If you have purchased an Apple iPhone and marveled at the box it came in, you have experienced the strategy smart marketers are using to differentiate themselves: never missing an opportunity to wow their customers.
Consider it a metaphor for your practice: holding onto your best clients and attracting the most valuable new ones requires you to find new ways to “wow” them, even in the simplest interactions you may have neglected in the past. Every time you interact with your best clients you need to recognize them, providing them concierge level services and experiences that will make them want to come back for more.
It’s customer service on a level that goes beyond the standard client events that, frankly, many of your best clients don’t have time to attend. The experiences you put together for your very best clients should generate the same feeling about you and your team as they have about a solidly built, neatly assembled iPhone box they feel guilty throwing away.
Amazingly, Apple CEO Steve Jobs and 16 Apple designers were awarded a patent in 2007 for the iPhone box that was designed to present the phone to its purchaser like an expensive watch with all accessories and instructions hidden from site.
In applying this to your customers, think of the simplest things you can provide that makes them feel they are receiving special treatment. What is your iPhone box?
To start, you need to identify your best customers, a process that can be more complex than you think. We all know the 80/20 rule where 20 percent of your customers will account for 80 percent of your results. The key is to identify the clients who are in that 20 percent or play a role in the most successful clients you are working with.
There are many obvious ways to aggregate them: commissions generated, fees paid and assets under management are the easy ones to identify. But, there are other elements of a top client you should consider such as their ability to refer other top clients, the growth of their account and the share of their wallet you counsel them on.
Some other elements include compliance risk issues, how time consuming they can be, how long they have been with you and simple things like their age and proximity to your office – if they have retired to a distant Sun Belt city, top-tier touches like in-person meetings can be harder to do than for your local clients.
One key element is referrals. Some clients may not bring the largest amount of assets, but they can be a strong source of referrals.
At the end of this process, you should have ranked them in groups. From there, you will differentiate them further to determine which of them merit the most attention for your team. And you will determine which clients continue to receive your topnotch service, albeit without the personal touches that you reserve for only the most important clients.
Having narrowed your focus, now find ways, big and small, to make personal one-on-one connections that leave them wowed. Below are six ideas to start. It’s up to you to come up with the ones that matter most to your best clients:
- Status-of-the-account meetings in their home or office. Everyone else may be invited to your office, but for the top tier clients, you go to them.
- During high-volume periods like tax time or the end of the year, set aside the most convenient times just for them and accommodate them in your schedule.
- When they come into the office, note their visit with signage and make sure every employee knows who they are and are prepared to make their visit productive.
- Assign a concierge to them that handles every need with a personal touch. For instance, when you give them online access to their account, provide them with individual instruction. When they visit the office, be sure to stock their favorite beverage and snack.
- Send a handwritten, personal note with every statement. Additionally, communicate with these clients on a frequency and channel they prefer.
- Find out what charities they are most focused on and make a charitable contribution to them in their name.
- Empower employees to carry out special services and, at critical times, make exceptions for them.
- Keep this information confidential. As much as you want your best customers to feel special, making that information public could damage your relationship with both those customers and those who don’t make the list.