How to Keep Your Firm from Losing You Clients

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They Don't Do It on Purpose

failureYou may work for a large securities firm or large insurance company.  It's also likely that these firms do things that irritate you and your clients or may even lose you clients.  Your firm does not do these things intentionally.  However, they employ people who don't understand very much about communication, who have a narrow focus on technology and have never spoken to a client.  So they see the world from their point of view only and don't even realize that their actions are an irritation for your clients.

 

You Can Fix it

Years ago I worked for a large well-known securities firm.  I sold a lot of bonds.  Often times, the firm would issue the initial confirmation and then need to make an adjustment in the accrued interest or some other aspect of the trade and reissue the confirmation.  To cancel out the first confirmation, they would send to my clients a confirmation with the words "trade canceled."  Of course, I would get calls from my clients because in their language, trade canceled means that the investment they wanted was canceled.  In fact, what my firm really meant to convey was that the original trade was modified by either the amount of accrued interest or some other aspect.  It took me six months of complaining about this issue to everyone I could but I finally got it changed.  Unbelievably, I got one of the largest securities firms in the world to change a small process to stop confusing my clients.

You need to do the same.  Things won't change just by complaining to your colleagues or your manager.  You've got to find a guy in the IT department or the marketing communications department or whoever the appropriate individual may be and explain how your clients perceive the communication they receive.  You supply a valuable insight that these people in the bowels of the organization never receive.  Don't give up.  Maintain your campaign to insist on excellence for your clients.  And if your firm is unresponsive, go elsewhere.  They need you more than you need them.

Pull Your Firm Out of the Dark Ages

dark-agesThe financial services industry largely operates as in the dark ages.  As an example, TD Ameritrade announced yesterday that they have a new service for their advisers which would preclude the adviser needing to ever type their client's information such as address, phone number and Social Security number more than once.  Additionally, their clients would now be able to use Docusign to sign agreements online.  Frankly, if I was the marketing communication director at that firm, I would've hidden this as much as I could and not issued a press release.  I found this to be an embarrassment to their firm.

To think that it is novel in 2013 to relieve the advisers from having to do data entry and eliminate the usage of physical forms by using the Internet, reflects the dark age mentality of the financial services industry.  Why did it take such a large and significant firm so many years to employ technology that has existed for two decades?  Simply because they probably did not get enough complaints from their advisers.  In other words, firms won't change unless you speak out.  As long as you tolerate the inefficiency, poor communication or backward technology, it may never change.

If you find that your firm is committed to operating as in medieval times, don't tolerate it.  It's either possible they don't realize it or that the IT director needs to be replaced.  Realize that you are the voice of your clients as well as your own voice and make it heard.

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