To prospects and clients, financial advisors seem to offer similar products. The difference is in client service. In this area, there may be much room for improvement as sometimes we unnecessarily complicate service and client interactions. When that happens, at best, those decisions make the client experience less enjoyable. At worst, unneeded complexity opens the door to complaints, bad reviews and competitors.
Simple and streamlined = Good
Businesses that know the value of simplicity strive to streamline processes and eliminate rocks on the service-experience road. Furthermore, those who understand the importance of effortless service know that achieving it is an ongoing group effort. Everyone, from top to bottom, should diligently work to eradicate needless steps, complexities or jargon that may confuse clients and obstruct them from reaching their goals.
Examples of the payoffs
- Streamlined processes: Simplifying processes, procedures and workflows eliminates unnecessary complexities, making client interactions more efficient and effortless.
- Clear communication: Using straightforward language ensures that product information is easily understandable, creating a faster client experience.
- Intuitive navigation: Creating intuitive interfaces helps clients quickly find what they need without clicking on the wrong link, going to the incorrect location or calling the wrong number.
- Reduced cognitive load: Organizing information and choices in a clear and logical manner helps clients make confident decisions, reducing the likelihood of buyer’s remorse or panicked calls to you.
- Efficient problem resolution: Providing simple and accessible channels for client support enables quicker problem resolution.
But we’re different
You may think your business is different and more complicated than other businesses. While not every interaction is basic, you can still make interactions easier. No matter who you are, there are opportunities to streamline design, usability, communication, accessibility and problem resolution.
If you open your eyes, many problems are obvious. Here are a few of the usual suspects:
- Complex or poorly working websites
- Inefficient customer relationship management (CRM) systems
- Excessive use of industry jargon
- Multiple contact attempts
Other places to explore
In addition to the easy-to-find improvement opportunities, most teams can find more if they start asking these questions:
- Are our products or services easy to understand?
- Is our website or physical location easy to navigate?
- Can clients easily find the information they need?
- Are our fees transparent and easy to understand?
- Can clients quickly contact us when they need to?
- Are we using plain language in our communications or relying too much on jargon?
- Are our processes designed with the client’s convenience in mind?
- Are we offering simple, efficient solutions to client problems?
- Do clients have to go through unnecessary steps or complexities to achieve their objectives?
- What feedback are we getting from clients about the ease of their experience?
The frontline is a gold mine
Organizations that take simplicity seriously know the gold mine of information frontline service representatives can provide if they are encouraged to bring issues to management.
Routine complaints: For every client who voices dissatisfaction, three or four others will say nothing. Organizations that treat service seriously see complaints as canaries in the coal mine, and they encourage staff to track concerns and bring them forward.
Multiple contact attempts: If clients need to contact the organization multiple times for the same issue or related issues, there’s a problem and an opportunity to simplify the resolution process. Frontline representatives are almost always the first to recognize boomerang interactions.
Lack of training and tools: Frontline providers are also acutely aware when they don’t know the answer, can’t get a system to cooperate or must use workarounds.
Achieving simplicity doesn’t always feel simple
Once you start looking, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the amount of work involved in making things easy. Take a breath, and then take another. Just as most processes don’t become convoluted overnight, it takes time to go in the other direction.
Start with straightforward fixes to build momentum. Next, prioritize what is easier to implement and what will have the most impact on the client experience. Then get to work.
Kate Zabriskie is the president of Business Training Works Inc. She and her team provide soft-skills training courses and workshops. For more information, visit businesstrainingworks.com.
Learn how better processes have led to increased production and efficiency for MDRT members:
- Watch “Become more referable: Create a standout office” to see how creating a client-friendly environment generates referrals for a Top of the Table member.
- Watch “How to exceed client expectations” to learn about how detailed processes are key to surpassing client expectations and reaching Top of the Table year after year. (MDRT member exclusive)
- Listen to “Developing processes for enhanced client service and staffing performance” to hear MDRT members explain the processes they embrace and the resulting benefits.