Darren reports on our annual client satisfaction questionnaire.
This has surely been the toughest potential year for our little business since we launched back in 2006. The worst market crash of all time, coupled with the instruction to send staff home, could have been the ‘perfect storm’ for us.
When the pandemic broke in March, I clung to one determined vision – to keep our existing clients happy and calm – no matter what. I cancelled my holidays and Katy and myself worked over weekends and evenings to ensure nobody was left behind or worried. But did it all pay off?
We sent our annual client satisfaction survey to our 200 clients via a ‘survey monkey’ link as usual. We changed the questions slightly this year to ask how our clients felt at this time during the pandemic, but the format was still very much ‘quick fire’ allowing people to complete the survey very quickly – or to stop and make comments if they wished.
This year we had a slightly lower response rate at 55%. Whilst we were disappointed at a slightly lower response amount, the care and detail that our respondents put into their answers was incredible. The comments were so valuable and really reinforced what we were doing well and where we should continue to invest our efforts.
We started by asking our clients if they had found our service ‘worse’, the ‘same’ or ‘even better’ during the lockdown. The response was that 100% felt our service had in no way worsened despite the pandemic and indeed 70% of respondents felt that somehow we had made our service even better.
It would seem that my weekly recorded video during lockdown was a contributor to this feedback from our clients. It was hard work to constantly research, write then record these short videos, but the impact was worth the work.
We went on to ask about the quality of our annual reviews to our clients. They receive these in addition to their quarterly ‘proactive’ reviews. 100% of respondents scored our annual review content as either ‘perfect’ or ‘good’ and again the comments were a real boost and enlightening.
Next we focused on our clients’ perception of ethical investing. Some 71% of respondents said that they could see ethical investing as ‘becoming more important’.
We asked our annual question ‘how do you feel about investing new money right now?’ This is a question we have repeated for several years as our clients are a wise bunch of people and we genuinely love to know their view on this.
We were absolutely staggered by this years’ answer. Last year, some 37% said they felt ‘confident’ or ‘very confident’ to invest right now. This year that percentage of respondents had risen to 60%. This really shows how comfortable and confident our clients feel and we take some personal pride in this.
We then wanted to know our clients’ thoughts on the Old Mutual platform. Old Mutual had gone through a huge change of platform, just weeks before the pandemic broke. We felt that the amounts of paper they were sending to clients was confusing and over excessive – but we wanted to know what our clients thought.
We found that some 41% of clients had moved to the online system to avoid the paper. Over 45% of clients did say that they found the paperwork ‘bewildering’ with only 12% saying that it was ‘perfect’. We took this up with Old Mutual immediately and many more of our clients are now moving to the online system. Old Mutual have taken on board our suggestions.
We asked other questions about our response times, articles, videos, website, reports and much more. The results were stunning, with no negative scores in any one field.
In conclusion, this years’ survey was perhaps our most important indicator. It is easy to give good service when the ‘going is good’. However, it is when the going gets tough that the really good firms get a chance to shine.
My heartfelt thanks firstly to our wonderful clients who responded so openly and gave up their time to make the survey work. Secondly I really want to thank the Thomas and Thomas team who make such awesome service a reality.