The RFS client survey was circulating throughout April and a very big thank-you to all of those who took the time to respond.  We understand that there are lots of competing priorities and really do appreciate the chance to get some feedback.

The third party – Business Health – who coordinated the survey and collated all the data – were very impressed.  We have had a few questions about the format and the questions but unfortunately we don’t have any input to the questionnaire.  This survey is used right across Australia in many practices so they need to provide the same questions to be able to generate meaningful data.

They provide a report to us on nine key performance indicators and compare us to other practices that have had their clients do the survey – they have an existing data base of some 60,000 client responses.  Business Health has been providing this service to Australian advice practices for over ten years so it is a robust peer group for a comparison.

They did go to great pains to explain to us that a bad result in this survey is not that bad, as it is a premium peer group, so we hoped for good news but were prepared for a little bad…

The report was provided to us on April 29, and there is always some trepidation when opening these things.

(Deep breath and queue drum roll)

Frankly the results were excellent and Business Health confirmed this as unusual.  In all nine KPI’s, RFS was rated in the top quartile of all practices that have participated in this review.

The table below is an excerpt from the report.  The maximum rating is 5, so as you can see the majority of you and your fellow clients, are very happy with the service.

There are always things we can work on but one pleasing aspect is that an area we wanted to improve upon, from our 2020 survey, was the ‘Financial Review Process’. This is now our largest ‘variance’ to the industry benchmark which would mean this a service that our clients are much happier with than many of our peers.  We will continue to look to enhance this but it is a very pleasing result.

  • Our strongest results are ‘Professionalism of Business Practice’ and ‘Standard of Support Staff’ which at 4.89 and 4.82 respectively are great results for the business.  Based on the comments, some of this result will be from the look and feel of the new premises but the support team feedback was excellent and we have passed this on.  They are feeling very appreciated.
  • Our next best score is Financial Knowledge at 4.72 which is something the business invests heavily in, so it is great to see these efforts paying dividends.

Our last survey was done in June/July 2020 – right in the middle of the pandemic – and similarly we have done this one at a very uncertain time in investment markets. This is deliberate as we want to know how our clients are feeling and make sure we are delivering what they would expect from us in times of stress.

While there is nothing ‘bad’ in the above, there are things we can work on.

  • Largely you are happy with our communications but we can slip in to ‘industry jargon’ in some of our commentary and we will look to avoid this in the future. 
    • Most were happy with the volume of communications but stressed quality over quantity
  • Understanding is an interesting one as the feedback from longer term clients is that we have an in-depth understanding of their needs but for newer clients there is more work to be done.  It does make logical sense but we will look at ways to accelerate this process in the early years and our advice team have taken this on as their project.
  • Our lowest variance to the industry benchmark is ‘Business Relationship’ though 4.69 is a very good result and still puts us in the top quartile.  Interestingly the response from our female clients was 4.83, so almost all 5’s.  The basis for this result was the question ‘How comfortable do you feel talking about your financial needs?  What is the level of trust between yourself and your adviser?’ Trust is a very important issue between advisers and clients and we never take this for granted. This highlights we need to spend more time in this area and is something we can work on.

One other area we have been working on since the 2020 survey was educating clients on access to their data. 

  • In 2020 there was some feedback about portfolio updates and the advisers and their teams committed to helping clients learn more about the technology solutions that are available to them.  Navigating technology can always be a bit intimidating but with some training and helpful tips we have clients logging into their portfolios regularly and this transparency can provide a great deal of comfort. The other upside is that all these well informed clients are asking much deeper questions of the advisers and their teams and putting that technical and financial skill to the test.

We had some great supportive comments that we will share on our website and social media and good feedback on where we can improve. 

All in all a very productive exercise for us and a big thank you once again for everyone who participated. Hopefully, with your input, we can provide that extra ‘surprising’ level of service that we, at RFS, always strive to deliver.