Client engagement is a hot topic for an advisor firm, and with good reason. In this article, we’ll take a look at what exactly client engagement is and why it is so important. We’ll then provide some client engagement activities you can use to boost your customer relationships. The client engagement strategies we’ll cover most notably include sending greeting cards or specially chosen gifts as a way to strengthen the bond between financial advisors and their clients. Hopefully, by the end, you’ll have some ideas on how to increase client engagement so that you can make your existing clients your best advocates and set yourself up for business success.
What is client engagement?
Client engagement, is the degree and depth of brand-focused interactions a customer chooses to perform. In other words, it’s not just the number of times a customer uses your services but also how significant those interactions are.
A key aspect of this is the free word-of-mouth advertising which satisfied customers provide. Happy consumers will tell others about your business through word of mouth and social media. The quality of these recommendations is also important. Anyone can like something on social media but a recommendation from a close friend is much more likely to be heeded.
The importance of engaged clients
According to Nielsen, 92% of consumers believe recommendations from their family and friends, but just 6% of companies feel they have mastered the art of word-of-mouth. This is perhaps partly because marketing departments will be incredibly aware of the need to attract new clients but often ignore the fact that one of the best ways to do that is by building better relationships with existing clients. Furthermore, these existing clients are far more likely to use your services again themselves if they feel valued.
This “retention marketing” is often overlooked but, according to the Gartner Group, 80% of your company’s future earnings will come from just 20% of your customers, so engaging a greater chunk of those customers makes great sense. There are also numerous studies on how much more it costs to gain a new customer than retain an existing one, with it generally being anywhere between 3 and 30 times more expensive to gain a new one.
Greeting cards and gifts – the not so secret engagement weapons
Sending cards can improve both perception and recognition of your company, so sending of greeting cards or gifts can play a large part in your client engagement framework. It is important to demonstrate that some thought has gone into the card or gift. This could be by sending a particular gift that you know a client likes, say a gift card to their favorite restaurant, or by sending a personalized message inside a beautiful card.
Christmas is the obvious time to send a greeting card, but the advantage of birthdays is that other companies are less likely to send a card at that time since it does take extra effort to keep track of them, so yours will stand out more. If you’re in the US, consider sending an additional card for Thanksgiving so that it arrives before everyone else’s does during the Christmas rush.
Engagement should be a key focus for financial advisors
Building strong relationships with clients brings tangible business benefits. It is vital to both keeping existing customers happy and showing that they aren’t just a number in a spreadsheet—and thus more likely to do business again with your company— and to recruit their friends through the less-prioritized word-of-mouth advertising.
We have seen that greeting cards are one strategy that can be utilized by your company’s client engagement team to improve client relations. Physical gifts provide a physical reminder of your company, and can also be a conversation piece. Remember to also consider when is the best time to send cards and what message you are trying to convey through them. Hopefully, the above tips will help your firm make your clients the best advocates for your business!