You may have heard of Jon Stewart, the US television chat show host. He’s quoted as saying “I’m not going to censor myself to comfort your ignorance” (yes you can even buy the T-shirt here). I can imagine many financial planners muttering something similar under their breath when a client doesn’t want to take onboard the sage advice and feedback being offered.
Ironically, this is exactly the way I feel when I have a conversation with a practice principal and they tell me they don’t need to get client feedback.
They already know their clients.
When confronted with this response I always ask them to elaborate. They often explain that their clients have been with them for many years, inferring that’s all there is to know.
I’m sure they genuinely feel they know their clients well (and in many respects they do, due to the nature of the information shared) but they’re missing the point about seeking feedback.
It’s not about knowing more about the client’s personal circumstances, winning a popularity contest, or ticking boxes.
Client feedback is about understanding if the client experience is up to scratch.
What are the implications for the business if the experience is poor? If action is not taken to address the issues, how does that ensure growth and future success?
Sadly, less than 30% of practices in Australia have a process for regularly collecting client feedback as part of their business-as-usual operation. I guess this demonstrates that the vast majority of practices are prepared to live in comfortable ignorance rather than face the painful truth. Let me explain.
Our lives are filled with opportunities to make choices. Should you always do what you’ve always done? Should you do what everyone else is doing? What is influencing your decision? What are the consequences of your decision?
Is there is a painful truth that you’re not acknowledging or addressing?
When you think about it, this is exactly the dilemma your clients and prospects face in THEIR lives when considering THEIR financial futures.
- Are they living their life in comfortable ignorance?
- Are they on track to achieve their financial goals?
- Do they understand what they need to do to achieve those goals?
- Are those goals even realistic?
Perhaps they need to confront the painful truth that they’re unlikely to bring their goals to fruition without the advice of a professional.
Practices need to make a deliberate choice about whether they invest in collecting client feedback.
Are you going to continue your business in comfortable ignorance about whether or not your clients truly enjoy their experience with your business? Are you hesitant to seek feedback from your clients in the event it uncovers some painful truths about your service, your operations, or your products? How are you planning to manage what you don’t measure?
As a member of the Australian financial planning industry you not immune from this challenge. Given the transition from product focus to client focus in recent years, you’d think there would be more practices acknowledging (and acting) on the painful truth that they don’t really understand how their clients feel.
It’s time to stop kidding yourself that everything is fine.
The data shows otherwise. <20% of Australians use a financial planner, and only 24% of Australians trust financial planners. The fact that less than a third of practices embrace the value of client feedback indicates the vast majority of the industry is living in comfortable ignorance rather than addressing the painful truth.
It’s time you recognise that client feedback should lie at the core of your practice. If you work with the right solution provider you won’t need to invest too much time or money. After all, your focus needs to be on practice growth.
We have the solution you need.
What are your thoughts about client feedback? Are you a devotee or still on the fence?
About The Author:
Dr Ray McHale is Founder and CEO of Valuiza. He has more than 25 years’ experience working in the financial services industry. He became frustrated at not being able to quantify the strength of client relationships he had developed. So he built Valuiza. He’s thinking he may invest in one of Jon’s shirts.