Some of you reading this might be old enough to remember the American Express catchphrase from the late 70s and early 80s: “Don’t leave home without it.” We can adapt it for large marketing projects: “Don’t start one without it.”
‘It’ being a client survey.
Whether it’s a new marketing strategy or a shiny new website, we always recommend running a client survey before starting a large project. In fact, understanding your client’s views should be a continuous task. In the absence of that though, we firmly believe that a survey should be conducted before any major marketing project.
We’ve written before about the six ways client surveys will help you build your business. You can still read that article by clicking here. However, despite the undoubted benefits client surveys bring, our recommendation to run one at the start of a marketing project is often met with scepticism and negativity.
So, we thought we’d address the three most common excuses we hear for not running surveys.
Excuses, excuses, excuses!
1. “My compliance department / PI insurer tells me it’ll lead to complaints.”
We recognise the issues many financial advisers and planners are having with their PI insurers. Nevertheless, if your insurer or compliance department tell you not to run a client survey for fear it will generate complaints, it’s time to look at changing who provides you with these services.
The vast majority of feedback on client surveys is positive. The last time we looked, 96% of clients would recommend their adviser/planner and 99% of clients believe that financial planning has, or will, help them to achieve their financial goals.
On rare occasions, we see anything which isn’t positive, it comes under the heading of ‘constructive feedback’.
Finally, before I jump off my soapbox if a client is unhappy with something, wouldn’t you (and your PI insurers/compliance support/network) rather know about it, so the issue can be addressed, rather than leaving it to fester and grow into a real problem?
2. “My clients won’t complete the survey.”
Again, the evidence refutes this.
Sure, not every one of your clients will complete the survey. But, if the project is well run, with appropriate nudges, context when you send the request and follow up after the survey closes, we find that many clients are only too happy to complete surveys.
It’s also surprising how long clients will spend giving their feedback. On average it takes 8 minutes 32 seconds to complete the surveys we run for firms. And, if you’re thinking that lengthy surveys lead to a large drop-off rate, you’d be wrong; 99% of people who open the survey fully complete it.
That shows us two things:
- Clients are prepared to invest time into providing feedback (that’s only natural when they might be paying several thousand pounds a year to their adviser/planner)
- Clients aren’t put off answering lengthy surveys, that means you can ask the questions you need to know the answers too, rather than limiting your survey to an arbitrary number of questions
3. “I don’t have time.”
In many ways, we’ve got a lot of sympathy for this. For many business owners finding time to do everything they would like is a significant problem. We’re no different!
Most financial planning firms I know have two things in common; they are time poor and profitable. That’s the perfect mix to outsource certain key tasks. If you genuinely believe that running a client survey project will improve your business (hint: it will!) then the answer is simple. Outsource it!
The power of questions
Every interaction you have with a client will strengthen or weaken the relationship. A well-run survey project, genuinely giving your clients the opportunity to provide feedback, which you then follow-up on, can only strengthen the existing relationships.
The simple fact that you’ve asked shows you care too.
If you would like help running a client survey project please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Over recent years we’ve developed a tried and trusted process. Feel free to email [email protected] or call us on 0115 8965 300.