Customer or client service is something that is expected. That baseline of expectations varies significantly by industry and client type. Within the financial industry customer experience has been a hot button topic for many years. One of the most basic tenants of customer experience is the service they receive. Before a financial provider can evaluate if they are meeting the service expectations of their clients, they must first understand what those expectations are. The expectations of investors by various wealth levels is an ideal place to begin the understanding, as those investors at lower levels of wealth have expectations that far exceed their wealthier counterparts in some areas, and lower expectations in others.
Communication and accessibility are some of the most basic topics when evaluating customer service. According to Spectrem Group’s recent study regarding the attitudes and behaviors of wealthy investors, 82 percent of Mass Affluent investors feel that a financial institution has an absolute obligation to answer their customers questions in a timely manner. Ninety-two percent of Ultra High Net Worth ($5 million - $25 million in net worth) investors feel this way.
A timely manner can be defined by investors in many ways, so Spectrem sought out more detail regarding what that meant for investors. Forty-two percent of Mass Affluent investors expect their financial institution has to respond to questions and concerns in three hours or less. This may be a gut check moment for some firms that have always followed the “within the same business day” philosophy regarding responding to client questions or issues. Higher levels of wealth actually have a more lax attitude towards response times, with only 32 percent of those investors with a net worth between $5 million to $25 million expecting a response from their financial institution within 3 hours or less.
This customer support is critical not only to customer satisfaction, but it can also have a detrimental impact to their financial needs. For those customers who are seeking information, a lack of customer support can have a devastating impact according to 73 percent of Mass Affluent investors, and 74 percent of Ultra High Net Worth. Financial institutions need to pay close attention to customer support and communications if they want to continue growing and receiving referrals from satisfied clients.