Building and Maintaining Customer Loyalty
Creating and keeping loyal clients or customers is measured in different ways depending on the type of business you are in. For a transactional based financial firm it is likely to be based around the number of repeat transactions they make with you and potentially how many customers they refer. Whereas for an advisory service financial firm it’s usually measured by how many assets they have with you and how long they remain a client.
However you view loyalty, as a business, providing a product or service that your target audience are happy to reuse is a direct endorsement of how well you are catering to their needs.
Targeting New Clients
With financial services being very much a ‘relationship’ based industry, getting to know your clients and anticipating their needs by paying attention to what matters to them is arguably one of the best ways of retaining their business.
Expressing how great your products and services are and how they will benefit your potential clients is the easy part. To effectively target new clients it’s a good idea to understand and counteract why they don’t want to use your services!
You need to be wealthy to see a financial adviser
Advice will take up a lot of my time
All effective ‘tax planning’ is dodgy
All financial advisers are the same
You can’t obtain financial advice without being sold something
It’s hard to find the right adviser
In addition, some people don’t like to talk about their money or finances and find it difficult to trust someone to help them because it’s such a personal topic. Breaking down these barriers within your communications and helping your audience to feel comfortable about dealing with you; happy and confident that they have made the right decision and then satisfied with the service you provide is the key to converting them into a loyal client.
Building a Loyal Client Base
With the exception of those who take an avid interest in their finances and are happy to manage their investment portfolio or transact financial services online, many people either do not understand the range of products available; what is appropriate for their circumstances; or have the time to manage and review and update their financial plans regularly.
Keep in mind that clients are using your services first and foremost because they trust you to do the right thing by them. You have the knowledge and expertise that they do not have and they are relying on you to help educate them in a clear but concise way.
As there are usually fees involved in purchasing a financial product or taking advice, clients also want to know that they are receiving added value for their loyalty. Ongoing communications be that via email, social media or print will help to keep them informed and updated about their current financial planning goals; additional products or services that may benefit them; industry or legislative updates that may affect their long-term goals etc. and will start you on the road to creating the loyalty you want for your business. This level of communication should ideally be a standard strategy for many firms who want repeat business.
Going the Extra Mile (GEM) to Maintain Loyalty
We all like to think that our opinions and advice is appreciated and this is the same for your clients. So, asking them for feedback on your services or any changes you are looking to make will help them feel valued and show that you care about what they think. If they provide you with an idea that helps you to improve your business and it is implemented, share that news with them and perhaps provide a gift voucher as a thank you (check to be sure that you are not breaking any inducement rules before doing this).
In addition, although we don’t like to hear when we are not doing well, it is important to know so that you can fix the situation before it potentially affects other clients and damages your reputation. Don’t be scared to submit surveys to your clients to get their honest feedback – if it helps you to improve the way you deliver your services then it will turn a negative into a positive and again shows your clients that you take their feedback seriously. They will appreciate that you have listened to them and taken steps to do something about it.
Other GEM services:
Remembering birthdays or other important dates – use greeting cards or a personalised letter to show that having their business is not always about managing their money
Client loyalty events – show your appreciation by inviting them to special events, again that are not necessarily finance related but as a thank you for their business and suggest they invite a friend or family member who could potentially become a client
Partner with another firm who could provide your most loyal clients with discounted loyalty benefits for using their products or services.
Create an exclusive targeted communications based on your clients’ interests – this could be in the form of a specific membership site, magazine or e-newsletter for clients that have been with you for 5 years or more and provides additional benefits and information in addition to your standard services.
Referrals – loyal clients will be happy to refer friends and family to you. Create a referral programme that provides a ‘reward’ (within inducement rules) for them providing 3 or more referrals to you.
These are just some examples of how making your clients feel ‘special’ to maintain their loyalty is a worthwhile strategy to have in place and will no doubt have a positive impact on your bottom line and the overall growth of your business.