Raj Mendes and Laura Frazer

Advisers wanting to boost their customer experience can learn a lot from what other sectors of the economy are doing.

According to Raj Mendes, managing director of The Customer Experience Company, a good example is the hospitality industry.

“The cornerstone of hospitality is providing personalised service with attention to detail,” he says.

“Advisers can learn to cultivate deep relationships based on the individual needs of each client. Hotels and restaurants also excel at anticipating needs.”

Mendes says high-end retail is another good example.

“Luxury retailers understand the importance of going above and beyond and making clients feel valued,” he says. “Their focus on seamless, frictionless experiences can translate well to financial planning, where removing potential pain points is critical.”

Mendes says advisers can also take a leaf out of the books of big technology companies like Apple, Google, Facebook, Tesla, and Meta. “They have built products that are very desirable for customers. Ask yourself: ‘How would Apple or Tesla do this?’”

Embracing technology

Laura Frazer, co-founder of customer experience consultancy CX LOOP, believes advisers can learn from the way different sectors are using technology to bolster their customer experience.

One example is the education sector. “The rise of sophisticated technology has made online learning easier to access, leading to more online tutoring, academic coaching and digital learning,” Frazer says.

“Online tutoring, in particular, is growing fast and is expected to keep expanding. Digital libraries and e-reader apps have also made it easier to get reading materials, improving access to education.”

Another example is the healthcare industry, Frazer says it is leveraging technology to enhance patient care and convenience through services like on-demand doctor consultations, online appointment scheduling, virtual care and monitoring, and digital prescriptions.

“This digital shift is significantly contributing to the growth of the on-demand economy in healthcare, making it easier for patients to receive timely and efficient medical attention, ultimately improving on customer experience.”

Frazer says healthcare is also a good example of a sector using AI to better its customer experience.

“The goal isn’t to avoid AI, but to figure out the best ways to use it,” she says.

“In a field that values privacy and ethics, healthcare is carefully bringing in technology to improve patient care and help healthcare workers. With a growing shortage of healthcare staff, AI could help fill the gap by supporting areas where there aren’t enough human resources.”

Mendes, however, warns that too much technology can be a negative. While advisers need to use technology to take the friction out of the experience, especially around documentation and regulatory obligations, he says they must make space for the human element.

“Over-reliance on tech or automation creates distance,” Mendes says. “Finding the right balance between technology and human-centred interactions is vital.”

Lessons from other sectors

From his experiences with other sectors, Mendes says a mistake for advisers to avoid is assuming they know what their clients want.

“Don’t use surveys – get to understand your target segments deeply and do this by having open conversations regularly,” he says.

“Find ways to ensure the insights are used in your products, service, experience and by everyone in the organisation – that insights are turned into action. Always consider how you will create an emotional bond with the customer. Ways to do this include underpromising and overdelivering.”

Mendes adds advisers should not prioritise new clients over existing ones. “Focusing too much on acquisition neglects retention,” he says.

“Loyal clients deserve high-quality service and recognition for their continued business. It is easier to generate revenue from an existing client.”

Frazer says aligning the employee experience with the customer experience is also crucial, as research indicates that doing so can greatly increase revenue.

“Thinking of employee experience and customer experience as separate doesn’t work as well as seeing employee experience as the backbone of great customer experience,” Frazer says.

“They’re closely connected; employee experience powers customer experience, showing how important it is for employees to be engaged and happy to create great customer experiences.

“This is especially true in the service industry, where how customers and employees feel is deeply linked. A disengaged employee can quickly affect customer happiness negatively. However, employees who feel valued and confident are more willing to put in extra effort for customers.”

Frazer adds that creating a customer experience without a solid foundation is a recipe for failure.

“To make sure your approach is strong, focus on setting clear service standards, investing in tailored training and providing your frontline staff with the tools they need to succeed,” she says.

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