Client service key to practice resilience

Advisers can build a more resilient practice by focusing on client service


By Sarah Kendell

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Going above and beyond in client service was key to building a more resilient advice practice that could withstand regulatory change, according to Mentor Education.

The adviser education group’s founder, Mark Sinclair, said an increasing number of Mentor training courses were focusing on business improvement, particularly with regard to managing and responding to client expectations.

“From a business perspective this demands strategies that develop exceptional teams with clearly defined staff roles and employees that are dynamic, motivated, multi-skilled and versatile,” Sinclair said.

“Staff skills, knowledge and expertise need to be transferrable in order to effectively deal with the unforeseen emergencies that inevitably arise and can potentially damage the business brand and client relationship.”

He added taking the time to align staff and client interests could reap significant financial rewards for an advice practice.

“What’s more, [the rewards] grow dramatically as the practice finds itself progressively better prepared to deal with changes and unforeseen contingencies in the modern day post the Future of Financial Advice and life insurance framework era,” he said.

Mentor chairman Jim Taggart added that given the changes in consumer expectations in a digitally connected era, financial advice firms would need to be there for their clients at all times in order to demonstrate a high-quality service offering.

“Trust is built up over time and it occurs each and every time a client calls the office [through] to the person-to-person engagement with the planner or staff,” Taggart said.

“This is a 24/7 world and client death, injury, illness or unexpected family calamity events don’t occur conveniently during office hours.

“More often than not they occur after hours or at times of office closure, but it’s how a practice responds to these contingencies that differentiates the best from the ordinary.”

Sinclair said while it was important advisers maintained a level of work-life balance, they also needed to come to grips with the higher standard of customer service that was needed as the industry became increasingly more competitive.

“The contemporary prerequisite of the customer experience has created a threshold that demands the creation of new standards for any financial planning practice principal to adhere to in order to compete for the demanding and discerning consumer’s precious dollar,” he said.

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