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I have been asked to write a piece on “Service to Clients” because I have been told it is one of my strengths and something that I excel in. I almost feel like Jerry Maguire (played by Tom Cruise) in the like-named Oscar-winning movie, when he writes his mission statement and his belief that a client should not be a number.
Truth be told, everyone can provide great service to their clients. All it takes is a genuine desire to care about people, their lives and the things that are important to them and make them “tick”. Are your clients simply a means to an income or are you genuinely interested in their lives and ultimately their happiness? Obviously, in our industry, it is a great responsibility to manage clients’ pensions, investments and in some cases their life savings.
For me however, providing service to my clients is about serving them and their needs and not just simply meeting their requests. Most of my clients have become more to me than just simply a person that needs to be serviced on a quarterly basis. Yes, I do have some clients that simply like to have me provide investment guidance, but all my clients know that if they need anything they can contact me at any time, and I will be available to assist them.
Know your client
Financial consultants are now, more than ever before, required to know their clients. It has been part of my methodology for many years. I stay close to my clients. I make a point in personally giving all my clients a call each quarter to discuss any concerns they may have about their investment and to simply catch up on their lives outside of a general investment discussion and if necessary, I pay them a visit. This I believe is a more genuine approach rather than my clients always thinking I just want to sell them something or invest more of their money. Recently my clients have started referring their children to me for guidance. As a parent of my own children, I would never refer my children to anyone I do not trust, and this is happening since I am more attentive in my clients’ lives than just their wealth.
A lightbulb moment
Sometime back I had a lightbulb moment when sitting and considering my responsibilities to my clients. I realised that although I work with people’s money, I am in essence managing pieces of time that represent people’s lives. Time, they spent working hard, often far away from loved ones or the things they enjoy, in order to build a future. This is time that can never be recovered. The truth is that essentially the wealth we work with represents large parts of people’s past that they will never get the opportunity to relive, or contribute to, again. Not only are we working with wealth generated over our clients’ lifetimes but also the legacy of future generations. So, if we do not get this right, it can affect not only our current clients’ wealth, but also the future generational wealth that will be transferred to their children and potentially their grandchildren.
Treat the client fairly
It is mandatory for financial consultants to Treat Clients Fairly. I have been a TCF fanatic since day one. It is our responsibility to clients to be honest, responsible, and truthful in our actions towards them and their investments, and to shed light and understanding in a way that gives them confidence in our ability as their investment advisors and portfolio management team. Service to me, really means enjoying what you do and caring about the people you do it for. If you embrace the people, you serve and get to understand and love them, then serving them will never be hard. Service also means being there to talk to your clients when things are great, but more importantly when things are not so great, such as the market turmoil that clients have faced over the last two years with market performance being incredibly volatile.
Know Your Client and Treat the Client Fairly comes naturally to me – I have always been ahead of the curve. Financial consultants must pay due regard to the needs of their clients and communicate with them in a way which is clear, fair, and not misleading. Jargon must be avoided. It is easy to copy a product – especially a financial product. But service excellence is almost impossible to copy. The consultant providing the best service wins. Back to Jerry Maguire’s mission statement – a client should not be a number – a client should always be number one. If you are interested in experiencing excellent financial service, please contact one of our friendly consultants. They will take the sting out of investing.
- All writers’ opinions are their own and do not constitute investment recommendations or financial advice. Speaking to a qualified wealth and investment professional is crucial before making financial decisions.
- ‘Overberg Asset Management (Pty) Ltd. is an authorised financial services provider: 783’ established in 2001.
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