Unlocking Real Value Blog

Who Controls the Client Experience?

I wasn’t surprised to see that Raymond James just announced that it was hiring a Director of Client Experience. What was surprising is that the design of this position is to communicate directly with clients. The firm acknowledged the slippery slope that it is now embarking on – how to directly interact with clients without upsetting its advisors.

This should be an interesting “experiment.” Personally, I like the idea of hiring a Director of Client Experience, but would rather have this person work with the training department to help provide advisors the resources to enhance and promote the activities that they do to make their individual client experience unique – this is part of each advisors unique value proposition and is a point of differentiation between them and their competitors.

Especially scary is the analogy the new Director made to Starbucks and how they have been able to institutionalize the client experience. (The article mentions that Starbucks is famous for bringing fast, fun friendly service to customers on a highly consistent basis.) Most sophisticated clients choose their advisors for the services they provide first and the hope that they will become long-term partners; the firm they work for, or the broker/dealer they are associated with is usually far less important. Given that fact, I for one do not see the value-added of the firm engaging in this new enterprise, and in fact see it doing potentially a lot more harm than good if it alienates enough advisors.

Call me an old dog – and I may be proved wrong – but institutionalizing client service deemphasizes the importance of the individual advisor and is more of a strategy aimed at the mass market – successful advisors today are reducing the number of client relationships that they have, concentrating on fewer larger relationships where they can make a difference. I am not sure how this new strategy can help top advisors.

Am I missing something?

2 Responses to “Who Controls the Client Experience?”

  1. Andy says:

    I hope you enjoyed my comments and thank you for sharing it with your readers.

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