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What good asset management CX looks like

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good asset management CX

What good CX looks like

Welcome to the last blog in our series on the fundamentals of client experience (CX) for asset managers. This one is on what good asset management CX looks like.

So far, we have learned:

  • What is CX? 🤷🏻‍♂️ CX is a client’s overall impression of you as a supplier. It is personal, subjective, open to influence, sometimes irrational, and subject to change as a result of any and every interaction they have with your firm.
  • Why asset management CX? And why now? 🤷🏻‍♂️ The old ways asset managers used to differentiate themselves still exist but have become unreliable. How your firm conducts itself, how it serves its clients, and how it leaves them feeling remains THE differentiator. That’s CX, and it is controllable, commercial, and incremental.
  • How does CX work? 🤷🏼‍♂️ Differentiation is about being remembered, for which you need to do something extraordinary. If you do, your clients will remember, share, and discuss their experience – that’s how we create advocacy. Emotions create these memories so, to stand out, your firm must operate at the emotional level.
  • Is B2B CX really so complicated? 🤷🏼‍♂️ B2B CX has some additional features to it over and above B2C CX. These make B2B CX more complicated, protracted, but still entirely achievable if you use an appropriate model.

In this blog, we explain what good asset management CX looks like, we introduce the building blocks of CX, and we re-cap the importance of being memorable. We finish by pulling together from across the blog series the competitive, financial, and logical reasons for maintaining a deliberate CX capability.

The characteristics of good asset management CX

good asset management CX

Be client-led

At its heart, good CX is about being client-led. Quite simply: we all get what WE want, by helping our clients get what THEY want. So, first and foremost, the experience we give our clients must be aligned with what they want and need.

Achieve this in two steps.

Firstly, assess your clients’ needs using an appropriate model, such as the Accomplish Model of B2B CX  that we explain in our blog on B2B CX. This assessment is essential because your alignment with what your clients want will drive their impression of your value.[1] 

Secondly, segment your clients based on what THEY want. Unless you have a homogenous book of business, you may have different types of clients who want different things. Because the closeness of your alignment with their needs will affect your value, a “one size fits all” approach may fit none of them perfectly.

To solve this problem, base your primary client segmentation on what THEY want, before then identifying the most commercially attractive segments to your firm.

It is a common mistake to segment clients purely by revenue or AUM: these are things your firm wants, but they will tell you little about what your clients want and, therefore, they do little to align you with your clients. Check out our blog on effective client segmentation for other common segmentation mistakes

Be deliberate

Next, you need the assurance that you have a deliberate CX capability. As they say in the UK, “one swallow [a type of bird] doesn’t make a summer”, so make sure your CX doesn’t rely on chance or a small number of employees. That would not be sustainable.

The building blocks of CX

When we benchmark the strength of asset managers’ CX capability, we measure it against the five building blocks of CX. Each building block is designed to perform a specific function and, combined, they give your firm a holistic and deliberate CX capability. In our experience, there is no primary building block and you need them all.

  • CX strategy – if CX is an effect we create, then the first question must be, “what effect do we want to have, and on which client types?” Your answer will give you your objective. Every firm at the leading edge has defined its strategy for meeting its objective in relation to CX. A good strategy will start with the objective and why it matters, explain how the objective is going to be achieved, and assess the resources and capabilities needed. Check out our research into effective CX strategies and contact us if you would like more help as we have a CX strategy definition service for our clients.
  • Client journey – “at what point do you want to have a certain effect?” Good CX has a client journey that connects your end-to-end client touchpoints into a coherent experience and is relevant, explainable, and memorable. A superior client journey will ensure that, where appropriate, different touchpoints meet the different needs of your client segments.
  • CX governance – “how will you measure your effect on your clients?” This brings in governance and oversight, for which you will need a framework of accountabilities and processes that monitors the effect your firm has had on its clients and why. Effective CX governance will make sense of the experience you have given your clients by measuring actual observable effects (key experience indicators) and comparing them the causes (key performance indicators). This is a new way doing things we developed after we discovered that how and why 75% of asset managers gain no benefit from their current measurement activities
  • CX culture – “how will your colleagues and you create your desired effect?” This refers to the cultural recognition your organisation places on the primacy of listening to clients and serving their changing needs. A client-centric culture has clear responsibility for CX, solves client queries collaboratively, empowers employees to involve and interact with clients, and includes CX in annual objectives and incentive programmes.
  • CX data and analytics – lastly, “what data and insights will you need?” Data is the essential raw material for maintaining up-to-date 360° view of clients’ needs as they change over time. A ‘good’ data capability will exploit consolidated data to identify meaningful differences in clients’ needs, analyse them on an ongoing basis, and predict changing needs across segments of clients.

Another great thing about these building blocks is that they are incremental and, with the help of the CX Maturity Benchmark, you can sequence improvements across each one on a deliberate path to client centricity.

If you want to know where to start, after you have benchmarked your CX maturity, unless your report recommends a specific sequencing, the order we have listed the building blocks may be helpful to get you started: having a clear strategy is always a good first move.

In our CX training courses , we help asset management staff understand the details of these building blocks, learn how to apply them, and give guidance on connecting and embedding them into BAU.

Be memorable

Take an ‘engineering’ approach to designing your client journey(s), but not all touchpoints are equal, and clients are not machines. Unless we engage them on an emotional level at specific points, our efforts will likely be forgotten.

There is no point being good unless your clients remember. Because of this, just being good, isn’t good enough. We know from an earlier blog that extraordinary events disproportionately skew our memories, which means we should be extraordinary to be remembered, shared, and discussed. Everything else gets forgotten, so if you want to stand out you have no choice but to do something extraordinary. Anything.

Guard against being forgotten by identifying the aspects of the client journey where they tend to be more emotionally invested – the moments that matter: these are the moments that they are already pre-disposed to remember, discuss, and share. So, help them remember these moments positively by, as we say in Accomplish, ‘sprinkling unexpected delights’ that say something about your culture.

The value of superior CX

To conclude on good asset management CX, we have collated from across the blog series the competitive, financial, and logical reasons for maintaining a superior CX.

Competitive reasons for CX 

  • In contrast to investment performance, CX is controllable, which makes it a leveller for any firm with ambition.
  • CX is an opportunity to gain a competitive edge.
  • Asset managers are moving …
    • The ‘innovator’ firms have already moved
    • Early adopters are now increasing in number
    • Yet 75% of firms are not ready to seize the opportunity [2] [3]

Financial reasons for CX

  • A superior CX protects your gross profits by satisfying clients and retaining revenue. [4] [5]
  • Extraordinary CX is remembered, shared, and discussed [6] … sharing is advocacy, which drives growth [7]
  • A deliberate, governed and controlled client journey minimises complexity and costs. This defends your net profits. [8]

Logical reasons for CX 

  • Clients don’t leave their emotions at home – stick in their memories by giving them what they want, plus some sprinkles of unexpected delight.
  • Your clients’ expectations as B2C consumers has taught them what superior CX looks like, and they now notice its absence.
  • A reputation for superior CX will maintain your firm’s ability to attract and retain the best talent which, in turn, will sustain your reputation for superior CX.

Follow Accomplish on LinkedIn 

The discipline of B2B CX is still in its infancy in the asset management industry.

Accomplish is changing this by helping firms stand-out from their competitors  through the experience they deliver to their clients.

This completes our blog series on the fundamentals of CX and here are the links:

  1. What is CX? 🤷🏻‍♂️
  2. How does CX work? 🤷🏼‍♂️
  3. Is B2B CX really so complicated? 🤷🏾‍♀️
  4. Why asset management CX? And why now? 🤷🏼‍♂️
  5. What does good CX look like? 🤷🏻‍♂️

If you found this article useful, follow Accomplish on LinkedIn where we contribute frequently to extending the leading edge of CX across the asset management industry.

[1] Marketing malpractice: the cause and the cure. Christensen, et al (2005).
[2] Accomplish, June 2019. ‘Client experience has become THE differentiator’.
[3] Accomplish, November 2019. CX Maturity Benchmark findings.
[4] Measuring customer experience. Klaus, P (2015).
[5] Managing the total customer experience. Berry, L et al (2002). MIT Sloan Management Review.
[6] B2B Customer Experience. Hague and Hague, 2018.
[7] How the Net Promoter Score relates to growth. NPS (2017).
[8] Accomplish, June 2019. ‘Client experience has become THE differentiator’.
Adam Grainger

Adam Grainger

Asset management CX specialist. 20-year career in the investment industry – from Transformation Director roles, to regional COO positions.