“Client Experience” is the sum-totality of how clients engage with you, not just in a snapshot in time, but throughout the entire cycle of being a client. Sometimes people think of it as digital experiences and interactions, such as on a website or a smartphone. In other cases, client experience is focused on client service, or the speed at which problems are solved. To be really successful on a long-term basis, client experience needs to be seen as all these things, and more.
Is there a” model” for family offices? The Starbucks Experience.
Starbucks turned the coffee buying process into a consistent, feel-good experience they can charge a premium for. Starbucks has accomplished that service experience using an integrated platform, common business processes and a detailed set of workﬂows that are consistently executed upon. They consistently deliver on their promise.
Any real improvement in the client experience in a family office requires a bottom-up approach based on thorough analysis. It means drawing on all available data to build a genuine understanding of which parts of the client journey matter most to client satisfaction and it means having the courage to reimagine the whole service model and the structures that underpin it.
Of course, people don’t behave like robots, and no matter how well we craft an experience, they will not perceive exactly as we anticipate or hope. With that said, offices cannot afford to throw up their hands and give up in the face of unpredictably. Instead, they need to plan for the worst and aim for the ideal when considering the experiences that they want to create.
Family Offices can achieve the same efficiencies and client value as Starbucks by:
- Examining the various critical daily tasks that they perform and then transform them into documented, systematized processes to consistently deliver their client service
- Minimizing the steps that must be performed by a human by using technology capabilities to add workﬂow automation
- Providing a multi-channel client experience
The two-missing links have been:
- the automation of best practice client service workﬂows
- advanced integration among common systems such as an effective client portal, CRM, document management, portfolio management, financial planning and corresponding systems/data from custodians
Through the creation and automation of client service processes and workﬂows, family offices can:
- Have an efficient foundation that will enable them to adapt and scale without adding staff
- Work more proactively rather than reactively
- Do more for clients without working harder
- No longer be dependent on a key employee, who if that employee left would leave the office in a difficult situation
- Build fiduciary/compliance steps into the workﬂow so they are completed correctly each and every time
“The ‘aha’ moment was realizing that the right question was ‘how can technology improve the relationship between clients and advisers?’, not just speed up the process” (McKinsey, 2017 – Transforming customer experience in wealth management).
Putting clients at the heart of family office service requires a bottom-up approach based on thorough analysis. Such an approach means drawing on all available data to build a genuine understanding of which parts of the client journey matter most to client satisfaction and it means having the courage to reimagine the whole service model.
- Maximum front-office effectiveness
- Concentrate on client-focused activities by providing the information and tools required to acquire, serve, and retain clients – leverage advanced analytical techniques to reap the full value of both internal and external sources of data
- A seamless, multichannel client experience
- Efficient, error-free processes with low cycle times that are able to minimize data loss and downstream reworking and manage multiple entry points into end-to-end processes. They also provide an efficient and effective multichannel client experience
- Flawless delivery using best practice business process, workflow, integrated software and services
- Using consistency to establish pools of resources focused on similar tasks. High automation levels, smooth workflow management, and a single primary source of client data are other common characteristics
- Transformation model and roadmap
- Leading operating models maintain the integrity of risk management and compliance procedures. They reduce risk while increasing overall efficiency
“Put the client at the heart of the service experience” – the reason for the existence of a family office. So, every family office provides a client experience, regardless of whether you create it consciously. It’s up to you whether it’s best practice, awful or industry average.