Everywhere I have worked, I have had the pleasure of talking directly with clients. About 18 months ago, we embarked on an ambitious program of surveying our clients on a recurring basis. When we launched the program I set out to call everyone who responded to the survey to, at the very least, thank them for taking the time to share their thoughts with us.

Most of my calls were a joy to make. It was fun to bask in the happy, supportive comments of our satisfied clients. I learned how much they enjoy working with their advisor, listening to our podcast or enjoying the freedom that comes from having a partner to help you manage your money.

This process also gave me a chance to learn some fantastic things from the lengthy conversations I had with the handful of dissatisfied clients who responded. Here are some gems from those calls:

  • Financial professionals measure relative performance and, while that is important, it’s ACTUAL performance that puts your child through college or allows you to retire.
  • It is not enough to quietly take great care of you. Doubt can creep in, particularly during times of market volatility, and more communication from us helps ease that doubt and reminds you that you’re in good hands.
  • We may not be the right investment philosophy for you. Or maybe we once were, but your philosophy has changed over time. We still believe strongly in what we do. Rather than being frustrated with us for not changing our investment philosophy, let’s find the right program together.
  • You may not fully understand what we do. This can lead to frustration and dissatisfaction.

The biggest lesson for me has been this: You can learn invaluable lessons by listening to the things people are struggling with, happy about, and would like to see from us as a firm. These conversations are the spark that helps me and the rest of the team make decisions to keep our clients as satisfied as possible.

I want to hear from you, satisfied or not. Send me a note: greg@merriman.com.