of this article was supposed to be ironic, given the message the author then goes on to share??

  7. I saw the headline and thought the same as all of the other commentators.

    Having read the article, I think it does have an audience, with the providers.

    I’m guessing they all have a “core value” that mentions putting the customer at the heart of what they do (L&G wording). Great sentiment, rarely carried through.

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