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Business Owners, Practice Management

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The importance of regularly seeking feedback from your clients can never be overestimated. This is true in any market conditions but especially so in times of increased volatility and fluctuating returns. So, if your clients truly are your most valuable asset, then why is it that over two thirds of all Australian advisory practices have no structured approach to actively seeking feedback? *

*Since 2002, Business Health has released a series of white papers providing a comprehensive insight into the health of the Australian advisory industry and its preparedness for the future. These papers have become known as the Future Ready analysis. The fourth in this series, FutureReady IV, is based on the consolidated analysis from Business Health’s HealthCheck data warehouse which now contains detailed information on well over 2,000 Australian advisory practices.

Given the tumultuous investment markets of late, why haven’t the 70% of practices taken any action? Could it be:

  • The principals of these firms don’t know how to construct and implement a survey (or don’t know who can help them do it)?
  • It simply doesn’t rate as highly as other pressing work priorities?
  • Maybe it all gets down to cost at the end of the day – can a practice afford the cost of conducting a client survey?
  • Possibly many principals assume they already know what their clients think?
  • Perhaps “ignorance is bliss” and some principals just don’t want to know?

These are all commonly expressed reasons and (except for the last one), all have some degree of validity. However the following table clearly demonstrates that the practices that invest the time, effort and money to find out what their clients are thinking, not only strengthen their relationships, but also generate, on average, a 74% increase in bottom line profit.













* Please Note: All of the “profit” calculations assume a notional $100,000 salary for each principal working in the practice.

There are a number of different ways to seek feedback from your clients and all have their pros and cons (see the breakout below). However, regardless of the approach adopted, following are the Business Health Top 10 Tips to maximise the benefit of your survey:-

Top 10 Tips

1. Don’t embark on this process unless you are serious about doing something with the results – client feedback that is ignored or discounted can do more harm than good.

2. Only include clients whose opinion you value – then you are almost compelled to act on the findings.

3. Ensure you are able differentiate your “A” class (or very best) client responses from the others – these are your most valuable clients and it is vital to know how satisfied they are.

4. Adopt a structured approach – it is hard for a client to give you an objective assessment (good or bad) when you have just bought them a drink at a Christmas function!

5. Guarantee your clients confidentiality and anonymity – this will ensure completely honest (and sometimes brutally frank) feedback.

6. Don’t just consider your findings in isolation – benchmark your results against your peers and colleagues (or better still, best in class practices).

7. Ensure you thank your clients for taking the time to provide you with their feedback – no-one likes to think their efforts have been taken for granted. A little thank you goes a long way.

8. Share your results with your clients, prospects, referral partners and of course your staff – post selected extracts to your website, include a summary in your next newsletter, incorporate testimonials into your marketing/promotional material.

9. It is not set and forget – your first survey will create a baseline from which you will be able to measure your progress over time (we recommend that you conduct client surveys at least on an18 month to two year cycle).

10. Act on the key findings and continually remind your clients that the changes are a direct result of their feedback.




Focus Groups

· Can be expensive

· Can be hijacked by strong personalities, providing only marginal feedback

One on Ones

· Expensive both in terms of time invested and dollar cost

· Better results if facilitated by an external party

Phone Survey

· Can often be considered intrusive by clients

· Asks for quick response with limited time to consider answers

· Telemarketers often have no financial services experience – supplementary questions by client and subsequent explanation can often confuse the results

In-house Survey

· May not illicit completely open and honest feedback

· Can be disruptive and expensive

· Results can not be measured against peers/competitors

Independent Written or On-line Survey

· Offers time to provide a considered response

· Confidentiality/anonymity generally results in more honest responses

· Results can be benchmarked to the broader marketplace

· Often the most cost effective

Planner Lounge Member Offer

If you are interested in surveying your clients, Business Health is offering a 25% discount on their market leading on-line CATScan Client Satisfaction Survey exclusively to Planner Lounge members.

Normally $990, for the reduced price of $675 (plus gst), Business Health will create and administer a web-based CATScan survey for your practice. They will analyse your results, benchmark your ratings against the 50,000+ responses in their data warehouse and produce a detailed management report for your business. There is no limit to the number of clients that you can survey and you control who is invited to participate – BusinessHealth will not request, store or use any of your client information.

To find out more about the on-line CATScan simply complete the registration form to take advantage of this exclusive Planner Lounge offer and purchase a CATScan for your practice.


BusinessHealth Pty Ltd

Rod Bertino is a partner and director of Business Health Pty Ltd. Business Health is a consulting firm specializing in thefinancial services industry. Business Health develop and market a suite ofunique and exclusive business diagnostic tools which are supported by a rangeof specialized consultancy services.

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