What Financial Advisors Can Learn from Dentists

When advisors and fintech companies talk about the client experience, they usually focus on features and apps like client portals, a paperless account opening process, and other digitized solutions.

But in truth, the client experience is about so much more than the web-based tools you can offer to clients. One of the most impactful parts of the client experience can be something as simple as how you schedule your meetings.

Gaps in the Customer Journey

Have you ever noticed how some professions seem to have figured out how to execute something exceptionally well, while others in the professions around them seem to struggle?

I was reminded of this recently when I presented the responses from Asset-Map customers and advisors for our customer journey survey. Two years of surveys and hundreds of responses revealed an alarming trend: there is near-unanimous aggravation regarding the effort and inconsistencies around the client-advisor meeting scheduling experience.

For advisors, the challenge is that few clients and prospects answer their home or cell phone anymore, resulting in a barrage of emails and struggle to align times and dates. Here’s a familiar scenario:

Advisor: “I’m available to do a review meeting on Tuesday at 10am or Friday at noon.”

Client (3-days later): “We can do a remote meeting at 12:30.”

Advisor (1 day later): “Sorry, that time is now taken. Can we look to next week?”

Client: We’re out of town for the next week. When else would work for you?”…

For their investors, the accessibility of their advisor is called into question. Often people will think of calling their advisor after the work day is done, which also happens to mean that their advisor is no longer in the office. Since texting is off the table for most advisors, we resort to assistants, emails and simply waiting…

Interestingly, responses in our customer journey survey indicated that advisors and customers alike recognize dentists as the most effective scheduling profession. When we asked, “Who by analogy is providing the best user experience scheduling?” the response was clear.

Schedule Advisor Meetings Like a Dentist

It’s easy to see why dentists have to be so good at scheduling when you take a moment to reflect on their business. To run a healthy dental practice, it is essential that dentists get patients back in the chair for maintenance every six months. They have set the precedent because they know if you miss the next cleaning, you might not come in for years.

The financial advice profession is not so different — it’s also vital that advisors maintain regular contact with their clients to stay on top of new developments and changes to financial plans and conditions, whether there’s any pain or not.

In the next section, I’ll explain how advisors can mimic what dentists have done to improve scheduling.

Why Dentists Have Cracked the Scheduling Code

More than any other profession, dentists have cracked the code of making sure that we show up for our appointments.

By making sure we don’t leave our current visit before we schedule the next appointment, and then confirming our upcoming appointment a certain number of days before it happens, dental practices ensure a constant pipeline of activity for their practice. They are booked months in advance and this supports their exclusivity and revenue predictability.

As a patient, I am going to book an appointment six months out when I know there is little conflict at the time of day that serves me. Because it’s already in my calendar, I will schedule around it. Frankly, the guilt of canceling an appointment is probably motivation enough for all of us because we have to call to cancel and reschedule several months out. Who wants to anger the person who will have a drill in their hand the next time they see you?!

I believe the financial advice community should approach scheduling in the same way (no, not with a drill). With the number of scheduling software apps available, there is no excuse for financial advisors not to offer clients a convenient, accessible way to schedule meetings.

Affordable solutions including Calendly, ScheduleOnce, TimeTrade, and others can all link to an advisor’s calendar, making it simple for existing clients and prospects to see current available times and set a meeting for when it’s convenient for them.

Not only can it handle the rescheduling in most cases, but it can also send out confirmations via email and text message with instructions on where the meeting is occurring. How many times have we all gone to attend a remote meeting and there are no link or conference call details? Amateur. Even the dentist confirms the time, place and what to bring (teeth, money and your calendar).

In our company, the scheduling system is embedded in our CRM, which presents unique links to different sets of stakeholders to allow them to schedule meetings ranging anywhere from fifteen-minute check-ins to two-hour brainstorming meetings. The scheduling system automatically sets reminders, location, and confirmations without any human interaction after the initial time is selected (see what I mean: Schedule a live demo of Asset-Map).

Removing the frustration from the meeting process can help advisors get in front of clients on a more regular basis, and both relationships and financial plans will benefit as a result.

Learn from Your Peers with Our Customer Journey Survey Results

As we shared in our Three Ways to Promote In-house Innovation video (3:42), listening to your peers can be one of the most effective ways to improve your practice and run a healthier business.

We’re sharing the presentation of our Advisor and Customer Journey survey so you can see what other types of strategies you can use to positively affect the entire customer and advisor experience.

Finally, watch a video about the Customer Survey results here and download our worksheet to help identify how well you interact with clients and other areas for improvement.