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The Key to Client Satisfaction and Retention: Managing Expectations

What’s the one thing you need to nail down in order to grow successfully? 

Hint: It’s your client service. 

Unless you’re able to deliver a standardized, repeatable, and scalable level of service, the client experience may begin to suffer over time, stagnating your growth. 

The key to enjoying a long and successful relationship with clients is to set clear expectations from the very beginning, and then deliver on them.  

And while figuring out how to engage with clients effectively is a problem with no single right answer, with a clear understanding of both your and your clients’ goals, you can craft an experience that not only meets their requirements, but exceeds their expectations.

To help you get started, we’ve rounded up a few of our top tips for setting expectations with your clients in order to scale your firm more effectively.


Managing Client Expectations: Where to Begin?

One of the worst mistakes an advisor can make in terms of client relationships is assuming expectations instead of communicating them. Assumptions tend to go unsaid until it’s too late, meaning they can often result in unintentional confusion, frustration, and (in the worst-case scenario) fractured relationships.

Not sure where to start with clarifying and managing expectations? Start with:


1. Clear and Transparent Communication

Financial and investment jargon can be complex, but when it comes to your relationship with clients? Stick to simple terms and easy conversations. 

Make your expectations crystal clear, and be certain you’re both on the same page – and that includes what they can expect from you as well as what you expect from them. Give them the opportunity to ask questions and share their own concerns or expectations.

When possible, put your expectations in writing and make them easily available for both parties to refer back to at any time (share via email or a document storage site, for example). You may even make it mandatory for clients to sign the expectations sheet, to ensure they take it seriously and protect yourself from future misunderstandings or allegations.

Related: Develop an Effective Client Communication Strategy

2. Active Listening

Do you consider yourself a good listener? Unfortunately, most people aren’t as good at listening as they think they are. In fact, only about half of us retain information right after listening to someone speak. After 48 hours? That figure drops to just 25% of listeners.

Engaging in active listening is a skill that requires practice and concentration, but it’s an especially important area for advisors to work on. Some of the most meaningful conversations you’ll have with clients may have nothing to do with their portfolio or finances, but if you’re not listening closely enough, you may miss them.


3. Responsiveness

When a client reaches out to you or your office, do they know when you’ll get back to them? 

People are protective about their money, meaning they can feel especially stressed if they have questions – and they often want answers immediately. So if you take three, four, five or more days to reply, that can be a frustrating and anxiety-inducing experience.

But if you set the expectation from the start of when and how (phone call, email, text, etc.) you’ll respond to questions, you can better ease their concerns.


Client Expectations vs. Their Budget

A large part of your job as a financial advisor is to help your clients understand their fiances and develop realistic expectations of what they’re able to accomplish with what they have. In these instances, it’s a good idea to lean on educational strategies to guide them. 

One especially helpful tool you can use to accomplish this is Nitrogen’s Portfolio Analysis tools, which can model different scenarios and show clients what sort of outcomes they can anticipate based on various decisions made today about their wealth.

Portfolio Analysis can also:

  • Screen for appropriate securities
  • Run stress tests
  • Craft client-centric and customizable reports
  • Provide detailed portfolio statistics

By establishing clear expectations about future performance and the ability to achieve long-term goals can help keep you and your client in alignment moving forward.


Going Beyond the Basics: How to Exceed Client Expectations

With all this talk of how to manage client expectations, now the question is… What can you do to actually exceed your clients’ expectations?

First and foremost, it never hurts to be proactive within your advisor-client relationship. From sending out a spontaneous check-in to providing an unprompted security analysis or keeping their Risk Number in check – there are plenty of steps you can take to let your clients know you’re thinking of them all year round. The more you’re able to do without a client asking, the higher your perceived value will likely be.

In the same vein, find opportunities to personalize your service where possible. You may find it easier to accomplish this by incorporating automation into your firm’s operations and developing pre-made client correspondences that can be easily and quickly customized to address each client individually.

And finally, don’t be afraid to ask others for feedback or advice. Be open to continual evolution and improvement. Talk to your colleagues, attend conferences like the Fearless Investing Summit to connect with your peers, and continue accelerating your offers to improve and perfect them.


Learn More About Nitrogen

Leverage Nitrogen’s sophisticated Portfolio Analysis capabilities to impress even your most financially savvy clients with clear, thoughtful, and comprehensive investment analysis. And to learn more about how others have used Nitrogen to manage and exceed client expectations, check out our success stories today.

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