3 scalable moves RIAs can make to deepen client relationships

3 scalable moves RIAs can make to deepen client relationships

Olivia Tromm | August 9, 2017

The client experience is becoming an increasingly important topic and when advisors ask me how their peers are setting their client experience apart, one story comes to mind.

An advisor team recently told me about an encounter they had with one of their clients, an elderly woman who had little family left in the area, but who was actively involved in her local church community. Their faces beamed with fulfillment as they explained that for this particular touch base, they decided to attend a church event their client had helped to orchestrate. They did this instead of meeting with her in their office or at a restaurant like they typically did. On the night of the big event, when she saw her trusted advisors follow through on their RSVP and enter the church hall, she couldn’t hide her excitement. She began enthusiastically introducing them to her church family. The advisor team explained what a “feel good” moment this was for them, and how important their decision to participate in this facet of her life was when it came to deepening their relationship with her.

The client experience is becoming an increasingly important topic and when advisors ask me how their peers are setting their client experience apart, this story comes to mind. What this advisor team did was subtle, but fundamental in exceeding expectations of today’s client: They met the client where they were. They stepped into their client’s life and shared an experience that was uniquely hers.

We understand that not all of us can take time to meet with clients physically in their natural settings, especially if they are located across the country. We simply invite you to take us up on three challenges that will help you be where your clients are and deepen relationships with them. All without having to leave your office.

This month: Take a 15-minute social networking break each morning

Where are your clients when they are not meeting you in your office? There is a good chance they are on social media. About 70% of U.S. adults are leveraging social media to share updates with friends, family, and acquaintances—and they are logging in regularly. About 75% of Facebook users access the site at least once per day—and these aren’t only your millennial clients.1 Adults over 65 are the fastest-growing user cohort on Facebook!2 Sunayna Tuteja, Director of Digital Engagement at TD Ameritrade, describes how TD Ameritrade efforts have evolved in response to the uptick in social media usage across our client base. “We’ve made a concerted effort to push the envelope by aggressively embracing and engaging in a variety of social media channels. Why? It’s simple. We want to be where our clients are.”

Many advisors express the most difficult part about engaging with clients on social media is getting started and finding the time to create content. I’ll let you in on a secret—the foundational content is there! Your clients and prospective clients are the authors and by connecting with you, they are inviting you into a conversation focused exclusively on their passions, interests, and family life. Take 15 minutes a day to like, comment, respond, and post about the items they find important.

This quarter: Surprise five clients with a thoughtful delivery

One of my friends explained to me that in order to make her slower summer months at her place of employment more enjoyable, she strategically orders packages and has them delivered to her work address throughout the week. “I know Wednesday is going to be a good day,” she told me. “I am getting a delivery!” You might be thinking shoes, jewelry, or handbags. No, the packages contained ordinary household items that most of us would go to Walmart to get as part of a regular shopping trip. For her, the afternoon delivery was just what she needed to pick up her level of motivation and carry her through the rest of the day on a high note. Is she crazy? I thought back to how I felt when my Amazon order of cleaning supplies arrived at my house a few months ago—admittedly, there was an element of excitement. Then I thought about how I feel when a package is sent to me from someone else, is unexpected, and isn’t meant for me to clean the house!

Consider how you can surprise your clients with a personalized gift or handwritten note when they are least expecting it. Use this as an opportunity to celebrate them and their continued partnership with you and your team.

This year: Extend your real estate footprint to your clients’ smartphones

If you want to be where your clients are, their smartphones present a tremendous opportunity. Consumers are spending on average five hours per day on their mobile devices and are now spending more time on apps than they are watching TV screens in their living rooms.3 Greg Menefee, Director of Consulting at TD Ameritrade, explains that “For most of us, smartphones have made doing business with companies far easier. This ease of doing business has caused me to reprioritize who I do and don’t do business with.” Advisors I speak with feel like they are meeting clients expectations by providing access to portfolio and financial planning information online, but the information needs to be accessible on a mobile device.

Check with your existing technology providers to see if they provide a means for your clients to engage with their financial data via an app. Tamarac™ (coming soon) and Orion Advisor Services are two examples of Veo® integrated technology providers who give advisor teams the option to make a firm-branded app available to clients. Additionally, TD Ameritrade provides an iPhone® app to your clients, showing them key financial information related to their relationship with you and even offering them a way to deposit checks.

“The way I see it, all advisors are going to have an app for their clients. Some will be early adopters, the rest will get tired of answering the question from new clients, ‘How do I download your app?’ Advisors’ next ‘20-year client’ is going to expect this kind of instant information access, and advisors who don’t provide it will be missing an opportunity to elevate the client experience,” Menefee says.

The client experience is becoming increasingly important, and firms who are fiercely competing on it know that you have to be where your clients are. How are you elevating your client experience and meeting your clients where they are?

TD Ameritrade urges you to consult with your compliance and legal counsel prior to engaging in social media or marketing generally. Tamarac™ and Orion Advisor Services are separate from and not affiliated with TD Ameritrade, Inc. and are not responsible for each other’s services or products.

Veo Integrated is an indication of programming compatibility. It does not imply any TD Ameritrade, Inc. recommendation of, endorsement of, warranty of, or fitness for use of Tamarac’s or Orion’ products or services.

iPhone and iTunes are trademarks of Apple, Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. App Store is a service mark of Apple, Inc.

1 Pew Research Center surveys http://www.pewinternet.org/fact-sheet/social-media/
2 Pew Research Center surveys, 2005-2015.
3 Flurry Analytics, comScore, Facebook, N