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Customer Experience as a Market Driver

Imagine you recently took a driving vacation¬†in Europe. Like most other travelers on the road, you relied largely on Trivago to find the best places to stay along the way. The popular travel site made it easy to compare hotel pricing and features. Plus, it gave you access to reviews by previous guests including ratings of their satisfaction levels. While in some instances, you may have found yourselves going directly to a hotel’s website for information, your final selections were likely influenced primarily by reference to the shared experiences of a sizable number of current and past customers.

While there is no Trivago available for choosing a wealth manager yet, recent studies have shown that the significance of “independent opinion” in the selection process of financial services providers by HNW and UHNW individuals including client referrals, ratings and reviews has risen significantly in the past few years. Thanks in part to social media and the web, client experience, in wealth management as well as in many other industries, is becoming an increasingly important element of marketing and a core driver of sales.

Considering this trend, many firms are shifting attention from the sales cycle to the experience cycle. The experience cycle model as shown in the table below was first introduced by Hugh Dubberly, an ex-Apple designer. It describes the steps people go through in building a relationship with a product or service.

Most important, the experience cycle captures the process by which customers become advocates and introduce others to the product, beginning the cycle anew. It suggests a shift in focus from “the sale” as a point event or “trial” as a single interaction to nurturing a series of relationships in a continuous cycle that yields increasing returns.

Creating a rewarding customer experience that drives growth in turn requires a shift in focus from sales or marketing management to customer experience management. Firms must begin with a deeper understanding of client needs and satisfaction triggers and must follow through by creating an ongoing experience that satisfies these needs over the life of the relationship.