If new prospects are also visiting at least three competitor sites, what can professional service and alternative finance businesses do to ease the client journey?
The stats on current behaviours suggest: Quicker responses with an intelligent answer, chat bots though are not part of the answer. The essence is ‘lower the barrier to first meaningful contact’ by quickly speaking to people in an intelligent way.
Expectations are changing rapidly
Response times and quality of response needs to improve.
In the Lord Of The Rings, Pippin and Merry were infuriated by the slow deliberations of the Ents. The young Hobbits were seen as impertinent in their haste.
Bit of a mismatch.
According to research such as the University of Southern California’s Viterbi School of Engineering, expected response times to emails in 2015 was 4 hours. In 2017 this has moved to 15 minutes! I recently saw a website proudly proclaiming that they would get back to people within 24 hours. Bit of a mismatch.
We all know expectations have shifted. People want answers and they want them now or they’ll go elsewhere. So marketers in professional services, finance etc. have become obsessed with bounce rates etc. Hoping to ensure that visitors get some form of satisfaction from the website.
Bounce rates are important, but it’s far from the answer. The competitor that wins the business is the one that gets the first meaningful conversation.
The answer is to move towards an Investor or Client Relations ethos
Ask yourself the following:
- Where do inbound emails/enquiries go? Is it to a partner / subject expert or to a client relations expert.
- Who measures the response time? No one?
- Who mans your live chat? A robot, a call centre style inbound agent or a client relations expert.
- Who mans inbound enquiries from your website? Marketing who pass it to a partner? or an expert in client relations who answers pretty much immediately.
Here are two stories to paint the picture:
My mother died. To sort out probate I called a few solicitors. All but one put me through to partners who had no time to engage me and rather crudely tried to force/persuade me to go in and see them, I refused so they crudely gave me a fee based on a % of the estate and a some blah on timing etc. The ones for me, put me through to someone I can only assume was employed for dealing with probate.
“Mr Rosenwald I am so sorry to hear about your mother.
(………………………………….. silence, calm and relaxed)”.
I relaxed and calmed down. Her next question was a blinder.
“How are you bearing up?”
The genius of this second question is grounded in the silence that preceded it.
Mrs F (52) decided she was bold enough, to invest in property. Mrs F looked at websites for property funds, crowd funding and traditional agents.
One of the things on her mind was around her ISA. On a property crowd funding website a pop up appeared which said, exactly.
Hi I’m a human, my name’s Paul G…. it looks like you might have a question can I help?
Mrs F said ‘I was wondering if I could use my ISA as part of my investment?’
Paul replied ‘Thanks for your interest, yes you can, have you done much of this before?’
Mrs F replied ‘No it’s my first time, I’m just looking around’
Paul ‘It’s a busy day for it, we recently won an award and I’ve had all sort of questions, but not the ISA one yet, you are unique!. Do you know what you want to do or are you still looking at options?’
Mrs F ‘You’re the first person I’ve spoken to’
Paul ‘I often find this live chat a little impersonal would you mind if I called you to chat through the options?’
Mrs F ‘it’s 079………………’
Mrs F and Paul chatted and Paul helped her all the way through to investing. He did the money laundering everything. He held Mrs Fs hand all the way. He didn’t give her financial advice, he just helped her. The difference with Paul and many agents is that Paul is an expert.
When Mrs F was asked why she invested, her reply was simple. ‘I don’t know, it was just so easy’.
You might think ‘our firm does that’, well, you are the exception. Does your number on the website go to reception, if so is your receptionist a client relations expert? Does a business development professional answer info@ or enquiries@ emails within minutes? What about your live chat? It either doesn’t exist or is manned by a call centre style agent. None of which gives your prospective clients the ability to engage meaningfully and quickly.
Learn more about building relationships.