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Listen to your clients: BTO Group

While many advisers list client relationships as a top priority, too few are adopting specific strategies and tools to take on-board client demands, Steven Skinner of BTO Group has warned.

"Planners generally don't do a very good job of surveying their clients," Mr Skinner told ifa. "They often say they have their clients' best interests at heart but if they surveyed more regularly and took feedback on-board it would have a positive impact on their business," he said. 

The comments follow a post published by Mr Skinner on LinkedIn yesterday in which he said understanding clients' true wants and needs is "the key to gaining a competitive advantage."

“This requires a systematic attempt to track client preferences, desires, requirements and outcomes,” he said. “You can’t know too much about your clients.”

Developing a strategic approach to canvassing client wants and needs, has the dual benefit of helping to “increase existing service levels” as well as “develop new services.”

Specifically, Mr Skinner recommends adopting use of reverse seminars, market research, user groups, client satisfaction indexes, and attending client industry meetings, as tools to better listen to clients.

It is also advisable to meet with senior executives from your dealer group, he said, ensuring that dealers help you to implement client feedback procedures.

“Does your dealer group survey all your clients on a regular basis?” Mr Skinner asks. “If not, then how do you know if service levels are improving or not?”

"Dealer groups could do a lot more in this space," he said.