What does it mean to manage a client relationship?
Our linked author underlines the contrast between management and good customer service, which involves responding to queries, a helping hand and generally making the client happy. Managing the client is not so easy or pleasant and takes a strong, deft hand. In the end, maintaining the relationship for the good of client and company requires the advisor to understand the difference.
First off, a clear understanding must be reached with the client on the goals of your professional relationship. You are not employed to make the client happy, at least in terms of satisfying ever-changing whims or pipe dreams. This understanding must be codified in a legal document. In this case a handshake will never do.
You’ll need to agree on a standard measure of success. Our author mentions a common hot-seat question faced by advisors: ‘if the market is up 10%, why is my portfolio only up 5%?” If market performance is your benchmark, you may be in trouble. But if you’ve agreed to some other performance indicator, this question should never arise: the client should have been properly educated in the matter, by you.
The client also needs to learn a few rules for working with you and your firm. This can be a bit prickly, but clients will usually understand – they have to manage their own lives, too. Hours of operation, numbers they can call, the proper chain of command and so on, all must be clearly presented and agreed up. This process can save real tears later on.
While this advice may seem focused on constraining client behavior, the customer is still king or queen. Proactive involvement is crucial: don’t wait to be asked to offer innovative, individualized financial solutions. Know your client and bring them what they need, before they call you and ask.
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For more information, please read:
What Managing A Client Relationship Means | Financial Advisor