We are all looking for ways to impress our clients. This desire in the very best firms extends beyond our technical abilities to deliver advice and investment and planning solutions.
In these days of fee compression and rising costs, we must all work hard to ensure our clients understand our value and make the conscious decision to continue working with us for the longer term.
The very least clients should expect from us is that we genuinely care, and that we are listening carefully to their needs and objectives. We want to make it as easy as possible for clients to communicate and interact with us, and to do that we need to have employees who are genuinely engaged with why this is so important.
The employee part of the equation is perhaps the most difficult to ensure that delivering outstanding service always stays on track. Not every employee will love our business the way us founders do. Issues that arise within and outside the workplace, personal agendas, inevitable dips in energy and a host of other reasons may mean they just don’t feel as enthusiastic as they should always do.
Working together with your team, delivering excellent working conditions, making sure they are always heard and are given the opportunity to express themselves in a constructive forum should all mean these ‘off days’ are rare.
It's not easy but it is worthwhile. When you really see your team going the extra mile for clients it is one of the most satisfying moments as a business leader. The moment you just think ‘wow!’
I'm sure we could all recount many such instances but the single proudest moment for me was a number of years ago when we held our largest ever client event to celebrate a company anniversary.
It was a music and fun-filled night at the Barbican in London and we were privileged that a huge number of our clients came along to celebrate with us to drink, make merry and to support a chosen charity in a beautiful venue.
We finished the night with a bit of fun where balloons were dropped from the ceiling. Everyone had paid whatever they felt able towards the charity to stamp on the balloons in the hope of winning a prize. Within each balloon there was a coloured ticket, but in true Willy Wonka style there was also a silver and a gold ticket which were prize winning tickets. Alas, we weren't offering a visit to a chocolate factory but nominal prizes of a gold sovereign for the gold ticket and a silver crown for the silver ticket. Well, we are financial planners after all.
The gold sovereign winner came forward to claim his prize early on but the silver crown winner was proving elusive. It became a little worrying as time passed and all the balloons apart from a stubborn couple up on the ceiling had been noisily stomped.
Finally, a client came forward quietly and whispered if he had the right ticket. He said he couldn’t tell as he was colour blind. I assured him it was indeed silver and we were able to present the two prizes to much enthusiastic applause from our clients.
So, you may be wondering what this has to do with customer service. Or giving a client a wow moment.
It was actually the next day that feeling of incredible pride kicked in. One of our team, our lead administrator, was on the phone to the client who'd told us he was colour blind. After discussing the event and congratulating him on winning the prize, I hear her ask him about his colour blindness and how we could do things better. Would he prefer his reports in grey-scale rather than colour? He said that he would and, while he had never wished to make a fuss about it, he did struggle with our reports.
It was at that moment, which the client still mentions, I knew I had witnessed something special. A valued team member communicating unbidden with a valued client to deliver a personalised solution that had nothing to do with technical abilities, investment performance or risk profiling. Rather, it was a moment of thoughtfulness and care in a world where technology often gets in the way.
I am sure we all have many of these moments within our business but this is my personal favourite.
A wow moment indeed.