It is an unfortunate aspect of current human behavior, that we are more willing to complain when something goes wrong than we are to share our appreciation when something goes well.
You know this to be true of your investor clients. When their investments fail to grow as they wish, or when an investment plan goes awry, you know you are going to hear about it. You sometimes get complaints that your advisor is not proactive enough in making contact on investment trends, and you get tweets in all caps when an investor finds out that a company he is invested in suffers a significant stock market drop.
The people you do not hear from are the investors who are pleased with how you are servicing them. Some people just do not offer praise as often as they offer criticism, and advisors can develop a complex if all they hear about is the moments when an investment plan fails to live up to expectations.
According to Spectrem’s study Advisor Relationships and Changing Advice Requirements, 78 percent of Ultra High Net Worth investors (with a net worth over $5 million) report overall satisfaction with their advisor. But 71 percent would change their advisor if they did not return phone calls in a timely manner, and 53 percent would do so if the advisor is not proactive in making contact on investment issues.
Advisors can directly ask investors whether they are satisfied with their service when they meet with them or converse electronically. But in those one-on-one situations, discretion might cause an investor to blunt his criticism or be less effusive in praise. An investor might suggest one improvement he would like just to see the interview end, and would possibly avoid specific complains because of the embarrassment of facing the advisor.
But more concrete answers are available to you. A custom-built client satisfaction study would answer all the questions you have regarding your client’s satisfaction level, not just in overall terms but in nearly every specific topic related to their relationship with you.
An example of such a report is Spectrem’s Custom Client Satisfaction Studies, which cover every base you want covered. Using online surveys, postal service surveys or in-person meetings, Spectrem’s Client Satisfaction surveys detail what it is your clients like and what they don’t like about the services you provide.
The value of the Customer Satisfaction Survey is in the specificity of the questions asked. A well-designed survey can ask about the satisfaction in your firm, your advisors, and the services you provide. The Spectrem Client Satisfaction study can then segment the results to look at satisfaction levels for one advisor, or one region of the country, or for one client segment (are you doing what Millennials want you to do?).
It’s the specificity that creates the greatest value. It’s not enough to know your clients are not totally satisfied; it’s knowing what part of your service they find wanting that allows for a directed repair.
Spectrem has changed the way it disseminates client satisfaction survey results. The results are presented as they always have been, in book form, but the information will also be available on Spectrem’s new interactive format, The Investor Profile Tool. The Investor Profile Tool contains all of the research data Spectrem has collected over the past two years and allows you to access it as you wish based on the segmentation you need to examine.
The results from your client satisfaction study can also be included in the tool. You can initially determine who is not completely satisfied with your performance, then look at the opinions of thousands of similar investors to see what you could do to make your performance more satisfactory.
Client satisfaction is a constant worry, and on a daily basis, it is difficult to get a handle on just how satisfied your client base is. A Client Satisfaction study would answer that question in concrete form, allowing for focused moves to correct any deficiencies.
Or, you can continue to guess what your clients think of you.