Your biggest competition as a financial advisor is not the advisor down the street or the wirehouses or robos…but companies such as Apple, Lexus, and the Ritz Carlton that have trained the affluent to expect a high level of service and a great client experience. These are the companies that your own client experience is measured against.

An important part of your client experience is your office. Is it comfortable and welcoming? Does it facilitate conversation and education? Is it a place where clients enjoy spending time? Does it make you more referable?

As experience expert Dennis Moseley-Williams, founder of DMW Strategic Consulting, asks: “What would you have to do [to your office] to charge people admission to get in? What can you do to make a meeting with you more engaging and satisfying and memorable?”

At Loring Ward’s recent National Education Conference, we built out an office of tomorrow, incorporating some of the latest best practices that forward-thinking, experience-driven advisors have implemented in their own offices. This office included a reception area, conference room, and advisor office. While not every space will allow for these three distinct areas, many of these features can be incorporated into a two- or one-room office.

Reception Area of Tomorrow

This is your clients’ first impression of your office, and you want it to be as welcoming and comfortable as possible.

Some things to consider…

Art by Local Artists – Great conversation piece and shows that you support the arts in your community

Wifi Code – A thoughtful touch that helps clients stay connected.

Videos on Television – Tune out CNBC and feature soothing videos (available through Netflix or YouTube) such as aquariums, nature seasons, fireworks for July 4, and fireplaces in winter.

Welcome Screen at Reception – Make clients feel welcome with a personal digital greeting on an iPad or small monitor. Also a great opportunity to highlight any upcoming events.

Comfortable Seating – Should allow for flexible arrangements and be easy for seniors to get in/out of.

Magazines/Books – Reading material at reception should be non-financial and focused on lifestyle and other general interest topics. Should also be current. Coffee table books are also a good choice.

Beverage & Snack Menu with your Logo – Provide a great experience with a menu of drinks and snacks. Consider featuring seasonal “specials” as well as anything made locally.

You may not be ready to completely transform your office right now, but even implementing just a couple of these ideas can improve your client experience.

Future blog posts will feature ideas for your conference room and office.