Sometimes asking clients for their feedback feels like the equivalent of asking 'how do you like me so far'? It generates a response, but isn't always the right question.
For someone who has devoted her entire professional life to helping advisors understand – and act on - the needs of their clients, this might be an odd way to start a post. However, I don't think that asking for client feedback is your biggest priority right now.
There is a time and place for client feedback, but right now, I’d suggest we need to ask for client input instead of client feedback.
Suggesting client input over client feedback is a bit like saying you love one of your children more, because Absolute Engagement is actively involved in helping advisors do both. I think it's important to make a distinction between the two, to help you choose the right path for your business.
Let's start with a definition.
Client feedback allows you to measure your progress over time but doesn't always tell you how to improve. Client input, however, allows you to intentionally design a client experience that is truly engaging, profound and meaningful.
Let me use a rather extreme example to make a point.
Neither scenario is bad. In fact, both are important for different reasons. So let's apply the same thinking to client experience.
If you're focused on gathering feedback, you might ask clients to rate their level of satisfaction with the relationship. If it's high, you'll pat yourself on the back (as you should). But if it's lower than you would like, it's hard to know what to do about it.
If, instead, you ask clients for input on their needs, expectations, concerns and challenges, you have everything you need to design a client experience that will actually lead to higher satisfaction. More than that, you have what you need to drive deeper engagement.
So with that as context, here's my thinking.
At a time when things are uncertain, when emotions are high and when change is constant, client input is more helpful and more meaningful than client feedback.
But remember, it’s not your clients' job to offer their input; it’s your job to ask and respond. Maybe then we earn the right to ask for their feedback.
Thanks for stopping by,
P.S. We're rolling out a series of webinars that are tailored for different groups of our clients. The first RIA Insights Panel, Can Client Experience be a True Differentiator? will be on May 6 at 4:00 ET. We're bringing together a powerhouse panel of some of the most progressive RIAs across the country to discuss and debate the issue and to share what's working in their businesses. Look out for your invitation to register!