Posts Tagged ‘client communications’

Advisors – Website Content And Presentation Matters

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

J.D. Power & Associates just released its 2013 U.S. Self-Directed Investor Satisfaction Study, and overall client satisfaction declined from last year. This headline is good news for full-service advisors, many of whom have been fighting the trend of investors trying to go it alone.

Hidden behind this headline are some other interesting tidbits of information for all advisors as well:

1) The reason that Scottrade finished in first place was the clear communication about their pricing which could be found on their website. Investors – especially those that do self-direct – are extremely fee conscious. For all advisors, however, the message is clear – be upfront and transparent about your fees, and explain them clearly and prominently. (Scottrade was followed by Vanguard, T. Rowe Price, TD Ameritrade, E*Trade Financial and then Fidelity in the study.)

2) The study concluded that these firms were struggling to “find the right method and frequency of communication with investors.” Yes, client communications does matter. Especially in today’s world of social media and mobile communications, advisors must be able to deliver to clients what they want, when they want it and how they want it.

3) A major reason for the decrease in satisfaction was dissatisfaction with the websites of the firms. The complaint was that there was too much information on their websites, and many investors felt that much of the information presented was irrelevant to them. Content does matter – you don’t want too much information, and you have to make the most relevant information the easiest to find.

4) And related to (3) above, because there is so much information out there, and so many new products, investors are looking to the websites for educational materials.

I think that there is great information in this study for all advisors. It provides hope that perhaps the trend toward self-advice is waning (a positive for full-service advisors) and it emphasizes the importance of client service and transparency. And it reemphasizes the importance of having a great website that provides clear and useful information to investors.