The Balancing Act of a Sustainable Service Model

The first step in developing a sustainable service model often starts with the desire and design of a compelling and exciting client experience that makes the client want to continue to work with the Adviser. We work closely with advisers on developing a Client Engagement Road Map (CERM) to capture and present this to clients.

The second, and significant step is working out how to consistently and efficiently deliver on this CERM on an ongoing basis. Weighing up the demands of the CERM from a client experience and the operational execution is a balancing act advisers are challenged with

We often see a common behaviour of advisers wanting to jam pack the client roadmap to make it look as attractive as possible to a new client. However, the reality is that Advisers not only need to deliver on this set of promises to meet client expectations, they also need to consider other timely aspects - compliance requirements, such as the Fee Disclosure Statement and other disclosures, with the obligation to report on both services available and services delivered to a client.

Therefore, it is critical for your clients, your team and your business that you get this right. To find your balancing point, we have a tool to help assess your business in 3 key steps:

  1. Calculate you Capacity – how many available hours of your team across different functions
  2. Time Taken – calculate time to execute your promised service model
  3. What’s the Net outcome - evaluate if you have over or under-committed your service model and team.

Let’s face it, audit isn’t a word that gets most advisers excited – but this particular audit can add value to your clients and your team. Contact your Russell Investments relationship manager, and we can do this analysis for you. Then there are generally 3 key paths:

I’m in deficit – what do I do?

It means, based on the analysis, your service model is committing more time than your team has available. This means you have an opportunity to review what you are currently delivering and consider 2 questions:

Are there more efficient ways of executing on current service model?

Consider the time taken for different processes, could there be a more efficient process? Are there technology solutions or outsourcing opportunities that can help streamline things for your team?

Are there things you should be cutting from your service model?

This can be a hard decision – but consider what is being done out of habit vs what is truly adding value to your clients. Consider a client satisfaction survey, ask your clients to evaluate the components or rate the level of importance of what they receive from you. This will help assess what you keep and what you can flick.

I’m in surplus – what do I do?

This means, that based on your analysis, you have capacity in your team to service clients. Firstly, we would suggest to double check your Time Taken analysis, and double check with your team you haven’t underestimated the time it takes to do any of the processes. But if you are comfortable with the outcome, we would suggest considering 2 different questions:

Could you be adding more to your service model?

If there is sufficient capacity, you could consider what else you could add to your client roadmap that would create value for your clients and aligns with your objectives such social events with referral opportunities. Look at investing time with clients that you think may be at risk or where there is an opportunity to do more business with.

Could you be utilising this capacity for other projects or business development?

With this capacity, perhaps now is the time to invest in those strategic projects that have been on your radar but haven’t had time to get to. For example, looking at new technology or client relationship management solutions and undertaking a review of key partners.

I’m in balance!

Congratulations – this signals a good understanding of both your clients and your team! But we believe in a continuous improvement culture. Check your client roadmap is aligning with your client satisfaction, could you use any of your current capacity more efficiently.

Catalyst for a team conversation

The results of the analysis can be a great catalyst for helping your team to evaluate their capacity and opportunities for finding efficiencies. Framing this exercise as a way of enhancing client engagement and how the team can work more effectively. This can be a useful introduction to working together to optimise the operational elements of your business.

The bottom line

A successful client roadmap needs to balance the needs of it being both attractive to your clients as well as able to be implemented by your team. Understanding your tipping point can help unlock conversations to identify what your client truly values and how your team can create capacity in their day.