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Phil Wickenden: Make 2019 all about client experience

As we hurtle towards the new year, it is worth remembering much of the so-called client-centricity discussed is, in fact, little more than process that will not determine whether you win, lose or draw.

Sure, a process needs to be reliable, cost-efficient and to point the right service at the right people. But it is building blocks and no more.

This is perfectly highlighted by the RDR post-implementation review of a few years back, which failed to find evidence of consumer benefit, despite the regime meeting its objectives. What matters most to clients (if we accept their financial wellbeing is a given) is something that transcends business models, segmentation and suitability.

Robert Reid: The details behind the client experience

So let’s make sure 2019 is not about marketing at all but instead about client experience. Here are some thoughts on what to focus on

  1. Client engagement: Be interesting
    You have more analytical tools to help you understand sentiment on your brand than ever before. But you will only win in 2019 if you remember one basic fact: happy, interested clients will say good things about you. At the core, your job is to deliver both the financial plan and the feeling of contentment. Both matter.
  2. Measuring marketing: Make dashboard metrics meaningful
    There is an opportunity to move from big data and dashboard reporting (pensions dashboard aside) to meaningful metrics that become central to your marketing decision-making. This starts with aligning metrics to sales, revenue and profits, enabling re-prioritisation of marketing initiatives needed to reach financial goals.
  3. Leadership: Failure and success leave clues
    If you have a disappointing result, consider this quote from W Edwards Deming: “Every organisation is perfectly designed to get the results it is producing.” Conflicts or missed targets are a clue about where your organisation might be misaligned by design; where employees’ rewards, motives or resources incentivise behaviours and decisions not in the best interests of the company.

If you experience challenges to your goals and strategies, it may be worth auditing how your function operates. This often leads to discovery of how small system changes can create more value for everyone.

Phil Wickenden is managing director at Cicero Research

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