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Perfecting Your Client Survey

Connor Sung June 22, 2022

Client relationships are at the core of every financial professional’s business. If you deliver the best possible experience to your clients, then happy clients will breed higher retention and increased referrals.

To identify the strengths and opportunities of the client experience you offer, you must get to the source—the clients. Conducting a short survey to gauge client satisfaction can help ensure you have a pulse on the client experience from the community you serve. The feedback from the financial advisor client survey is a useful opportunity to learn more from your client base and fine-tune your offering.

A loyalty survey can augment the key performance indicators you’re already tracking for your firm, helping you to focus your efforts where they will make the most impact. Our research found, for example, that advisors who focus on client experience and retention metrics lost 50 percent fewer clients than the average advisor over a 12-month period.1

3 Phase Approach to Perfecting Your Financial Advisor Client Survey

Breaking down your survey into discrete phases will help you keep your intended objective—offering an optimal client experience—top of mind.

  • Phase 1: Create your survey
  • Phase 2: Launch your survey to clients
  • Phase 3: Act on the results

Phase 1: The Building Blocks of a Client Loyalty Survey

The key to a great client survey is being able to get open, honest responses from your client base. To do this you need to consider survey delivery, length, and tone.

Survey Delivery Method

First and foremost, the ease and convenience of your clients completing the survey is a top priority. Consider leveraging an online survey tool. Sending a digital survey via a CRM or through a secure message to their personal client portal makes it easily accessible.

Retaining tracking within the survey tool will also alleviate any manual effort on your part. When the survey closes, results are delivered in an editable file, allowing you to filter and sort the data to your wishes.

Survey Tone

As you start to draft your survey template, always make sure that the opener includes a genuine and inviting note. Additionally, give participants an understanding of why you value their feedback. This type of message can help inspire whether they complete it or not.

Survey Length and Anonymity

A few other key items to highlight to your audience is how long the survey will take them, as well as a note about confidentiality. It could be as simple as: “Please complete this short survey, it should take you no more than five minutes and all responses will be anonymized.”

To hone in on the length, determine the number of questions you’d like and how to ask them. The Net Promoter Score® or NPS® is a universal business method for fielding feedback from the promoters and detractors in your business using a 10-point scale.

If survey length and simplicity is a concern for your audience, you may want to limit it to five questions with a five-point Likert scale. Responses can range from very satisfied to very dissatisfied, or very likely to not very likely.

Client Survey Questions for Financial Advisors

Here is a sample of questions for financial professionals to consider:

  • How satisfied are you with the frequency of our meetings?
  • How satisfied are you with the experience?
  • How satisfied are you with our relationship?
  • How likely are you to continue using our services?
  • How likely are you to recommend our services to a friend or colleague?

Include demographic questions if you want to be able to segment the data. It’s also a good idea to include at least one open-ended question. This could be space for clients to tell you how they are feeling or detail what they’d like to see changed.

Phase 2: Sharing the Survey with Your Client Base

Remember, you don’t want to inundate clients for their feedback. Rather, you want to select one time during the year to make this request.

For scheduling, it shouldn’t necessarily fall right after a client meeting because the survey isn’t launched per client, it should be shared with the entire client base at once. Try to plan the survey outside of your known, high-volume request times. That may mean scheduling around holidays, tax season, and any major political or legislative events.

When you are ready to send, keep in mind response rates have a wide range of variability. There’s a multitude of factors that could influence the response—such as overall size of your distribution list, time needed to complete, and more. Which is why a good survey response rate ranges from 5 percent to 30 percent.2

Choose the target response that you feel would be an adequate sample representation and aim for that. If you fall short, think about incentivizing the next request with a gift card or other small token of appreciation.

Phase 3: Acting on the Recommendations Given

The purpose of fielding the survey is to take in that client feedback. Advisors need to be ready to hear it and they also need to be ready to act on it.

Once all responses are received and tallied, it’s time to send a thank you for the feedback. You want this message to be timely and thoughtful. Relay back to that population that their opinion is valued and perhaps it’s an opportunity to detail any changes they should expect to see.

Engage a Client Advisory Board for an Expanded View Beyond Loyalty

If you are looking to get beyond the quantitative loyalty survey and dig into more qualitative feedback, another option for financial professionals is to form an advisory board.

An advisory board should tap a select group of your most trusted and valuable stakeholders. It’s a good idea to solicit clients who are representative of who you want to serve. It could also be a mix of clients and professionals from your wider circle of influence.

Similar to the loyalty survey, people are more likely to contribute their time and energy if there’s a benefit to them. Accompany it with a fun activity or engaging event. You could expand the focus beyond just satisfaction and dig into what about the client experience is done well, and more importantly, how can the experience become even better. Make sure you have a focused objective and agenda, such as “I’m looking for feedback on this specific area of my business.” This will help participants contribute meaningfully and feel their feedback is valued as you consider business enhancements.

With an advisory group, think about how you want to receive the feedback and how you can make it comfortable and easy for all parties. Running a series of focus groups could make it more collaborative. And creating an in-person event for the occasion will show your participants how important it is to you.

The Value of a Client Feedback Loop

Asking for feedback is a great way to show the importance of continuous improvement in the service and delivery of your advisory or planning business. If you want to learn more from your client relationships from a loyalty survey, check out our top questions to consider in your financial advisor client survey.

Sources:

1 2021 eMoney ROI of Digital Marketing Survey, May 2021, n=188.

2 “What is a good survey response rate for online customer surveys?” Delighted Blog by Qualtrics, n.d. < https://delighted.com/blog/average-survey-response-rater>.

DISCLAIMER: The eMoney Advisor Blog is meant as an educational and informative resource for financial professionals and individuals alike. It is not meant to be, and should not be taken as financial, legal, tax or other professional advice. Those seeking professional advice may do so by consulting with a professional advisor. eMoney Advisor will not be liable for any actions you may take based on the content of this blog.

About the Author

Connor Sung, CFP® serves as the Financial Planning Group's Manager of Practice Management at eMoney Advisor. In his current position he provides consultative financial planning support and practice management to clients by helping them incorporate eMoney into their financial planning process. He also serves as a product expert and a resource for internal departments helping Sales, Live Training, Enterprise Relationship Management, Communications, and Development. Connor attended James Madison University, where he received his Bachelor's Degree in Finance in 2013. He earned in his CFP® designation in 2016.

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Welcome to
Heart of Advice

a new source of expert insights for
financial professionals.

Get Started

Tips specific to the eMoney platform can be found in
the eMoney
application, under Help, eMoney Advisor Blog.