March 26, 2013
- Director, Strategic Relationships, TD Ameritrade Institutional
“This post is contributed by George Tamer, Director of Institutional Sales, TD Ameritrade. George delivered a presentation during the TD Ameritrade Institutional Conference on the topic of client service.”
$528,000.1 This is the lifetime value of a client. Are you willing to lose a client if this is what it costs? Most clients leave due to service breakdowns. These service breakdowns might not happen in the ways you expect. Sometimes it’s as simple as:
• A product or service did not do what it was
expected to do
• A promise was not kept
• A deadline was missed
For every client complaint you might receive, there are twenty-six2 that you didn’t hear about. Also, a negative client experience is more likely to be shared than a good one. Unhappy clients will talk about negative experiences with their friends. In fact, a dissatisfied client will tell an average of twelve3 people about their experience.
These clients can be called “Madvocates.”4 The three demographic groups most likely to spread bad news about your brand are the affluent (30%), women (25%), and young adults (25%).4 These are your current and future clients!
It is critical to define your service model and set service expectations with your clients. Once you’ve accomplished that, the secret to delivering great service is fairly simple. Here are 3 steps that you can follow to help close the gap between service expectations and client service experiences:
#1) Hire service-minded people
#2) Have a service process in place for being proactive
#3) Implement appropriate technologies to make service efficient and scalable
Once you define your clients’ service experience based on what they value most, work to standardize it so it can be scalable and repeatable. Also, determine if you have the right fee structure and resources in place to deliver on the expectations you’ve set.
Another way you can increase the efficiency of your service model is to segment your client base. Consider using a CRM (Client Relationship Manager) system to standardize your client on-boarding experience while also documenting and tracking your clients’ service experience.
Lastly, make sure you are empowering your team to implement your service plan and consider aligning compensation with that plan. Your employees need to clearly understand the expectations and process for delivering your service plan.
We all make mistakes. If you or someone on your team does make a mistake, remember that service recovery is just as important as great service.
Creating a service culture within your firm will position you to successfully support your best clients, increase your client service capacity, and turn a failure into recovery and redemption.
1 2012 Figures based on internal analysis by TD Ameritrade Institutional Business & Analytics
2 Lee Resources, Inc.
3 White House Office of Consumer Affairs, Washington, DC
4 Findings are from a survey conducted by COLLOQUY, Dec 2010 and published in the whitepaper titled “Urban Legends: Word-of-Mouth Myths, Madvocates and Champions, issued in March 2011.