Delivering a great client experience is key to repeat business for any broking business. Emma Cattermole of Wealthfolio shares her top tips on how to achieve it.
Providing exceptional customer service is front and centre for Brisbane-based broking firm Wealthfolio, which recently took out PLAN Australia’s National Award for Excellence in Customer Service.
This is the key reason that finance broker and director at Wealthfolio, Emma Cattermole, is still looking after many of the same clients 15 years after starting out in broking.
“To me, great customer service is about hand-on-heart knowing you are acting in the best interests of the client, including behind the scenes,” she said.
“Ninety-five per cent of our clients are referred by other clients, while the other 5 per cent are from referral partners. We believe everyone deserves to be given fast, efficient service and focused attention with the goal of building a long-lasting relationship.”
Ms Cattermole explains three of her customer service non-negotiables:
1. Stay in touch
For Wealthfolio, communication is the most important factor in good client service, and Emma recommends contacting clients regularly before, during and after the loan application process with an update on their loan application, even when no new information is at hand.
“Borrowing money can be a daunting exercise, so it is important to be proactive in contacting clients. This eases any stress or worry they may be feeling,” the Wealthfolio director said.
“Keeping all staff up to date with each and every file and monitoring their performance internally is also a great way to ensure consistent customer service standards.”
Wealthfolio also has a diligent process of ongoing contact in the first 30 days after settlement. Ms Cattermole and her team ensure clients have their bank accounts and credit cards set up and operational, and clients are also updated on the date of their first repayment.
“In the year after settlement, we have at least 10 customer touchpoints and we believe these are the key to our success,” she said.
“These include checking on repayments, general updates on the market, sending newsletters and RBA updates, to name just a few.”
2. Focus on service, not revenue
Ms Cattermole also advises making customer service the primary focus of the business. Wealthfolio has become self-sustaining by focusing on assisting existing clients with further lending or attracting referrals.
“We always show our appreciation when a client refers, following up with a personal thank you phone call, so the client knows we will look after their friend as well as we did them,” she said.
“Wealthfolio refers clients to other professionals including accountants and financial planners as part of our service free of charge.
“The only reason we refer our clients is to look after their needs – that is always the number one priority,” the director said.
3. Offer client education
Client education is also a large focus of Emma’s process, and the business has created a suite of collateral for clients on the topics of investing, property and finance.
Ms Cattermole will also bring in a third party if necessary – for example, she frequently refers clients to a financial adviser before they proceed with a loan, to ensure a property purchase is the correct decision for their financial circumstances.
“For us, great customer service is not about securing the next deal but about ensuring any transaction is in the best interests of the client. This is noticed and appreciated by our clients,” she said.
Emma Cattermole is a director at Wealthfolio and winner of the PLAN Australia Excellence in Customer Service award. She has more than 15 years of experience in the financial services industry as a finance broker and consultant, with a previous professional background working for a large worldwide accounting firm.
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