View more on these topics

Jason Butler: Ensure you live up to clients’ expectations

All advice firms are in the relationship-building business. How you and your clients regard each other will influence whether they follow your advice, remain with you for the long term and refer others to you.

You might think all your client relationships are as strong as they can be. But if you have just one that isn’t working properly, it can be a serious drain on your time and emotions.

Doug Carter is a US financial services coach who has been teaching how to improve client communications for 30 years. He recommends advisers ensure both parties have a clear understanding of what they can expect from each other. He calls this the “expectations conversation”, which involves the following eight steps:

  • Step 1: Ask the client what their reasonable expectations are of you and list these until they have nothing more to say;
  • Step 2: Ask them if it’s OK to add some expectations you think they should have of you, and list them;
  • Step 3: Address any of their expectations you think are unreasonable. For example, if they expect their money to make 10 per cent per annum. Try to suggest another way of dealing with that expectation;
  • Step 4: Ask the client to tell you what expectations they think you should have of them. It is unlikely anyone has ever asked them this. Write their answers down, then read them back. The expectations will probably be like the ones they gave in step one, but fewer;
  • Step 5: Ask them if it’s OK to add some expectations you think you should have of them, and list these. While you should have a good idea of any expectations beforehand, you’ll need to adapt them to each client;
  • Step 6: Ask them if they think any of your expectations are unreasonable. If they are, find an alternative way of dealing with them or agree to eliminate them;
  • Step 7: Ask them if you have ever done anything that has failed to meet their expectations. A new client will obviously say no. An existing client will usually be hesitant to answer truthfully, because they won’t want to upset you. They might say something like, “it’s only a small thing, but…”. Let them explain and don’t interrupt. I remember a client once saying to me, “I get too much paper”, so we reduced his paper reporting. You’ll be amazed what impact this step can have on client satisfaction. Allowing them to be “heard” is usually enough to deal with the issue but, if not, you’ll know what to do to fix it;
  • Step 8: Agree what happens if either of you fails to meet the expectations. One solution might be that you’ll have a telephone call to discuss the issue to mutual satisfaction. This step is very empowering for the client. It gives them a way of resolving problems in your relationship and will give them confidence you have their best interests at heart.

Remember, a great relationship is built on good communication.

Jason Butler is an expert in financial wellbeing @jbthewealthman

Recommended

1

Schroders-Lloyds tie-up: New clues emerge

As job adverts start to appear, will the financial planning joint venture work? In the eyes of the mass-affluent in the UK, you would be hard-pushed to find two brands that resonate more than Lloyds and Schroders. Through brands like Scottish Widows and a huge personal banking arm, Lloyds in particular has real pull with […]

1

Pensions minister admits pension forecast errors

Pensions minister Guy Opperman has admitted “significant” problems with a third of a million incorrect state pension forecasts issued in a letter to Royal London policy director Steve Webb. Since 2016, government figures suggest that over 12 million state pension forecasts have been issued and Opperman’s letter suggests that 3 per cent of those may […]

Lighthouse and Tavistock call off distribution deal

Lighthouse and Tavistock have put an end to their investment distribution deal in the wake of Quilter’s successful takeover of Lighthouse. The deal was announced last November, under which Lighthouse would distribute some of Tavistock’s investment products, through in-house investment arm, Luceo Asset Management, to Lighthouse clients. Lighthouse took a 5 per cent stake in […]

Ben Robins: Overcoming emerging market debt misconceptions

Asset class may not be as convoluted as you think After a difficult 2018, many investors continue to question the rebound and the longer-term outlook for emerging market debt – largely based on a misconception it is a high-risk and high-beta investment. Contradicting the stereotype of a volatile, higher beta asset class, many regions and […]

Financial advice-planning-advice-cashflow-analysis

Global equity outlook 2018

RLAM’s Head of Equities, Peter Rutter reflects on equity valuations and those areas he believes will provide opportunity in 2018. Watch the video here Past performance is not a guide to future performance. The value of investments and the income from them is not guaranteed and may go down as well as up and investors […]

Newsletter

News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up

Comments

    Leave a comment

    Close

    Why register with Money Marketing ?

    Providing trusted insight for professional advisers.  Since 1985 Money Marketing has helped promote and analyse the financial adviser community in the UK and continues to be the trusted industry brand for independent insight and advice.

    News & analysis delivered directly to your inbox
    Register today to receive our range of news alerts including daily and weekly briefings

    Money Marketing Events
    Be the first to hear about our industry leading conferences, awards, roundtables and more.

    Research and insight
    Take part in and see the results of Money Marketing's flagship investigations into industry trends.

    Have your say
    Only registered users can post comments. As the voice of the adviser community, our content generates robust debate. Sign up today and make your voice heard.

    Register now

    Having problems?

    Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3712

    Lines are open Monday to Friday 9:00am -5.00pm

    Email: customerservices@moneymarketing.com