Client feedback to improve our services
Last week we hosted our first ‘client advisory board’ meeting, which took place over the road at Cranleigh Arts Centre.
This meeting was a gathering of a small number of our local clients, as a forum for discussion about the things we do at Informed Choice and how we might do things better in the future.
As a firm, we are constantly looking for ways to improve, and always welcome feedback; indeed, Nick started the meeting by quoting the management author Ken Blanchard:
Feedback is the breakfast of champions
Before lunch and a discussion about various topical issues, we shared with those attending three 10-minute presentations.
The subjects for these presentations had been chosen to get our guests thinking and inspire further discussion.
I spoke about longevity and the issues this creates for financial planning, sharing the story of the French lady who outlived her lawyer.
Victoria took the stage next, talking to our clients about scams and how to avoid dodgy investments. Victoria told the room about the worst investment advice we had witnessed to date.
It was then Carl’s turn to talk to us about tulip mania, drawing parallels with the cryptocurrency bubble that formed last year.
Lunch was served and Nick led the room in a discussion about some of the things we are thinking about at Informed Choice at the moment.
Nick described our ambition to deliver a ‘Financial Planning first’ proposition for every client. He spoke about the importance of understanding how any advice we deliver fits within wider financial goals, rather than attempting to provide advice in isolation.
It was good to hear from those clients present how much they value our ‘no-selling’ culture. We heard from one client that he felt we had so many opportunities to sell him financial products but instead stuck to advice, including to spend his money on things he would enjoy!
Nick also talked (briefly, as we didn’t want to bore our clients to death!) about some of the regulatory changes happening and due to happen. There was talk about MiFID II, GDPR and the FAMR.
We explained that Informed Choice operates within a very expensive, highly regulated financial sector. We do everything we can to keep this regulatory burden off our clients, although it’s reassuring to know just how seriously we take things.
Data protection was an interesting discussion prompted by mention of the GDPR, coming into force later in the Spring.
We agreed we could do more to communicate how we keep client data safe, including the use of state-of-the-art IT systems and secure document shredding. We also carefully vet our staff, especially new recruits to ensure they are trustworthy when accessing information about our clients.
Nick shared with the room an update on the development of our team and recruitment plans.
We talked about succession planning; it was broadly agreed that bringing our clients up to speed on our plans for the business in the future would be reassuring, especially for their families who want to understand who will be working with them in the future.
Over coffee, Shelley posed what we called ‘the big question’, asking our guests what keeps them awake at night.
We’re always very keen to understand the concerns that occupy the minds of our clients, especially from a financial perspective, so we can help bring peace of mind, removing any financial stress from the equation.
It was great to spend a few hours with a handful of our clients and spend that time talking about how we do things, and most importantly how we could do things better in the future.
Feedback truly is the breakfast of champions and we look forward to implementing the feedback graciously given and willingly received last week.