As an RIA, what makes your firm stand out among the rest? There’s a lot of competition and it’s increasing every day, so just being an independent firm with a smiling face and a fair price isn’t enough. You’ve got to have something extra to set yourself apart. Operational efficiency can be that something extra.
Customer Service Isn’t the Only Way
Customer service is obviously critical when working with your clients. It’s important to greet them with a warm smile, offer them refreshments and generally make them feel comfortable. There’s no getting around it. But if your customer service experience stops there you may be missing on a large part of it. Even with that perfect greeting, your workflows and systems may lead to delays, mistakes or cumbersome interactions with the client.
Let’s be clear that I'm not diluting the power of front-end customer service, but that focus isn’t enough on its own.
As an IT professional, when I think of operational efficiency and how it contributes to the client experience, I think about everything from the initial contact a client has (as a prospect) through their entire time as a client. To demonstrate how operational efficiency can impact the client experience, let’s look at the onboarding experience provided by two different firms:
- Firm 1: The new client fills out and signs electronic forms, and, with a couple of clicks, opens new accounts and transfers others (and they could even have done it all from the comfort of their home!).
- Firm 2: The new client meets with an advisor and they decide they need to open a new account and transfer a few others. The advisor notifies their operations team who has to prepare the paperwork; then the client either needs to sign the paperwork by coming back to the office or by faxing or mailing the paperwork back. After all of the back and forth with fax and mail, it can take the firm days or even weeks to process and open the accounts.
Both firms could have the same warm environment, but which client has a better experience? Probably the one in the first example because the firm has the systems in place to process their paperwork more efficiently, allowing the client to save valuable time.
Of course, this is an oversimplified example of one process, but RIAs are full of processes that impact client experiences. What systems does your firm have in place that improve operational efficiency, and thereby the client experience? Do you have processes that require a lot of back and forth with clients, or inefficiencies that cause the client to wait? Ultimately, that can make the difference in the impressions clients have about your firm.
At Trumpet, we love helping firms (especially operations folks!) enjoy the way they work. And when we’re successful, we help the RIA firm leverage their technology to deliver an even better client experience.
If you're looking to update to invest in new technology, make sure to download our Technology Toolkit, 5 tools to help you select and implement the right technology for your firm.