If you are like many Financial Advisors who have a team of associates and assistants helping you run your business profitably and efficiently, then you undoubtedly have strategic planning sessions to kick your own tires and identify untapped opportunities, areas for refinement, miscues and the like. Whether these sessions are held weekly, monthly or quarterly in your office or even yearly at an off-site retreat, one of the key points of discussion should be "Do we deserve what we want?" The word de-serve stems from the Latin words "to serve". In other words, is the level of service we provide in proportion to what we expect to earn from our client relationships.
So in your next team meeting, set aside some time to go through this simple process. A Service Matrix is a listing of all the services you provide and identifies which clients receive which services based on their classification. Clearly a Triple-A client will receive every form of service you provide. They deserve it. A Double A client will receive every form of service you provide as well because they could be on the verge of Triple-A status. But a Single-A, B, C or D client will not receive the same level of service. You can't be all things to all people. A Service Matrix ensures you are all things to some people.
Here are the steps to creating a Service Matrix:
- List out all of your proactive and reactive services - everything from call rotations, to thanksgiving cards to review meetings and client events. Get them out of your heads and list them. You'll be shocked and then impressed at the length of the list.
- Identify who on your team provides each service deliverable - let there be no doubt about who is accountable. This is an essential step to consistency and predictability.
- Ensure the services are documented in your Playbook - Empower your staff to document each process into a best-practice and turn it into an intellectual property.
- Apply your client classification - AAA clients receive everything - AA clients receive everything, A, B and C clients receive less
- Be clear about your rules of engagement - identify qualities you hope to attract and traits that you have no interest in going forward
- Recurring services - use a CRM (like the Pareto Toolkit) to create automated processes for recurring activities to create efficiency and ensure nothing falls through the cracks.
They Don't Let Everyone into the Airport Lounge
Once you have done this quick and easy process, be consistent and clear in your execution and communication. You aren't being elitist or disrespectful, you are simply ensuring that your clients receive the level of service they deserve. And along the way you will earn the right to expect your best clients loyalty, empowerment and advocacy.
Be Clear and Forthright and Transparent About How You are Compensated
Getting back to compensation for a moment, in review meetings with existing clients and in fit meetings with prospective clients it is essential that you communicate your compensation in a proactive manner. It's on their minds so take the mystery away by discussing it in a casual yet prepared manner. In the process you can create an aspirational environment when you outline that you have a service matrix and project scarcity because of your approach to providing the highest levels of service to the most deserving clients. It's amazing how much opportunity can be uncovered simply by explaining your code-of-conduct and commitment to best practices.
The Only Down-side
So what do you do when a Single-A client with great assets and a poor attitude and no advocacy discovers that they aren't invited to a client event or don't get taken out for lunch on their birthday. You apologize for not being forthright about your commitment to best practices and that you have a service matrix that ensures that your very best clients receive and enhanced level of service. In other words simply say this:
"I apologize for not being clear about this until now. But I made a decision that I wouldn't try to be all things to all people but rather all things to some people. My most deserving clients are those who fit my ideal client profile based on Assets that fit my expertise, an Attitude that is complementary with mine and a mindset of Advocacy meaning they introduce friends and family members to me as our relationship unfolds. And while you've been a great client in terms of Assets, we've had some issues regarding chemistry and you've never been inclined on the Advocacy side. I should have been more clear about how I pay tribute and say thanks to my Triple-A clients."
Don't be surprised if your Single-A clients says, "That's all it takes to be a Triple-A client. It never occurred to me to introduce people to you because I didn't even know you were accepting new clients. But I want to take our relationship to the next level."
Contributed by: Duncan MacPherson