When you own an agency-style business, you can face a million challenges.
You must offer unrivalled customer service. There are no second chances when you’ve got competitors around the next corner (which is inevitable in Newcastle).
You must be prepared for the curly questions, and be able to answer them with confidence – there’s no hiding behind your boss if you are the boss.
Above all, you need to be able to communicate.
Wading through industry jargon and then effectively translating it into valuable insights for a customer is a challenge, even if you’ve been in the business for years.
Changes in technology and the industry are constantly occurring. There’s no way businesses can thrive if they’re stuck in the way they do things. No matter what type of industry you’re in, there will be changes and you must be able to adapt. When I began my career, faxing was the norm. Nobody uses faxes these days, and if I stuck to what I knew, business would suffer in a huge way.
Clients like to know you are at the forefront – whether it’s with technology, industry innovations or legislation. Dedicate some time to research and grow your understanding in your industry, then share what you’ve learnt with your clients. It shows you’re passionate and determined to achieve the best results for them.
Technological innovations have a huge impact on how businesses share information and offer their services. The future will see agencies move into the digital space, keeping businesses lean and overheads low. Staying ahead of the curve in this space presents huge opportunities for agencies in any industry.
In the financial planning sector, government legislation can make or break a client’s confidence, and their back pocket. It’s my job, as an effective account manager, to navigate the legislation and provide ultimate value to the client. If I didn’t adapt to new legislation, my customers wouldn’t be getting the returns and financial benefits they should. In a town like Newcastle, word would spread quickly that your services weren’t up to scratch. The benefit of any good account manager is their ability to provide value in any situation.
If your business can identify barriers and challenges early on, you can address these quickly with the client to build their confidence and trust in your services. Offering some information for free in the first few meetings is an easy way to build their confidence early, improving your chances of signing a loyal client.
Customer service must be the number one thing agencies focus on. It doesn’t matter if you’ve got the most advanced technology or systems; if you’re hard to communicate with and don’t offer a personal connection with your client, your business will struggle. Think outside the square when offering solutions to your clients and do your best to make their life easier. In my job, this can be as dramatic as changing someone’s life with financial advice. Even the smallest acts, like calling your clients on a regular basis, can build a lasting and successful relationship, for both of you.
Elliot Watson is an award winning Certified Financial Planner (CFP) with over ten years’ experience in the financial planning industry. Elliot is dedicated to providing a unique and personalised service for his clients, helping them to achieve their financial goals.
With years of experience and the highest academic qualifications, Elliot Watson Financial Planning is helping clients in the Newcastle and Hunter create wealth and minimise financial risk.