I hate to start an article off with a negative but never before has the industry rated so poorly for trust. Trust really is the cornerstone of your business and must be addressed.
What is trust? How can it be measured? Trust is very much in the eye of the beholder [is that a line from a song?] so it can be challenging to ensure that trust is written into your strategy and implemented accordingly. However, in this quick post, I’d like to share some simple actions you can take that will help bring trust into the forefront of your business.
How many people do you know that have been scammed? Perhaps you have been yourself; they are very sophisticated these days. Protection of data and privacy of information are two key things people worry about in today’s age. So, what systems do you have in place to protect your client’s information? How often do you invest in them? Who is responsible for these systems and processes you have in place? Now, tell your clients.
Another key area which is growing rapidly is the area of social and ethical responsibility. I’ve written about this before and still subscribe to the notion that as business owners you [we] have a responsibility to give back to others and helping those less fortunate than ourselves. What does your business do and how do you communicate that message. I’ve met advice businesses that do tremendous work in this area but fail to communicate it to clients because they felt uncomfortable about communicating it. Don’t feel uncomfortable. By promoting your social and ethical responsibility you are raising awareness and we need more of that.
When I survey clients of financial advisers I ask them about expectations and similar questions to ascertain what is important to them and 90% of the time it’s about having their best interest at heart. I know you know that but how do you communicate that? Where is your social proof that what you say you can do, you actually have done for others?
Displaying your ability to be trusted can’t be achieved through one piece of communication or through a campaign. It will take a layered approach; a multi-channel approach over time. Think of the hare and the tortoise!
One of the key documents that can help display your trust is your FSG and your privacy statement but when we asked a group of people to find it on a selection of websites, guess what? They couldn’t find it because it’s placed at the bottom of your website in the smallest font compliance will allow! I think we need to change this.
Governance is another keyword that clients are looking for evidence of. How is the business structured? What are the capabilities of the team? What are rules that the business goes by? What processes and systems are in place? How does the business make sure that its clients, employees, stakeholders and community are protected and looked after? Communicate it.
I remember giving a presentation to a group of advisers a couple of years ago and one of them said that they were part of a cottage industry; perhaps a paradigm shift is required by those that still believe that to be true!
Ethics. I know you are honest and transparent but how are you demonstrating that? Do you ever talk about the audits that you have to go through and how successful your business is or has been? Why not? Clients would have no idea about the number of audits that are conducted on your business – talk about a key way to demonstrate trust!
Trust is one the fundamentals of any business and while the above tips will definitely help you [plus there are more ideas] the ultimate way to focus on trust is through your client-centric culture. Not your compliance culture or systems culture but through being a true blue client-centric focused business.
A client centric culture will drive trust.