The communication section of the survey scored the lowest, meaning important areas such as managing clients and the regulator need to be addressed urgently. Only 50% of firms were clear about the type of client relationship they wanted and less than half (48%) felt their clients understood the service proposition. Only 26% felt communications received and given by the regulator were satisfactory.
The new relationship economy demands brand building, enhancing the client experience, and leveraging client communication strategies using social media, search engine optimisation, and designing a service that clients will value.
With 40% of respondents unsure of how their business differs from the competition, there is a need for firms to build and focus on relationship capital, not financial capital. This will encourage businesses to move away from chasing trail incomes and the financial value the client offers. This only promotes short-term thinking.
Progress is being made but there is still much to do. By looking at themselves through their clients’ eyes and building services around the relationship the stakeholders (and regulator) want with the firm, a business can not only increase its value, but also ensure continued compliance with the RDR.
Chris Davies is director of Engage Partnership.