Delivering an exemplary client experience may impact whether your clients invest more, make a purchase, refer a friend or family member to you—or leave your firm.
However, not all clients are created equal, which means not all clients can receive the exact same level of service. It also means that all clients do not equally contribute to the success of your firm. Creating an experience that suits your clients’ needs and expectations but also allows you to grow is critical to the success of your firm.
At Taylor Financial Group (TFG), we review our client service matrix quarterly to ensure we are providing our clients with the proper quantity and quality of services to satisfy the level of value they expect from us. Fear not if you are reading this and haven’t considered making a service matrix before! It may take a few iterations to align your thoughts, but the process is relatively simple.
The first thing to do is write down a list of every service you provide to clients. Once this list is complete, you can sort each service into a larger category. Sorting all of your services into larger categories will provide clarity and enable you to explain your value proposition better. At TFG, we sort our services into the following seven categories.
- Investment services
- Financial planning
- Estate planning
- Tax planning
- Risk management and protection
- Firm communication/review/update meetings
- Client appreciation
Figure 1 below shows our Financial Future Planning Chart, which displays all of our services. This is the version we share with clients. (You will see our internal client service matrix, with segmentation, in Figure 2.)
Figure 1: TFG Financial Future Planning Chart
Source: Taylor Financial Group
Once you develop your service offerings and organize them into categories, then add ratings across the top of your matrix (Figure 2) to determine which client segment will be receiving which services. At TFG, we use five as the highest score in our service matrix and have our own set of parameters for each rating, which we define below, but you can start with whatever scale you choose. Our method uses five as the highest score and then reduces each rating by one point.
You may be thinking, how do I offer specific services to one client class and not to another, but the answer is simple. You can define and limit the scope of the engagement in the first place and add more services or perks for top-tier clients. If specific clients don’t meet your guidelines for certain services, then define that to them during the discovery process, so it’s clear that if they want access to A+ services, they will need to bring in more assets to get into that category.
At TFG, we treat C & D clients differently than A & B. For example, C & D clients have to pay an extra fee if they want tax planning, estate planning or financial planning services. We will also typically only do an annual review for this segment of clients, and most of the time, this review is written rather than in-person as it is with A & B clients.
At TFG, we define the ratings as follows in our service matrix.
- A+/A: Clients greater than 5.00. Typical AUM size of over ∼$2.5 million.
- B: Clients rated 4.99‐3.00.Typical AUM size between ∼$1.2 million and $2.5 million
- C: Clients rated 2.99‐2.00.Typical AUM size between ∼$500k and $1.2 million
- D: Clients less than 2.00.Typical AUM size up to $500k
Figure 2 shows our internal client service matrix.
Figure 2: TFG Internal Client Service Matrix
Source: Taylor Financial Group
Below we give a little more detail on each of these service categories.
Investment services.Everyone receives investment management advice, which includes a Riskalyze quiz and analysis, along with written investment recommendations and a consultation call to review. These are table stakes and every client expects some level of service and attention here, so there is not much differentiation.
Financial planning.Although we are very passionate about financial planning, only the A and B clients get financial planning included as part of their AUM fee. For the others, we charge a hybrid fee, which will include an AUM fee for their assets along with a financial planning fee (typically charged by credit card monthly).
Estate planning services and tax planning services. Again, these estate planning and tax planning services generally make the most sense for those A and B clients, and that is who we focus on. From time to time these items may come up with a C or D client, but it is rare, as their level of assets typically doesn’t justify an extensive analysis or service offering in this area, by definition.
Risk management. Insurance services are important for everyone, sometimes most of all for those who have fewer assets as it is a strong form of defense. We offer these services to all clients, including reviews of long-term health care and life insurance. We have a Medicare consultant that we make available to clients and they pay and hire her separately.
Firm communication/reviews/update meetings.As an advisor, I understand the importance of proactive service opportunities, such as review meetings. As indicated above, we offer review meetings also based on segmentation. That is not to say that we refuse to meet with a C client more than once a year, for example. If they need us, we are there for them. But our proactive outreach is designed to be more frequent for the higher-rated clients who have more complex financial lives and typically need more frequent contact with us.
Client appreciation. Equally, we feel that client appreciation is crucial to our relationship with clients and these invites are also driven mostly by segmentation.
We also make it a point to recognize our client’s birthdays, wedding anniversaries, and firm anniversaries each year. It’s essential to show your client how much their relationship with your firm means. For birthdays, we send A and B clients a birthday cake. They always express gratitude that we ship the entire cake right to their front door. While we don’t include C and D clients in the birthday cake gift list, we do send all clients birthday cards, wedding anniversary cards and firm anniversary cards.
Developing your client segmentation and your client service matrix is the best way to ensure you are delivering high-value services to the correct type of client for your firm. Once a year, revisit your client service matrix to update it based on new or changed offerings, and to ensure you and your team are following through on your commitments.