Ravi Moolchandani (left) and Ryan Watson

Whether it’s negative or positive feedback, financial advisers need to be able to graciously receive and potentially implement customer feedback.

Positive reviews are more than just morale boosters. They can be highlighted on your website or social media to attract new clients. Negative feedback, on the other hand, can help a firm identify areas for improvement.

But in an era of Google reviews, Net Promoter Scores and the relentless barrage of unwanted feedback on social media, how advisers grapple with feedback varies greatly.

AFCA also considers a growing number of complaints about financial advice given to Australians, which could have a huge impact on a financial advice firm.

Some advisers will put negative feedback down to soured client relationships and simply move on, believing there’s other fish in the sea. Others will do some serious naval gazing to see if there’s a way to make improvements that will enhance their business into the future.

Source Wealth certified financial planner Michael Sauer tells Professional Planner he regularly asks for feedback through each stage of the advice process, as opposed to opting for a more formalised approach, such as an NPS.

Michael Sauer

“When receiving feedback, it’s important to try and understand the feedback from the client’s perspective as well, because we all have blind spots,” Sauer says.

For example, Source Wealth uses an online client wealth portal, which Sauer thinks is great for providing holistic client information in one spot that’s visually appealing and scalable. However, he’s had feedback from one client that it was frustrating to have to create an extra login and deal with two-factor authentication (2FA). “They told me that they would rather work by exchanging documents via email,” he says.

The feedback highlighted the need to analyse whether this is a consistent issue for clients and requires change; or if it’s rare, whether to just offer a separate process to accommodate different specific client preferences.

Feedback is also critical for Tribeca Financial CEO Ryan Watson, who distils it down to looking for trends and patterns. “We genuinely see feedback as a gift, a ‘cheat sheet’ if you will, on areas with which we can improve and potential blind spots that we never even knew about,” he says.

“Then, we review the feedback through the lens of our current business strategy and adjust [or not] accordingly. The key is finding the trends and using the feedback to enhance the client experience, for both existing and new customers.”

Radiance Wealth, which relies on organic growth, aims to work with extended families and international family groups, which makes feedback critical as it’s what ultimately fuels growth in the business.

The firm’s principal financial adviser Ravi Moolchandani says feedback from clients all depends on how much the firm can control the process.

Paul Peng Yang

“For example, if it’s our internal then the turn-around can be quick, and if it’s external process such as product then it may take time. It also becomes hard to ignore when you’re offering a solution and it’s not meeting the objectives, hence coming up with alternative solutions is the only way to implement feedback,” Moolchandani says.

Paul Peng Yang, who is a teacher in Master of Financial Planner at Victoria University, approaches feedback with openness and a commitment to improvement, and aims to address any concerns promptly. He is a certified financial planner with AIA Australia.

“We acknowledge feedback through various channels, such as surveys, meetings and then analyse it to identify areas for enhancement,” he says.