In our last blog, we spoke about the Service Pyramid and the three levels for acts of kindness. CLICK HERE if you missed it. One of the important comments made in that blog was about successful advisors deliberately seeking out opportunities rather than waiting and randomly sending gifts.
The most successful rule in business is to surprise and delight your customers. – Warren Buffett
Here are a few guidelines to make the magic of deliberate acts of kindness work more effectively:
- Document Clients’ Preferences.
Financial advisors need to know what their clients like and what their clients’ preferences are. Collect this information through conversation during reviews, in passing, at events, and with surveys, and then write it down in that client’s file in a CRM. When an opportunity to go above and beyond arises, those advisors will know what types of gifts or experiences their clients will enjoy most.
- Don’t Overdo It.
Here’s the trouble. If an act of kindness is so amazing that clients can’t keep it a secret, then the advisor is on the right track. However, if unexpected acts of kindness are performed so often that clients start regularly expecting them, an entire tier of the Service Pyramid is lost.
As a reminder, the Service Pyramid has three levels. The base level is for basic client services, the middle level is for expected acts of kindness, and the top level is for unexpected acts of kindness. The goal for the advisor is to have a presence in all three tiers.
Set a limit for how many unexpected acts of kindness are to be completed in a given time (for example, a maximum of one unexpected act of kindness per client per quarter). Minor exceptions can be taken into consideration when appropriate, like a death in the family or children graduating.
- Set a Budget.
Give the staff a budget not to exceed. For example, an advisor might say each staff member has a budget of $50 every month and must complete a minimum of four unexpected acts of kindness every month.
As an extra incentive to completing these, some advisors will tie the completion of acts of kindness into each team member’s bonus compensation. This is a great way to ensure acts of kindness do not slip through the cracks.
- Track the Act.
When a staff member performs an act of kindness for a client, notate it in the client’s file. Keep it simple; just include who did it, what was done, why it was done, when it was done, and how much it cost. This keeps multiple staff members from overdoing the acts of kindness for the same reasons for the same clients, which can give the impression that the office doesn’t communicate with each other internally.
For example, a team member might write, “March 13th, 2017: Susan delivered chicken soup to Mrs. Smith’s home when she canceled her appointment due to illness. Cost = $5.25.”
The next conversation to the client might include some wording asking about the act of kindness: “Hello Mrs. Smith, how are you feeling? I’m hoping that soup Susan dropped off did the trick.”
Clients will remember that good feeling when reminded of it, which gives the act of kindness a second wave of appreciation.
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The ultimate goal with performing unexpected acts of kindness is to build a story that gets shared. Every action taken can build rapport and strengthen the bond of the relationship between the advisor and the client. If you have any questions about how to systemize the magic in your office, give us a call. We’re always happy to assist.