Innovative client service ideas for financial firms

By Chris Marentis

GenNext Media Corp.

Arguably, clients mean everything to your practice and ultimately have the most impact on whether it will be successful. A bottom-up approach to branding and reputation management is often a highly effective place to start. However, financial managers have to get the basics right before moving on to more lofty initiatives. After all, one of the core aspects of almost any business is customer service.

Customer service is oftentimes oversimplified. In reality, innovative customer service strategy goes beyond call centers or standards that mandate employees greet every client within two seconds of entering an office. Truly effective customer service can make or break an entire brand, and it all starts with the people who directly interact with clients.

Find passionate employees

Teaching employees how to use "I" language and a few scripted lines is not comparable to finding employees that are passionate about a firm and genuinely want to help clients. Almost everyone has heard, "I'm sorry to hear that you are frustrated..." Employees who naturally want to help a customer find the right solution to their unique financial problems can encourage dialogue between your firm's brand and its clients. Clients do not have to be irate in order to get the type of customer service that separates your above average businesses from phenomenal ones. Better yet, client services does not always have to involve lots of additional paperwork and emails.

Empower the right employees

Give employees the authority to make certain executive decisions, such as refunds under $100. Also, get the right employees to use common sense. Should an employee charge $5 to the company account when working with a client in dire need of a latte? Customer service is not all about dealing with disgruntled clients. A large portion of client management is ensuring that happy clients stay that way.

Encourage positive internal branding

Naturally, internal branding translates directly to clients. A reputation management handbook can help firm management examine what employees feel like on a daily basis. A firm culture characterized by mutual respect can help employees feel at ease and ready to provide exceptional service to your clients. Employees who enjoy being at work are more likely to enjoy working and interacting with clients. It's a simple concept, but it tends to be overlooked often.

Brainstorm small ideas that make a large impact

In general, people only get junk mail and bills in the mail. Additionally, most people hate unsolicited phone calls. Small handwritten thank you notes or small tokens of appreciation sent through the mail are fun for clients, and they give clients a reason to return to a firm. Keep clients engaged without bombarding them with excessive amounts of information. Think of clever haikus, give fun stickers, or print fun greeting cards.

Advertise great customer service

Numerous people are hesitant to contact a firm with an issue when they are unsure how it will be handled. Firms that have taken the time to create innovative and highly effective client service solutions should incorporate exceptional client service into their brands. After all, not all firms provide client service that is satisfactory.

Customer service and reputation management

Currently, clients have the power to post their thoughts about firms for everyone online to read. A reputation management handbook can be a good place to start, but nothing compares to truly exceptional client service. At the end of the day, a firm isn't very successful without a repeat client base.