Don’t be confused by the title. Customer satisfaction still plays a key role if you want to use their loyalty and retention as a means of generating new sales leads. However customer satisfaction is never static (especially in financial planning and management). It can change over time so you need to do more than just determine whether or not a client is satisfied. You need to know what keeps them satisfied, how to keep them satisfied, and be on the look out for what could compromise that satisfaction before it hits.
On iMediaConnection, Tom Cates sums this up nicely, explaining three signs of customer defection. While his particular focus is on software companies, you’ll find it can easily apply to financial planning services and generating sales leads from your respective customers:
“You’re not on your client’s speed dial.”
“When your client has a support problem, a service question, or needs to talk over an issue, do they call your team first?”
This is perhaps even more critical in financial planning. Why would your clients consult anyone other than you? What’s the point of them maintaining business with your firm if you’re already losing out to a possible competitor? As Cates suggests, find out who that competitor is. But at this point, be careful. You don’t want to come off as jealous or overly competitive. Stay objective and determine if the specific issue that your customer wanted resolved should have been well within your expertise to handle or it could actually have been something else entirely.
“You’re client uses the F-word a lot.”
If you’re already dreading that you know this word, think twice. It could be the complete opposite:
“When a client says everything is ‘fine,’ nothing is further from the truth. This dirty four-letter word signals disaster and should be translated to, ‘Everything is not fine, but I don’t want to get into the details with you because it’s not worth my time.’”
Now there can be more ways to understand what a prospect means by ‘fine’ compared to what Cates is saying. After all, making assumptions will only compromise the interest and won’t bring you any closer to making financial planning leads. If you’re still afraid of no longer being considered worthy of your customer’s time then don’t just press for more feedback. Reflect on your company’s past actions and see if you’ve actually acted on the feedback they’ve given you before. Don’t waste the efforts of those who listened and recorded your customers’ concerns when you never made any significant response to what was said. Still, make sure you keep encouraging them for feedback. Don’t be afraid to contact them every now and then getting them to say anything beyond simply ‘fine’.
“Your client is uninvolved and disengaged.”
“But when a client begins to withhold important details, “forgets” to copy you on an email, or stops contributing their ideas, you should be concerned. Relationships are a two-way street, and if your client isn’t fully invested, they might be on the road to defection.”
As previously implied, don’t also forget to collaborate closely with your client. In fact, if you’ve already outsourced for your financial sales leads, then you should already know what collaboration entails. It means getting in touch. Speaking of which, it’s why there’s not much difference between outsourcing the process and doing it yourself. Either way, you need to constantly hear from your customers whether it’s through your provider or your own lead generator.
Customer feedback isn’t only for knowing their satisfaction, it’s to educate you on how to keep up that satisfaction.