Three quarters of clients would consider switching to another adviser
It generally costs in excess of five times as much to acquire a new client as it does to retain an existing client. But, all too often, this gets forgotten, with many businesses obsessively focusing on new client acquisition.
Today’s more well-informed clients expect immediate, personalised interactions. To meet these expectations, financial service companies must now differentiate their client service proposition through timely, targeted and tailored client experiences based on real-time data analytics.
Historically, at Goldmine Media, we’ve observed many advisers mainly wanting to focus on winning new clients, with client retention and loyalty expected to organically look after itself as a by-product of a post sale. Worryingly, we quite often still hear financial advisers tell us, ‘All my clients are loyal to me.’
5 benefits of keeping loyal clients focused on your business
- Increased fee incomes
- Increased profits
- Increased word-of-mouth referral business
- Reduced costs compared to new client acquisition
- Protects the value of your business for when you want to exit
Planning to exit or sell to a consolidator
We believe the assumption that clients will always be loyal is a high-risk strategy. If a business is planning to exit or sell to a consolidator in the next few years, the loss of a few top clients could have a significant impact on a future sale price.
Worryingly, according to a recent survey, only 7% of investors say they were likely to remain loyal to their financial adviser, and more than three quarters would consider switching if they felt they were not receiving value for money and a good service.
Set up ways to communicate with your clients
So how do you ring-fence the clients you want to keep? Well, to start with, look upon marketing being about keeping existing clients just as importantly as it is about acquiring new ones. Regular interaction helps build trust and loyalty, and loyalty is a function of marketing for both new and existing clients.
The survey of investors also found 95% of them do not consider switching from their existing financial adviser to be ‘a hassle’. As investors become increasingly discerning with a greater propensity to switch advisers, and as new disruptive models enter the market, the value and effectiveness of face-to-face advice will continue to be challenged – so high levels of interaction and service standards will become increasingly more important.
Delivering a high level ‘client experience’
The importance of communicating effectively with clients should not be forgotten. This can be done by planning your communications and creating target-specific content to keep them informed and keep your brand in front of them. Delivering a high level ‘client experience’ means providing regular touchpoints that gives them access to topical and newsworthy resource or knowledge centre content on your website which they can read online, download or forward to a prospective new client.
If you haven’t done so already, give clients the option to join your mailing list to receive a newsletter or other marketing communications that will keep them updated. This could include seminar dates, charitable work you’re doing, new financial planning opportunities they’ll find informative, new staff members that have joined your business, advisers that have gained further qualifications, or awards you’ve won. Basically, the editorial narrative should be crafted to keep clients focused on your business and to reinforce why they should remain clients.
In between annual review meetings
Central to client engagement and loyalty is to send regular publications throughout the year in between annual review meetings. These should include topical collateral, for example, Guide to the Autumn Budget; Guide to the Spring Statement; Guide to Year End Tax Planning; new tax year taxation and allowance information; a regular personal financial planning or lifestyle newsletter or magazine that covers a broad area of subjects from retirement and investing, protection and estate preservation; and any other relevant areas that your client demographic will find interesting.
If you have segmented your client base, give higher-value clients a different level of service with more added-value benefits. This could be a monthly market commentary, a bespoke newsletter or magazine, or an e-news alert service about topics they’ll find informative.
Client satisfaction feedback survey
On your website, include a client satisfaction feedback survey to get a better understanding of how your clients really feel about your company. Nowadays, online client satisfaction surveys are inextricably linked to adviser practices marketing programmes, as well as other initiatives aimed at accomplishing client engagement.
The general purpose of a client satisfaction feedback survey is to assess how satisfied your clients are with different aspects of your service. Identifying unhappy clients is just as important as identifying extremely happy ones – your future advocates.
A client satisfaction feedback survey is a great way to judge client loyalty. When clients point out the services they like and dislike, they also reveal what makes them remain loyal clients. Learning the reasons for client loyalty or the impediments to loyalty is the secret to longevity for every successful financial services business.
Communicate and connect: 5 tips that should be on your client loyalty marketing checklist
- Communication calendar – even if your clients don’t contact you between review meetings, be proactive with your communication Consider adopting a communication calendar to manage client engagement and create opportunities to upsell and cross-sell.
- Company newsletter – a company newsletter is a simple and cost-effective way of retaining clients. You can use email automation to send updates, promotions or news to all of your clients at once. And you can send the email using an RSS feed on a designated frequency, so you don’t have to manually update the content. Even though it’s simple, newsletters remind clients of your brand every time they open their inbox.
- Use email – each email you send can reinforce client loyalty and retention. This is still a very effective way to engage further with clients and to create more touchpoints. You should create data segments based on specific areas of advice that will be important to them. For example, any client in their early 50s would benefit from receiving information about how to access their pension pot or what considerations are important in the run-up to their retirement date.
- Market to your clients’ interests – whenever we talk about client loyalty and retention, one thing is clear: your marketing collateral must be aligned with your clients’ needs and wants. If you’re looking to improve retention rates, you’re not going to achieve this by sending existing clients emails, blogs or social media posts which have nothing to do with the things which initially drew them to your business in the first place. Or, if you’re thinking about trying out some new content on your blog or social media channels, it’s important that you assess why your followers liked your content in the first place. Is the new content that you want to post going to add further value and be relevant to them?
- Nurture your clients – lifecycle marketing is the discipline of marketing to your existing clients, based on their current status and future aspirations. There are two important lessons here. One, don’t ever stop engaging once they become a client. Two, don’t treat all clients equally. That means you should communicate very differently with a client that is nearing retirement age compared to a client that is starting a family or looking to grow their business.
Want to discuss how to keep your clients engaged?
As I’ve said throughout this article, regular, personal communications are key to creating the feeling of a personal connection that persuades clients to stay loyal. For more information about how Goldmine Media can help your business, talk to a member of our Business Development Team on 0845 686 0055, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oliver Taylor, Head of Sales & Marketing, Goldmine Media
Source: Research data AFH Wealth Management 2019.