Compass Approach: Disney Magic for Your Advisor Firm

The compass approach

In the client experience world Walt Disney is equivalent to Meriwether Lewis or William Clark, he was a pioneer. He was one of the first to understand that designing an experience can differentiate your business and add exponential value.  Walt was inspired to create a theme park while at a playground with his daughters. They were enjoying themselves, as were the other children, but the adults looked bored. This was the aha moment for Walt, The idea of an amusement park for the entire family was born. Unlike the amusement parks of the day, this one would be clean, safe and fun for children and adults alike. This story was detailed in a recent Disney Institute blog and really touches on why client experience is so critical.   It’s 63 years later and a Disney vacation is still considered one of the best experiences of people’s lives. It is a bucket list item for some and others invest in time shares so they can enjoy Disney magic multiple times a year and all over the world.

The Compass Approach

What can you, a financial advisor, learn from Disney? I think the greatest lesson is how they get to know their client, or guests, as they refer to them. They use the compass approach to customer service.   (Yes, a North, South, East, West compass.) This compass helps point us in the right direction to help deliver an excellent client experience because it focuses on the clients’ needs, wants, stereotypes and emotions.

You can read moreto see how Disney uses the compass to design the experience for each guest.

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Set your Advisor Compass

The Compass ApproachSo let’s apply this to an advisor firm, specifically the clients.

Needs: What are your client’s basic needs?

They need investment products, statements, and a safe place to custody their assets. If your value proposition is financial planning, your client needs a plan.

Wants: What are you clients’ wants or desires? This is where you can exceed expectations.

Clients tell you exactly what they want. They want to meet their financial goals. If you don’t give them an opportunity to tell you their goals and instead talk about performance, you aren’t giving yourself a chance to exceed their expectations. Expectation by definition is “something probable or certain”. A goal is not probable or certain. If you help them achieve their goals you exceed their expectations.

Stereotypes: What misconceptions do investors have of financial advisors?

It seems extra important for financial advisors to overcome negative impressions. We all know the typical stereotypes; commission motivated, only wants clients’ money, investments-only focused.  In order to deliver an experience you must deliberately breakdown these stereotypes. How can you do that? Be thoughtful in your conversations. Give examples of how you have helped families, couples, individuals or businesses. Rather than listing your services in a brochure or website, create a story that demonstrates how those services come to life and the value they offer.

Emotions: What is the client’s emotional state when working with you?

Emotions are also extremely important. Your clients’ emotions give you immediate insight into the experience you are delivering. Survey your clients to gain awareness of their emotions. Build a list of places to improve/focus by taking inventory: what you are doing to create positive emotions, also what is happening when negative emotions present themselves. Try to apply what you are doing for the satisfied clients to the places that require improvement.

Learn from Others

Disney’s value proposition is an experience, and it is a great example of how we can learn from other industries. Client experience is not industry specific, and the financial services industry has never been a leader in client experience. Think about your daily life, when do you have an excellent client experience? And why is it excellent? Try to apply that to your business. You’ll be surprised by how much you can use. Nothing is off limits, not even a mouse.

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