Client service conference takeaways
by Ed Patrick – Accomplish Director, UK Financial Services
I was delighted to be a panellist at last week’s Client Reporting and Communications Forum (Osney Media). The event was well-attended, with representation across the investment management spectrum.
Below are some key strategic and tactical takeaways, from some very stimulating discussions.
Client Service as a Differentiator
- Client service is recognised as a key commercial differentiator – the Institute of Customer Service (ICS) highlighted the significantly increased likelihood of client retention through strong client satisfaction.
- ‘Tone from the top’ is critical in ensuring a client-centric organisation – particularly when shifting client service activities away from sales teams.
- Understand what the client wants – rather than falling in the trap of offering what you would prefer to deliver
- It is important to understand which services to deliver to which clients. Client segmentation remains key, as is ‘understanding the cost of doing business’.
- Speed and accuracy are key to client service and rely on intra-firm connectivity. How should managers ensure client-centricity throughout near-shore and offshore teams?
- For larger firms in particular, ensure the drive for scalability does not detrimentally impact the client experience.
Digital – maintaining client experience while expanding your capabilities
- Customisation is key – ensure reporting capabilities have flexibility as a core principle.
- There remains a lack of certainty over the value / usage of client portals – is this because of inadequate user experience?
- Technology can deliver embedded videos and graphics but there remains unease over supporting such offerings consistently and without adding risk.
Data – addressing demand for richer, faster and precise dissemination
- Data reconciliation, definitions and mapping rules remain fundamental to a reporting platform, regardless of output. As the audience heard, data analysis should not be underestimated when building new reporting functionality.
- Considerable unease remains about post-Mifid II reporting of transaction costs and charges, particularly regarding treatment of price slippage.
- Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) reporting has moved centre stage and comes with a health warning – this is an area that Trustees are keen to drill down into, as a differentiator.
To conclude, delivering an optimal client service clearly remains a ‘work in progress’ for many managers. With increasingly complex regulatory requirements, and a more demanding client-base, it is clear that those who fail to (at least) meet market expectations will suffer commercially. In the months to follow, Accomplish looks forward to helping investment firms successfully deliver the changes required to address these challenges. If you would like to discuss any of these points in further detail, please contact me.