“People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.” - Maya Angelou
That’s the genuine essence of creating WOW experiences for your clients – finding deeply personal ways to make them feel uniquely special. Too often, advisors think of their clients as a group rather than individuals – striving to be thoughtful by sending them all a bottle of wine (whether or not they happen to be wine aficionados) or a holiday turkey (even if they’re vegetarians). It’s not that those gestures are necessarily a bad thing, but are they really personal?
1. Think Outside the Box
For really valuable clients, try to think outside the box. Not long ago, one of the advisors we work with at ClientWise found out that a Loyal Client Advocate of his was going on safari to South Africa. Not only did this advisor buy the client a beautiful coffee table book about how to take photos on safari, he also arranged a car service to take the client to the airport. In the car, he had the book along with an envelope so if the client didn’t want to take the book with him on the plane, he could leave it with the driver and it would be delivered back to his home, waiting for his return.
Imagine for a moment how that client must have felt – getting into that sedan and seeing the book along with a handwritten note wishing him safe travels and the adventure of a lifetime. Do you think that client is likely to shop around or do you expect that they will continue to remain thoroughly engaged in the partnership?
By no means, however, do your WOW gestures need to be that grandiose. My son recently began his freshman year at Baylor University. The simple fact that the dean in charge of Student Life took the time to personally check-in with my son to make sure he was acclimating well, provided me with my very own wow moment – breathing a sigh of relief that my son was in the right place.
If you really want to wow a client, think about the impact you can have on their family and their kids. Spend time to get to know their children and their extended family members, and go out of your way to help them whenever the opportunity presents itself.
2. Segment to avoid setting the bar too high
Just remember, as you strive to set the personal service bar higher, there will inevitably be an expectation that exemplary service is what your firm is all about. So be committed to staying on that path – it can’t be a one and done proposition.
So make sure to align your WOW experiences with your client segmentation and the revenue the client generates. Perhaps for your most loyal client advocates – those who are making lots of introductions to your ideal client types – you send them on a weekend getaway trip. Whereas a client who’s only generating a few thousand dollars annually may only get a hand-written note. Be vigilant in avoiding segmentation creep. Don’t turn around one day and realize you’re delivering the same sort of WOW experience to all your clients, regardless of the revenue they’re responsible for generating.
Lastly, make sure that you deliver WOW experiences to any new clients who come to your firm through referrals by loyal client advocates. Odds are those people will have heard of your exemplary service, and come to you with the expectation of similar treatment. You don’t want to let them down, and more importantly, you don’t want to disappoint the client who referred them.
3. Host an Event with Purpose
If you're thinking of hosting client appreciation events, you're going to need to think about the real purpose behind your event. How do you get people to come, how do you get them to stay, and—most importantly—how do you achieve the REAL objective of making your clients aware of just how much you appreciate them? For more on hosting a client appreciation events, go read our post on "How To Host A Client Appreciation Event with Purpose".
Coaching Questions from this article:
- Think about your loyal client advocates. How much do you really know about the personal lives, loves and passions of them and their family members?
- What sorts of questions can you ask during your client conversations that will help unearth more about each client’s personal life – information that you can use to shape a WOW experience?
- What steps will you commit to taking this year to improve your client engagement process?