Are your clients being served? Ray Henderson reflects on the Business Health business diagnostics and client survey work undertaken throughout 2014.

We’re extremely fortunate to have many Australian practices use our various tools and diagnostics to help them run their practices more profitably. We are grateful of their support and hope that they are all now well on the road to converting their own data from insights into profitable actions.

And, as 2014 draws to a close, we thought you might be interested in a few of our own insights as gleaned from recently completed HealthCheck business diagnostics and CATScan client surveys. These have led us to pose the question to the broader market – is the client truly being served by his/her adviser?

What are clients actually receiving for the fees they’re paying? How well are these services being delivered? Are they really what the client wants and needs?

Here’s what we’ve observed recently:

1. Over the past few years, ‘range of services’ (one of the nine areas assessed by our CATScan client survey tool), has declined in client ratings. We’re fast coming to the conclusion that practices, in general, aren’t making the effort to continually reinforce what they have to offer their clients.

Surely, every communication (whether it be through newsletter, email, event or meeting) presents the perfect opportunity for the adviser to reiterate what he/she can do for their clients?

Clients often think that the only products or services their adviser provides are the ones they use. When did you last promote the range of services you have available to your clients?

2. One of our most disappointing stats – only 15% of practices have actually sought feedback from their very best (“A” class) clients in the last 12 months.

Many practices spend significant time building a service offering based on what they think their best clients want but most of them don’t ask their clients what they think.

3. Given the previous two points, it perhaps comes as no real surprise that 29% of practices still don’t have a Value Proposition for clients (and prospects), while another 35 per cent haven’t documented what they have in place.

If someone asked one of your staff “What does your business do?” What would they say and more importantly, what would you want them to say. The importance of everyone in the practice being able to clearly articulate what you do and why you do it cannot be underestimated.

4. Client demography continues to jump out at us. According to our CATScan database, 53 per cent of clients are 60 years of age and over, while 44 per cent are already retired. We can’t help but wonder if the adviser’s current set of services/products is meeting the needs of this particular client profile.

Do you really know the demography of your client base? Is it time to review the services you currently offer?

5. And bringing all of the above together – the adviser’s review process (or perhaps more accurately, the client experience) continues to be rated by clients as poor. In fact it’s the lowest rated of the nine areas assessed through CATScan.

Clients are sometimes confused about the review process. We often receive comments like “Is that when they tell me how my investments perform?” The overwhelming sentiment from the client feedback we receive is that clients want their adviser to be just as interested in their life as they are in their money.

The review process presents the perfect opportunity for the adviser to reinforce the value proposition, to showcase their offer and demonstrate the value of the fees their client is paying. An area well worth further consideration and focus.

Now is a great time to critically assess how well you are really serving your clients and consider how you can take some positive steps forward in 2015.

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