In my experience, there are a lot of successful companies that get things right and there are a lot of profitable companies that get things wrong. At Merriman we like to think of ourselves as a successful business with predominantly happy clients, yet we are desperately seeking feedback. Why? We figure that, while it’s always important to know when clients are upset with us, it might be even more important to know what makes them especially happy with us. It helps us know what NOT to change.
All too often I have visited a favorite service provider and been disappointed that they changed the one thing that differentiated them from their competitors in their field.
We are certainly not immune to this problem. As I look back to learn from our mistakes, I often see a pattern:
- We are changing something in the name of “improvement.”
- We get input from our colleagues in the firm, or perhaps from outside “experts.”
- We fail to get accurate feedback from our clients.
Change is important. A company like ours needs to innovate to prevent stagnation, and to continue to provide top-notch service to our clients. But changes should be grounded in good data. It is for that reason we continue to ask our clients for feedback on how we are doing, how we can improve and what matters most to them.
We read the responses, and take them very seriously. You might think we focus entirely on the few dissatisfied clients who respond, but I learn a lot from the satisfied clients too. I learn what not to change, and that can be critical as we continue to try to improve our service offering.
I encourage you to respond and give feedback to all companies you work with. While some may not be able to, or choose not to respond to your feedback, I have learned that if you don’t speak up you will never get the service you want.
As for Merriman, I want to hear from you about our services, employees, and products. That way I can continue to keep my finger on the pulse of what matters most to people, our clients and our friends.
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Because it’s time to stop asking "What should I do?" and start saying, "This is what I could do."
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