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The most successful advisors are continually looking for ways to improve their offerings while helping more people. When those advisors ask us, “What do investors really want from their advisor?” we respond with…

  • Just ask them directly for honest feedback
  • And give them an opportunity to respond anonymously as well

Just Ask
About three years ago we rolled out a new way to gather input from clients called a Feedforward session. Feedforward sessions are designed to help advisors understand what their clients value about the experience they have already received and provide insights into how advisors may deliver a more compelling service going forward.

Advisors who have employed the Feedforward approach have learned of different ways they could help their clients, with the 360 LifeMap being a great catalyst in those conversations. In addition to better helping clients, Feedforward sessions also uncovered opportunities to help more people — namely new investors that current clients believed could benefit from a conversation with their advisor.

Anonymous Feedback
For greater insights into investor opinions, about 18 months ago we launched an Investor Survey with Dimensional Fund Advisors. This survey was an opportunity for advisors to gather anonymous data from their clients, and then benchmark how their clients rated them vs. other advisors. The Survey received almost 19,000 responses in 20171 which helped more than 400 firms determine where they could improve their client experience.

In analyzing the data, we uncovered seven areas that advisors should focus their energy on:

  1. Attributes: What clients seek from an advisor
  2. Value: What clients expect from their advisor
  3. Fears: What clients worry most about and how you should respond
  4. Services: Align what you offer with client needs
  5. Education: Provide more impactful financial information
  6. Meetings: How often and where
  7. Referrals: Help clients better help others

We published an Insights report on the study for advisors who work with Loring Ward. To get the full details of the report, reach out to a member of your Loring Ward Advisor Relations team.

An Integrated Approach that Helps Clients and Your Business
We believe getting input from clients is an important aspect of the client-advisor relationship. It’s so important we’ve incorporated it into the client-advisor process called Design | Build | Protect.

Under the Protect phase, “Assess” includes focusing on your clients’ progress toward their goals, whether you have met their expectations, and where to improve in the future.

From a business standpoint, gathering input from your clients can help you address three key challenges many advisors report facing in their business2:

  • Systematizing Workflows: Determining which part of the experience can be enhanced or automated.
  • Developing & Implementing a Marketing Strategy: Clarifying the real value clients perceive (vs. guessing) and developing a client service strategy
  • Differentiation: Learning how your clients believe you’re different from other offerings in the marketplace

Next Steps
Assessing how you can help current clients and new clients in more compelling ways is critical to the long-term viability of an advisory business. In the end, investors hire advisors for their insights, experience, and consulting — not for their financial or investment products. Understanding the key drivers in delivering a more compelling experience can lead to higher client satisfaction, advocacy, and, ultimately, growth.

In a future blog post, learn why so many advisors are falling short in helping more people.

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1 “Global Investor Insights.” Dimensional, us.dimensional.com/2017-investor-survey-insights.

2 2017/2016 Loring Ward/Dimensional Fund Advisors Benchmarking Studies

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