It’s no secret that businesses make mistakes. We’ve made our fair share of them, and we took a long, hard look back at these mistakes to see if there was something we could learn.
We realized that we were making decisions with the best of intentions, but within a small vacuum. Often times, these changes were spurred by client feedback, but that feedback represented only a small portion of the client base, or wasn’t really the root-cause of the client concerns.
To keep this from happening again, we made a substantial commitment about two years ago – to regularly survey our clients and collect feedback about how well they think we’re doing. About once a year, we send each and every client who has access to email a brief electronic survey. While we do ask a few specific questions, we often find the most benefit in providing the opportunity to give open-ended feedback. It allows our clients to start a conversation about what would make working with Merriman an even better experience.
When we started this process, we all got in a room and thought about the things we don’t like about receiving a survey. The number one issue that came up was that we don’t think anyone reads these things. We made an internal promise that this would not be the case for our surveys, and we have kept that promise.
I read every single comment provided, and a group of people in our Marketing department read, classify and analyze these comments, ultimately making recommendations to the business based on this feedback.
In the first two years of surveying, we have learned a lot. We have made changes to how we work with our clients as a direct result of the feedback we’ve received. Here are some of those changes:
- Our advisors send more information to our clients than ever before, including articles on our products and services that are specifically designed for our clients only.
- Educational materials we provide to the public as part of our education outreach sometimes go to clients before being posted to the web for everyone to read.
- We started a client advisory board, where we meet face-to-face with a rotating, small group of clients to better understand some of our survey feedback, collect new ideas and fine-tune things we’re working on.
- We began offering information via Twitter and Facebook as new ways to keep people up-to-date about investing, our services and educational products.
There’s a lot more to come.
Please, take the time to respond to our surveys, and know that we read and appreciate every response we receive. The data we gather helps me and the rest of the team make decisions that ultimately keep you satisfied and on the right path with your investments.