Defining the true meaning of personalized service for clients when evaluating investment firms.
Service is possibly the most competitive selling point that spans nearly all industries. Whether buying a car, home, night at a luxury hotel, or dinner out on the town, “exceptional service” is a hallmark of customer satisfaction. But like anything else that has become an expected standard and marketing promise, the measure of what truly constitutes quality service can suffer from exaggerated value and confusing criteria. When it comes to investment strategy and portfolio management services, for example, this perception gap can make or break a client’s potential for accumulating and protecting wealth.
Overall wealth management (insurance, retirement, cash flow and estate planning) is essential in producing successful financial outcomes. However, the actual investment management and returns produced are the engine that make it all work. So, what should investors expect when it comes to customer service relating to the investment piece of their overall wealth management relationship? What are the tools and tips for measuring the true deliverables of what constitutes as “service” in an industry that can seem highly complex?
Communication about a firm’s investment process and performance metrics is part of how clients can develop more confidence and understanding when it comes to the investments that make the entire wealth management plan work. In my experience and opinion, a firm’s customer service platform should involve keeping clients well informed about the economy and their portfolio performance. Here are a few ways to ask about and evaluate such service.
Share Your Vision Clearly
Let’s start with the expected outcomes. There are no promises made in our industry for obvious reasons of legal compliance and the utter inability for anyone to predict market performance. But we need to know what the goals are with your money. How do we help you get there? It’s the role of an investment advisor to know everything about a client’s goals in order to be able to make the right moves at the right times. Knowing specifically what your goals are for yourself, your family, retirement, and legacy interests. How about charity interests? Your investment portfolio cannot even be created until all of this is assessed, so make sure your advisor is digging deeper and asking questions about the timing around each of your goals.
Know Your Risk Tolerance
The first principle of investing is to understand the risk/return relationship. It may sound easy – the more risk you take, the more potential for return – but …….