Call it the George Clooney effect. Motivational speaker Geoff Ramm told delegates at the AFA Conference that one way they can fend off competition is to treat each and every client as if they were a celebrity.
The UK-based founder of OMG Marketing & Celebrity Service travels around the world giving business owners professional coaching on what a standout service level looks like.
Ramm calls it the 'celebrity service gap', where he believes every business owner would treat their clients differently if they were Hollywood stars.
Ramm posed the theoretical question: If George Clooney walked into your shop, how would you treat him? How does that compare with how you treat your client today?
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"That's what I call the celebrity service gap ... If that's a gap you can fill, your competition can never touch you," he said.
Ramm gave examples including advocating that financial advisers move away from generic marketing merchandise.
"Get a customer service budget," he said, explaining that financial advisers should set aside some business spend on customised personal service. This spend goes towards small gestures that can mean a lot to clients, such as personalised gift items and thank you cards.
This red carpet treatment can go a long way, especially in the world of social media. He recalls a time when he shared an excellent example of customer service on Facebook and it was viewed 40,000 times, leading to amazing exposure for the business.
In terms of the practical application, Ramm said that it can be overwhelming to radically change the customer service approach of any business overnight.
Don't try and provide the celebrity treatment to everyone on your client list, start with two, he said.
"Start with two clients. Give them the celebrity treatment and that will start to build a new culture [within your advice business]. Then the next day, do it for two clients, and so on," he said.
"That's how you fill the celebrity service gap."
"I agree with Geoff's approach to personalised customer service. You really need to know each and everyone of your clients. I regularly meet with them so I can address any of their issues and offer support," said one of the delegates, Arthur Kyriacou, financial adviser and principal of Arthur Kyricaou & Co.
The potential to gain market share is enormous, with around 90% of the adult population without a financial adviser. According to Rainmaker Research titled Financial planner customer usage rates published in June this year, around two million Australians have a financial adviser, accounting for just 10% of the adult population.