Client Engagement Road Map Tried and tested for the times

We have been working with Advisers in practice management globally for over 30 years and a cornerstone tool of our offering has been the Client Engagement Road Map (CERM). The CERM helps an Adviser map out the future engagement with a client, illustrating what a client can expect and enables the Adviser to demonstrate their value through their engagement model.

This simple and clear model for clients can be a highly effective tool in demonstrating the Adviser as the educator, guide and the coach. Helping the adviser deliver a consistent process, ensuring ongoing support and providing discipline for clients to achieve their wealth goals.

We believe an important feature of a Roadmap, is to have it planned for at least a 2 year horizon. Ongoing fee agreements or annual fees can still be set annually, however it's important to elevate the client conversation beyond just a fee discussion as it is critical to establishing the value of an Adviser.

Today, the CERM now plays another role – a compliance function. The roadmap can be used as compliance documentation for the services offered and made available to clients. Advisers can also use this as a "Check list" for each item and confirmation with the client that it has been delivered.

Our updated CERM tool takes into account the dual function of value and compliance. Helping Advisers not only with the design of their client experience models, but also ensuring the team is aligned with the execution of the Roadmap across all clients and compliance obligations.

Making Magic from your Client Engagement Road Map:

A skill in working with a Client Engagement Roadmap is the ability to use it to build scale into your business, while still finding opportunities to make clients feel like they have received a personalised and intimate experience.

You may have a tiered service model, for example Platinum, Gold and Silver levels of service with their respective fixed fees. Start by designing a base template roadmap for each tier, ensuring you have the right mix of client engagement that aligns with your client needs and your brand. This might mean a mix of financial oriented activities such as portfolio review, cashflow reporting and financial market education. Then you can incorporate lifestyle activities such as social events, community based activities or business networking.

Designing the 'template' CERMS for each tier helps communicate to the team the core client experiences expected and how to design and execute on the supporting processes required.

But that doesn't mean there isn't an opportunity to be flexible or customise for your clients. You may highlight social events in your roadmaps to clients, but these can be smaller groups with experiences tailored to particular groups of clients. For example, you might host 3 smaller events such as wine tasting, an early morning bike ride followed by brunch and a cooking class, targeting your invites based on known interests of clients. A smaller intimate group will allow you to customise, making these clients feel special whilst still being able to deliver on the social event promised in your Client Engagement Roadmap.

The Client Engagement Roadmap is a promise of what you will deliver but it doesn't have to stop there. There is always room to exceed expectations, and deliver magic experiences – big or small.

The referral power of a Client Engagement Road Map:

You will have the opportunity to build and strengthen your brand by utilising the CERM. By outlining a clear service experience and following through each quarter you can increase the frequency and quality of referrals, clients will be more confident and be able to articulate what their Financial Adviser does for them. So, when their friends ask "How do you find working with your Adviser', you are making it easy for them to answer that question.

While this is an exciting opportunity, the opposite is true as well. You can just as easily erode your brand by creating a CERM and not following through with what you say you will do. If you elect to utilise the CERM it is vital that you follow through and execute on what you promise.

Effective implementation of the Client Engagement Road Map will provide

Your clients with:

  • A visible illustration of the value you provide

  • A structure for ongoing communication

  • A thorough examination of their total financial picture over a longer horizon

  • The opportunity for ongoing discussions about financial goals and help set expectations on your future interactions

  • Pinpointing planning areas that may require additional resources such as estate and tax planning.

Your business:

  • Reinforcement of your brand and offering to enhance referrals from partners and clients

  • Identification of the key services and processes required for client delivery

  • Documentation to capture the services offered to clients and confirm when delivery is complete

  • Structure, consistency and a process planning framework for your team

  • An opportunity to align your team to the client experience

By elevating your service level to feature the CERM, you can leverage a tried and tested resource to help design a clear and consistent experience. The benefits are not just for your clients, but it has the potential to play a role in managing compliance obligations and optimising your operational model. Contact your Russell Investments Regional Manager to find out how we can assist you in designing a CERM for your business and clients.