Customer or Client?

Why are clients engaging you? Is it for the product you implement, or for your services and expertise?

date_range 07 June 2019

The most valuable asset for any financial advice business is its clients: without clients you generally don't have a business. 

But why are clients engaging you? Is it for the product you implement, or for your services and expertise?

According to most definitions, Client and Customer can mean the same thing: a person who buys a good or service from a business. But for professional services businesses, a Customer is generally defined as someone who does a one-off transaction with you; whereas a Client is someone who engages with you for ongoing services. 

For example, some people may see an adviser to get a mortgage or to put in place insurance. They spend time with the adviser who gives advice and assists with product implementation; the adviser doesn’t charge for the service but does offer a review service. At the end of the process, does the person think they are now a Client of the product provider or the adviser? More importantly, what do your clients think? 

The industry is going through a lot of change at the moment. Regulators are asking banks and insurers to ensure good customer outcomes; FSLAB is setting standards and licensing for all advice businesses; and consumer literacy and access to information is increasing. For advisers the question of client ownership is becoming increasingly important.

 

The most valuable asset for any financial advice business is its clients: without clients you generally don't have a business. But why are clients engaging you? Is it for the product you implement, or for your services and expertise?

So, thinking about your advice business, do you have customers or clients?

So, thinking about your advice business, do you have customers or clients? Do the people you have worked with think of you as the adviser who helped out that one time; or do they consider you as ‘their adviser’ - the person they go to when things change, to facilitate their needs with lenders or insurers, for new plans, for big and small queries, and of course, as the trusted professional they can confidently refer to friends and family.

It’s true that many people initially engage an adviser for a specific or immediate need, and may not be thinking about the value of an ongoing relationship. But transforming this Customer mindset into that of a Client is essential to building long-term value for your business and, of course, for supporting good outcomes for your clients.

The key for turning Customers into Clients requires three things:

1. Showing the value of your advice at the first engagement, over and above the ‘sale’ of a product.  
2. Engaging the client in your ongoing services such as advice or product reviews. 
3. Communicating the value of your services and creating conversations that deliver value through the services you offer. 

Most advisers are great at Step One: they enjoy being in front of clients and helping them find the right solutions for their needs. Steps Two and Three, though, can pose more of a challenge – a challenge that FINERGY can assist with.

Ultimately, the more time you spend helping Kiwis make informed financial decisions (Step One), the better: the better for your business and for your clients.

As for Steps Two and Three, we welcome you to talk to FINERGY. We can help you with quality marketing and communications solutions designed specifically for financial advisers: to own your client relationships; to create more advice opportunities; to save time; and to cover-off communications compliance.