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Having a robust client experience strategy will become increasingly important for investor acquisition and retention
July 2019, Boston—To remain competitive, advisors must develop a strategy to reliably deliver an exceptional
client experience, finds Cerulli Associates, a global research and consulting firm. Creative client segmentation,
intergenerational engagement, client recognition and appreciation, and the development of a holistic client perspective
are areas advisors should consider innovating with the help of their strategic partners.
Creative client segmentation methods are coming into play at many successful advisory practices, primarily through
technology. “Nearly 60% of experience-centric practices use technology to automate client interactions, which includes
building client personas, helping advisors draw a direct connection between the client’s perspective and the approach
they prefer,” says Marina Shtyrkov, research analyst at Cerulli. “By segmenting their client base into client personas,
advisors can automate workflows and optimize engagement opportunities.”
Advisors are also seeking new opportunities to engage younger investors—including clients’ children and heirs—given
their aging client bases. In response, many broker/dealers already encourage their advisorforces to form teams and
integrate next-generation advisors into their practices. “Clients who work with integrated, effective multi-advisor
teams appreciate feeling like they have an entire team of specialists at their disposal,” adds Shtyrkov. This type of intergenerational engagement can help stem attrition when a client passes away and the beneficiary chooses a different advisor.
Cerulli finds that relationship nurturing can also enrich the client experience. “Experience-centric advisors, in particular,
recognize that client relationships form the backbone of their business and nurturing them requires dedicated acts
of appreciation, which can be delivered in various manners,” Shtyrkov explains. While many advisors host client
appreciation events, experience-centric practices focus on the kind, unexpected gestures that engender joy, trust, and loyalty. Round-the-clock availability is not always feasible, but extended access—especially in case of crisis or emergency—creates a sense of on-demand support. Recognition of clients’ key life events, transitions, and milestones can also add a profoundly meaningful touch.
The adoption of comprehensive financial planning continues to grow among advisors. On average, advisors expect
to expand comprehensive financial planning services to more than half (55%) of their clients by 2020, increasing from only one-third of their client base in 2013. “However, as the adoption of holistic planning grows, strategic partners should consider how their planning tools can be adapted to varying levels of ability, interest, and need among advisors,” says Shtyrkov. “Modularized or ‘light’ planning tools make it easier for advisors to incorporate financial planning into conversations with more clients.”
These findings and more are from the 3Q 2019 issue of The Cerulli Edge—U.S. Advisor Edition, which explains the need for a well-planned strategy, supported by technology and a deep understanding of clients’ needs, to lessen attrition and help ensure the advisory relationship evolves during a client’s lifetime.
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