Steal These 5 Client Engagement Examples
A crucial component of client success is ensuring they are fully engaged in the financial planning and investment process.
Unlike other industries, a client engagement strategy is more nuanced and hinges on building a strong, often personal, client relationship.
To get a better idea of what your advisory firm can do to boost engagement and client retention, let’s better define what engagement looks like. Then, we can dig into actionable examples your firm can start using today.
What does client engagement look like?
Your clients don’t need to exemplify every engagement level on this list. However, these are common signs that you have engaged clients. These traits or actions highlight how involved a client is in their success.
It’s also important to note that levels of engagement will change based on the client’s journey. In the beginning, clients may be revving to get started. But gradually, the interest may decrease, especially over the first two years.
Present During Planning
Engaging clients begins at the very start of the process and carries over from year to year. The initial meeting may appear to bolster client engagement, but the decline can be steep once you hash out initial goals.
When a client is engaged, they are fully present during the planning sessions. They not only pay attention to your explanations and ask questions, but they also are quick to provide details about their financial wellness and expectations. However, once these items are settled, it’s easy for a client to fall into complacency. This can lower client satisfaction, as it becomes difficult for the advisor to make changes to the financial plan or make recommendations without knowing the client’s current state.
As a result, you need ways to keep the client aware of your plans and want to participate. Ensuring that their input is essential to client success encourages them to remain engaged.
Another headache for many advisors is ensuring that they take your advice. You can detail all the investment best practices and products, but if your client doesn’t act on them, they will have a lower client experience.
While you can’t force someone to take action, it’s important to note that this issue is strongly linked to client engagement. A highly engaged client is eager to take the initiative and follow your recommendations. They respond in a reasonable amount of time and may even keep you updated on the results.
Meanwhile, disengaged client doesn’t see action on their part as an aspect of client success. They may agree to take your advice but then fail to do so.
Another example of client engagement is whether or not your client asks questions. You may feel that they trust you if a client doesn’t ask questions. But that’s not always the case.
Engaged clients want to know what’s going on with their portfolio and how you’re reacting to market shifts. Not every client will ask the same amount of questions, but any proactive interaction suggests that your client is invested in the experience and their success.
As you respond to clients and raise their confidence, you build client loyalty and boost retention. You also keep that engagement going.
Responding to Communications
Depending on your marketing and client service model, you may send regular check-ins via emails, phone calls, or texts.
Clients responding to your emails can indicate engagement in the process. Even though clients don’t need to regularly check their portfolios or manage investments, many appreciate regular communications. This isn’t just follow-up reminders but news about the market, your approach, or even life updates.
Creative client engagement examples from advisory firms
Personalized Content: Wealth Health, LLC
A pillar of superior client experience (and engagement) is personalization. Relevant content is more likely to be read, and clients will appreciate it.
Wealth Health uses a personalized content strategy for both client engagement and acquisition. Rather than a single blog, Wealth Health offers several content categories based on client interest. For example, investors can choose to receive content about retirement, tax, estate planning, or all of the above.
Newsletters: Performance Wealth
A common engagement model is frequent email communication. However, these messages can pile up and frustrate clients who lose track of them, accidentally delete them, or don’t even see the message because it’s in their spam folder. Furthermore, retired clients may prefer reading a traditional newsletter with graphs, economic overviews, and other long-form content.
Performance Wealth allows potential and existing clients to download prior newsletters from their website. This client engagement strategy enables clients to always be able to find relevant and in-depth financial updates and showcase their authority to new clients. Building client loyalty can begin before they even schedule a call – and this trust translates into more engaged clients.
Videos: John Lindquist, CPA
Not all clients learn the same way. Therefore, when you’re educating your client about investments, financial planning, or another service, it can help to have a few different approaches. Videos can offer another level of engagement for many clients. These can be customized to specific clients, but more often, it’s helpful to have general videos about market news, regulations, or other topics.
Advisor John Lindquist, CPA offers an entire video section on his website that covers various topics, from how to prepare for retirement to social security. Most of these videos aren’t long, either – 2-3 minutes can suffice.
Use Visuals: Bedel Financial
Engaged clients understand the rationale behind your recommendations. However, since financial decisions can be complex, successfully describing your decisions in layman’s terms can be challenging. This is where visuals come in.
There are several ways to simplify financial data and regulations. Graphs, charts, and portfolio-market comparisons all support a better client experience. Infographics can also do a solid job of educating a potential or existing client. For example, Bedel Financial showcases infographics on their Client Resources page that simplify topics like account contribution limits, tax benefits, and education savings.
The best part is that it’s easy to reuse these examples as part of client acquisition or brand awareness. A potential client may see these infographics in general newsletters, social media, or even as visual aids during a webinar.
Worksheets: Summit Financial
Another tool to boost client interaction is worksheets. In the past, advisory firms have listed PDF risk assessment questionnaires on their website. But as this process gets more interactive and streamlined, some advisory firms are offering supplemental resources.
Summit Financial provides an array of worksheets for wealth management and investment advisory clients. These include a cash flow worksheet, data gathering checklist, fraud protection tips, and market returns during election years. Clients may choose to fill out these forms on their own or work together with an advisor. At the same time, potential clients may use these forms and decide they want to work with an advisor to navigate them.
This effective client engagement strategy encourages clients to take control of their finances without forcing them to do the heavy lifting of organization and research.
6 Ways to Boost Client Engagement
1. Personalized Communication
One of the struggles of scaling client communication is using general, mass-market language. It’s difficult to foster client loyalty if the client feels you are not focused on them. And without that fundamental trust, client churn rises.
Clients know that you’re sending an email to your entire list – but they don’t want to feel that way. Simple, small efforts at personalization can build trust and, as a result, boost your retention rate. Furthermore, this approach is no longer time-consuming. Automation enables advisors to rapidly personalize messages.
You may even take it a step further. For example, you could segment your client list based on demographics and then write email content based on their specific interests. This can be as easy as sending a relevant news article that your clients may find valuable.
2. Regular Check-ins
Client communication is essential. However, it can be a time-consuming activity, and manual follow-ups are hardly scalable. That said, failing to check in regularly not only disengages clients, but can increase churn. It also makes it difficult to measure how invested your clients are in the process—although we can assume they aren’t involved unless they are proactive.
Ideally, your advisors should be able to easily get a pulse on client sentiment towards the firm and the market. One way to do this is through automated surveys. For example, Nitrogen’s check-up feature sends two simple questions: One about how they feel about the market and one about their financial future. Clients only have to respond positively or negatively. These answers, combined with the client’s risk tolerance, make it a cinch to prioritize client communications and maintain engagement.
3. Easy Explanations
A common sign of client disengagement is not acting upon advice, showing literal interest, or taking a long time to provide answers. There are several potential reasons for this behavior, but one of the most common is a lack of understanding.
Many clients can’t easily conceptualize financial plans and the math behind them. Even using a static spreadsheet to show income every year for forty or fifty years may be enough to make their eyes glaze over.
Finding ways to simplify explanations and visual representations can help re-engage clients. Not only will they better understand you during a meeting, but they may better retain the information. This, in turn, builds trust and encourages clients to take part in the process.
4. Family Meetings
Unless you are working with a family of one, your clients most likely have parents, spouses, and children who will be affected by their financial plans. Including family members in advisory meetings offers another level of transparency and fosters important conversations. These touchstone meetings may promote additional engagement, either through more meetings, questions, or accountability for promptly providing information.
5. Focus on Long-term Goals
Frequent market shifts can stress clients and cause their confidence to waver. If this happens, they may urgently request meetings and portfolio details. Failing to quell stressors can cause clients to lose trust and begin to disengage.
While it’s important to review short-term market shifts, keeping focused on the long-term goals can help you maintain positive engagement.
Even during fairly peaceful periods or bull markets, focusing on long-term goals and portfolio growth can also encourage clients to update you on life events and financial changes.
6. Go beyond the numbers
Many clients hire an advisor with the belief that they’ll only be discussing money. And perhaps that’s true of some client relationships. However, advisors often better engage clients and understand their needs when looking beyond budgets and savings goals. Learning who your client is as a person enables you to better anticipate their reactions to the market, recognize opportunities, and build trust.
When you focus on the individual rather than just the portfolio, you become a trusted part of the client’s team.
Tap into More Client Engagement Strategies
Discovering an engagement model that works for you is more than quickly implementing these examples. Ideally, you should use a client engagement strategy that your clients would enjoy.
To learn more about fostering successful client engagement, check out our guide on client engagement strategies.