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Are you truly being served?

‘Financial services’ contains service in the name, but are you truly being served?

This is a piece written the other way round to usual insights from me. Usually, I would like to focus on how you can help your clients and how to offer them a better service and shout about it.

Today, however, I’m looking at us (financial planners) as the clients. We are all clients to someone: mortgage lenders, designer footwear brands, fried chicken shops (in my case), and so on.

The service we receive as clients can sometimes make us reflect on the service that we offer to our clients. Today is one of those days.

Here are two things I know for sure:

1. Great service makes you feel, well, great!

I’ve been thinking today about the most important thing that financial planners offer to their clients.

It has to be the service. No problem can ever be too big to solve, and nothing can ever, ever be too much trouble.

Without your clients, you have nothing. And without good service, you risk having no clients.

That’s why it’s extremely pleasing to see the levels of service that I see from financial planners every single day. I know that none of your clients are likely to feel this way, due to the excessive levels of service that financial planning offers.

2. Being treated like a schmuck hurts

We’ve all had those days where you spend time endlessly waiting on the phone to a utilities provider because something has gone wrong. You start to imagine the one million things you could be doing, other than sitting there listening to a Bach concerto whilst an automated voice tells you that you can do all of this online.

It just so happens that today I’ve spent valuable time (multi-tasking with other tasks I’ve had to complete) on the phone to a large gas and electric provider. This issue has been ongoing for nine months, and I’m not going to bore you with the details, but it really shouldn’t have taken that long.

Today, I’ve been degraded, made to feel stupid, lied to, told different accounts, shouted at and hung up on. Oh, and the problem still isn’t resolved. It hurts. I didn’t feel like a client, I felt like an inconvenience and that I didn’t matter.

It reminded me of being a financial administrator and calling some big insurance companies on behalf of our clients, being told by Laura that the LOA still hasn’t been scanned on to the system, despite being told by Andy a week ago that it had.

It makes you never want to put your clients in that position, ever.

What did I do?

After 4 calls, I didn’t trust any of the information that I have been told. With stuff like this, wrong information can have an impact on your records, so I decided to do a quick google. I searched:

“{XXX energy provider} CEO phone number”

In the next 10 minutes I was through to their executive team and had an executive case handler looking at my complaint, highly apologetic with executive assurances that this will be resolved in the next few working days.

After that call, I felt like a client again. I felt like someone cared and that there was light at the end of the tunnel.

What should we do?

Remember that old sign in barber shops:

“If you don’t like what we do, tell us. If you like what we do, tell others”

Well, screw that. It’s time for us to take back control and bring service in financial services into the 21st century.

Next time Laura from the 125-year-old insurance provider tells you a lie, do not sit and take it. Have confidence and know that you are someone’s client, and without you they would have nothing.

Take it higher, get an executive involved, take it to the press and shout about it to others. Do not rest until it is resolved.

And, before you plan that next big campaign, take a minute to think about your own service, and make sure it never, ever results in anyone feeling like a schmuck.

Dan Graham, NextGen Planners & docVinci

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