TCF: Treating Customers Fantastically

I received a gift from a client today, a bottle of delicious Meerlust Rubicon wine.

As a Financial Adviser it’s obviously great when the value of your clients’ investment portfolios goes up, or you help someone plan for their kid’s education, or you legitimately help reduce a client’s tax bill.

These are all justifiably rewarding aspects of the service we provide.

But for me, some of the happiest moments and memories are when I receive gifts from clients. At previous employers I always thought it should be the other way around. Aren’t I supposed to be the one handing out gifts and inducements to say thank you for being a client and encouraging you to stay?  It’s counterintuitive.

Which got me thinking about the FSB’s framework of Treating Customers Fairly in South Africa, and my own version of TCF:

Treating Customers Fantastically is an outcomes based advisory and service approach designed to ensure that fantastic outcomes for consumers are delivered by regulated and qualified Financial Advisers, all the time!

Advisers are expected to demonstrate that they deliver the following TCF Outcomes to their customers before, during and after the relationship, through best advice and superior servicing:

1. Customers can be confident they are dealing with Advisers where TCF is central to the corporate culture, measured by the number of times they smile, laugh and/or feel warm, fuzzy, happy, safe and assured when dealing with their Adviser, and also by the number of times they refer their Adviser to friends, family and colleagues;

2. Products recommended are not only designed to meet the needs of customers but are also in their best interests, deliver the best possible results, are the best value for money (i.e. the lowest fees with the highest returns) and are appropriately diversified, liquid and regulated;

3. Customers are not only provided with clear information and kept appropriately informed throughout, but are also proactively helped and educated, have all their questions answered in a timeous manner, and nothing is left unclear or unexplained;

4. Where advice is given, it is not only suitable but also professional, independent, unbiased, free from conflict, easy-to-understand, fully explained, documented and in the customer’s best interests;

5. Customers are free to make a complaint, but won’t want to because they know their Adviser has done everything possible to help them every step of the way, and for all the right reasons;

6. Customers are free to leave for another Adviser, but won’t want to for the same reasons as above.

Placing clients at the centre of everything you do and aiming to achieve the TCF outcomes in the fullest sense ensures a fantastic outcome for everybody, as client satisfaction is the foundation on which to build a business which is sustainable over the long term.

Now, back to the wine…

“Alea iacta est. The die is cast,” Julius Caesar is supposed to have said as he led his troops towards Rome in 49BC. The crucial border of the ancient capital was the Rubicon River, and the decision to cross it marked an irrevocable point in history. It would profoundly shift the course of Roman politics – there could be no turning back.

Is TCF a Rubicon moment for some Financial Advisers? Or RDR perhaps?

My Rubicon moment happened in 2014 when I founded Advent Wealth, and, like Caesar, there’s no turning back, as it was the greatest gift I could ever have given myself and my clients.

Posted in Blog, Financial Planning, Tips.