In 2017, financial agents are competing, tooth and nail, to attract and retain their client base. How can you offer an experience that makes your clients want to continue doing business with you? If you’re thinking “create a killer social media strategy and offer the best combination of products, service, and advice on the market”, you’re not wrong. But, there is a critical aspect of fostering customer engagement, which leads to loyalty, that you may have forgotten in the increasingly digital world. That is offering top-notch customer service.
Even the most professional and engaging digital presence will be rendered ineffective if you can’t make your clients feel at home. If your clients meet you in person, they need to feel like they are the center of your world for the brief time they are with you. Remember, your customer’s experience transcends all channels. Offering amazing in-person service is a great way to ensure your clients have an excellent experience with your business.
Here are 4 factors you need to consider when planning an excellent customer experience:
1) Customer Insights
Creating an excellent customer experience is a very difficult task. You need a well-researched, comprehensive understanding of your target audience to create a customer engagement plan that will speak to that particular audience. Competitive analysis, market research, and customer insights are all required to craft your engagement strategy.
To offer an excellent experience, you must plan the “buyer’s journey” from discovery to purchase. To do this, you will have to identify the prospective customer’s pain points and plan the touchpoints in which you will interact with that customer.
If you have been struggling to collect the requisite data about your customers, you should check out our article: You don’t know your customer…. because you haven’t asked. In that article, we discuss the intricacies behind gathering the customer data needed to plan a comprehensive marketing strategy.
If you have all the information about your customers, you can plan experiences and content that will speak to their unique needs and interests. If you attempt to craft a plan without that information, your content and experiences might not be engaging to your customer. Your content needs to be targeted to the specific stage of their buyer journey.
2) Positive Environment
Part of crafting the ultimate customer experience involves ensuring your customers feel comfortable when they come visit you. As a financial agent, you are dealing with some of your client’s most sensitive issues and information. To offer an excellent customer experience, you should ensure that your clients feel comfortable talking to you about anything.
How can you set a positive environment in your business? It’s easy. First, focus on providing a clean, organized, welcoming space to meet clients. It’s human nature to want to be somewhere clean and organized, so ensure that your office is tidy. Every space, from the entrance to your desk, should be immaculate.
There are other factors to consider when creating a positive environment. Always make eye contact and use friendly words to promote a relationship with your clients. This level of respect should be used in all aspects of your business. Ensure that your web presence conveys the same friendliness and willingness to help. If you set a positive tone at every touchpoint, your customers will feel welcome when engaging with your business.
Creating a space where your clients feel comfortable reduces a significant amount of friction in your relationship. If your client feels respected, well looked after and maybe even pampered (a little bit), they will remember. The feeling of quality service will stick with them, giving them an increased sense of loyalty to your business.
Transparency is a key facet of customer engagement, especially in financial services. If you are transparent with your customers, it will aid your efforts creating a positive environment and garnering trust. 56 percent of participants surveyed by Label Insights said that more product information inspires more trust in a brand. Additionally, 94 percent of participants said they would be loyal to a brand that offers complete transparency.
If you are open and honest with your clients, they will grow to trust you. This is very important if you want to develop long-term relationships with your clients.
Being totally transparent while staying compliant can be difficult. A lack of transparency is usually attributed to poor communication, rather than malice. That won’t matter to customers. To maintain healthy relationships with your client base you must prioritize transparency in all your communications. How can you do that?
Be upfront and honest when answering questions from clients. Be straightforward about your fees, and explain what benefits you will provide (and how you will provide those benefits). Nobody wants to be surprised with an unexpected fee. If you are forthcoming about how each party will profit from the relationship, you can gain your client’s trust.
If you can make transparency a goal, especially in financial services, you can differentiate yourself from the competition and become a trusted source of information for your clients. This will help engage your client base, leading to a more fruitful relationship for both parties.
To foster customer loyalty through engagement, you should be available for your clients (nearly) around the clock. Even if they cannot make direct contact with you, your business should offer channels in which customers can look for information any hour of the day. If you are not available when your client base needs you to be, there will be friction between you and your client base.
In order to be readily available for your clients, you should have a web presence with informational content available on demand. This content could be in the form of video, audio, blog posts, white papers, ebooks or any other type of content you can use to convey accurate information. We wrote an article about 5 Types of Content to Boost Your Advisor Website Traffic. If you’re looking for content ideas, I highly recommend taking a look!
If your website has informational content that speaks to the needs of your client base, you can keep your audience engaged. In fact, creating content for your website is beneficial to both your clients and prospective clients. After all, content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about 3 times as many leads.
By creating informational content, you offer your current clients information when they want it while demonstrating your knowledge to prospective clients. It’s a great method to engage your current customers while growing your client base.
For more information on creating excellent content check out our article: Introduction to Content Marketing for Financial Advisors
Or read our ebook: How Financial Advisors can use Content Marketing to Boost Website Traffic
Are you using any of these tactics to engage your clients? If you are let us know on Twitter @VeridayHQ. As always, thank you for reading. Have an excellent day!