A lightbulb went off in my head today.
Yes, a light bulb went off in my head today. I have been licensed to sell securities for 37 years, served as a member of the PA Bar for 45 years and became a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certificant 33 years ago. I wish to articulate what we do for our clients and how that is so different than so many things in your life.
Digitalization: Convenience, at the cost of customer experience
Last night, my wife Holly tried to rent a car for a vacation trip. She spent hours on it and went to sleep without having completed the transaction. Fighting with the computer program, she kept trying different things. Does this sound familiar to you? In the “olden days” we would call a travel agent and this was done. That was before the car rental, hotels and airlines cut out the travel agents who were so valuable assisting their clients. Those that exist today are still terrific, but that is another matter.
Yes, just like you I purchase things on-line, and deal with numerous firms through the 800 numbers, such as the internet provider, utility companies, and vendors of all sorts. I am a lawyer and recently thought I had a legal problem. I left messages at over ten firms with not a single reply. I had a little thing on my face and I wanted it removed. I left a message at a local plastic surgeon without getting an answer. Does this sound familiar to you?
My clients know that my office works to be a haven for people who want to control their money, discuss their investments, and get great service without having to fight with their computer and have their telephone messages ignored. But it wasn’t always this way.
Where I came from, and learned what not to do
When I started out, I worked for a major investment firm. I was active and enthusiastic and really enjoyed my work. But like any professional, I was bogged down with ministerial tasks and received virtually no help. They provided one support person for ten of us! We actually received virtually no help at all. One day I saw her working on the work for one of the big shots in the office. She was being paid on the side by him to do his work instead of ours! A professional cannot do a good job without help. Can you see your dentist taking care of the insurance claims?
Operations: The secret of our success!
I knew that I could not build the practice that I wanted to build there. At Raymond James, I own the branch and can spend whatever I want for a support staff. I started out in 1990 with one person that I could not afford. Since then, my practice has grown to the three Financial Advisors and four full time people to assist us. The twelve million dollars of assets that I started with is now two hundred thirty million dollars as of date. The reason is that during business hours we actually answer the phone and don’t put people on extended hold. We send money out electronically as fast as anyone can do it and we fix things that need to be fixed. I spend my time giving hundreds of families, important financial advice.
One of my clients told me that she would never again deal with [famous no-load mutual fund] because she was tired of her problems not being fixed, of being put on hold and never speaking to the same person twice.
What people want from their vendor or service provider is the same all over the world. You want the best products. You want the best service. And you want the lowest cost. Unfortunately, we only get to pick two of these.
We strive to be a haven for people who do not want their financial issues to be handled the way their internet provider handles their account. I am well aware that there are other financial practices that give service as good as ours. If you found one – guard your relationship with your life. If you have not, you should call us.