Archive for June, 2017

The New Rules of Customer Engagement

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Goodbye, customer touch-points. Hello, ongoing, meaningful contact that actually drives revenue. Here’s what you need to know to be more engaging right now.


CEO, Get Satisfaction

The rise of the social Web has led to a fundamental shift in the way businesses of all sizes engage with their customers. Rather than focusing on “touch points” during the marketing and sales process, they’re using social technologies to form meaningful, ongoing relationships that involve frequent online interactions, oftentimes through social channels.

It is paying off: Companies that engage with their customers via social media have more loyal customers. Better yet, customers who engage with a brands online report spending 20% to 40% more on that brand, or on that company’s products.

How can your business see this sort of boost? First off, you need to expand your concept of “customer service.” It’s no longer an isolated section of your business model but part of a larger, customer engagement strategy.  That’s because responsibilities that traditionally fell to the marketing and product teams now fall into the realm of customer service. Now, your bottom line is riding on your ability to deliver excellent service while you are meaningfully engaging customers. In order to build loyal relationships that extend and last, you need to understand the basic principles of  the new definition of customer engagement and put them into action.

1. Customer engagement exists in a full spectrum of experiences.

Customer engagement is no longer a series of one-off experiences—it’s an ongoing dialogue. Companies need to be good listeners in the digital age, and that requires a new set of skills. It means listening  to customers who are already having conversations about brands –yours and others—in traditional online channels as well as over the social Web. So jump into those conversations in a genuine and human way. Foster trust and form relationships through open, honest interactions over time—interactions that create positive experiences and outcomes for your customers. Positive outcomes include answering questions, solving problems, hearing ideas and supporting them (when possible), and also amplifying praise.

Another aspect of this spectrum is the relationships that your customers form with each other. The peer-to-peer relationships are core to the social Web. Because of course, your customers won’t just be interacting with you, they’ll talk amongst themselves, sharing their perspectives across Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and even YouTube. Your job isn’t just to sell your product, it’s also to facilitate an active, passionate online community around your product.

2. It needs to be results-driven.

Although communication with your customers is an ongoing dialogue, you need not be chatting just for the sake of it. When you engage your customers, have a goal in mind, whether it’s improving your product or nurturing loyalty and increasing sales. While traditionally the product team manages product and marketing is responsible for increasing brand awareness and driving sales, the lines are blurred now. Nurturing an ongoing and genuine relationship with your customers will naturally make a major impact in both these arenas.

Naturally, how you engage with your customers impacts how customers view your brand. 70% of Americans are willing to spend an average of 13% more with companies who they feel provide above-par customer service. That means that all your customer engagement efforts should lead clearly in the direction of resolution. Know what the outcome should be, and provide your customers with clear tools that make it easy and efficient for them to get what they need.

3. It happens anytime, anywhere.

In the past, company-customer interaction happened in siloed, closed-off settings. Customers had to make a phone call or write an email. But now, we’re living in an “always-on”world ruled by the mobile experience. In 2011, customers were using mobile apps 10 times a day and a growing number of customers have used an app to buy a product. But here’s the big news: an astounding 78% used mobile apps for customer service purposes. In other words, if you’re not engaging your customers on-the-go—in the context of their daily lives—you’re essentially neglecting them, or are at least missing an opportunity to nurture the relationship through an open, honest interaction.

You want to be able to interact with your customers in the context of their daily lives. Not only are you able to provide them with better, more immediate service, but you also gain loyalty and stay in the forefront of their minds. When the time comes to make a purchase, they’ll choose the product they’ve come to trust through a series of positive experiences. 

4. It’s considered mutually beneficial.

The new customer engagement strategy should feel less like a marketing and sales campaign, contest, or tool, and more like a well-developed friendship founded on the basis of interdependent needs and mutual respect. The feedback you get from your customers isn’t just important for you, it’s important for them, as well. If you can listen to what your customers are saying and improve the product and their experience, everybody wins. You get more loyal customers; they get what they really need and want.

The relationship you build is a two-way street. On one hand, your customers feel heard, and they can see the ways they’re actually contributing to your company. At the same time, you get free feedback, and have the opportunity to improve your business, thereby by attracting more customers.

5. It’s truly customer-driven.

Remember the days when cold-calling part of your marketing strategy? Now, imagine the opposite of a cold call, because that’s how customer engagement works today. Your customers decide if and when to communicate. Your job is simply to give them the tools that make the interaction and communication easy and natural. Not only should these tools be easily accessible and highly visible, but they should also offer options for differenttypes of conversation. Do they have a question?  Do they want to post a rave review? Are they experiencing a technical difficulty? Present your customers with an intuitive tool for communicating with you, and let them initiate.

When you put control in their hands, you’re more likely to be able to meet their needs, but you also win their trust, and ultimately, you build the loyal customer base you need to grow and succeed.

How do you approach engaging with your customers?

This articled was sourced from

Client Communications

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Second Annual Study of Advisory Success: A New Age of Client Communications and Client Expectations

Since Pershing’s 2013 Study of Advisory Success, we find that things are good today for many advisors—in fact, things are better than before. However, even the most successful advisors are increasingly worried about having enough time to get things done. The rising tide of client expectations and communication touch points present new challenges for growth-minded advisors.

Study of Advisory Success defines what success means for advisors in today’s environment and highlights the issues they face. Pershing’s inaugural study found that the most successful advisors anticipate what will lead the next generation of advisors. This year’s study finds that successful advisors adapt to client communications and client expectations.

Twenty years ago, advisors connected with clients through three primary channels: telephone, mail and meeting. Today, these channels have been joined by dozens of other options. For some, the variety—and the time it takes to master them—can be dizzying. Technological advances drive this revolution. For example, in 2014, there will be more mobile devices on earth than people.1 Meanwhile, a new generation of digital communication tools, from e-mail to social media, have become further ingrained in our lives and preferences. The bar for effective communications between advisors and clients continues to rise.

In this year’s study, we examine advisors’ perceptions of their communications, digital presence, value proposition and overall success level. We identify opportunities for advisors to strengthen their connections and grow their businesses. The results may also help advisors feel greater satisfaction from their work and deepen their client relationships.

Pulse Check: Positive Momentum, But Still Room to Grow

In our new research, the largest segment of advisors (38%) reported that their business is “doing better than ever before,” which is a significant rise from the 31% who fell into this same category in 2012.

It would be easy to dismiss this sense of stronger momentum as solely a reflection of recent record market performance—a rise of nearly 30% in the S&P 500 in 2013.2 However, advisors do not measure success based exclusively on assets under management. Advisors define their success through positive impact on clients, which trumps financial gain.

In fact, this sentiment has become more pronounced since last year—71% (up from 66%) of advisors say “positively impacting the lives of my clients” is their top criterion for success.

I’m on Top, Not Those Guys

Nearly half of advisors (48%) believe they have achieved the highest level of success, scoring themselves as 8, 9 or 10 on a 1–10 scale. However, only 21% believe the average success of other advisors is at that same level. Such perceptions invite a comparison to Garrison Keillor’s fictitious Lake Wobegon, where “all the children are above average.”3 The gap between perception and reality might be explained by overconfidence, or simply each advisor’s sense that his or her hard work is achieving a measurable advantage over other advisors.

Surprisingly, advisors who believe they are the most successful are also less likely to have written business plans or succession plans. Such advisors, hyper-focused on maintaining today’s momentum, may miss out on growth opportunities that formal goals and action plans would facilitate.

Right for Me, Maybe Not for You

Most respondents continue to enjoy the career field they’ve chosen, with 69% saying that they are very satisfied being an advisor. Yet, surprisingly, many are hesitant to encourage the next generation to enter the field. Only 37% would recommend the profession to their children or another young person. Even among advisors “doing better than ever,” less than half (49%) would make a recommendation.

Such hesitancy might indicate that professional careers are evolving in ways that make future success appear daunting. In the medical field, for example, a 2012 Physicians Foundation survey found that 58% of physicians would not recommend medicine as a career to their children or to other younger people.4

As in medicine, that act of helping people underpins career success for financial advisors. Accordingly, there appears to be a serious need for advisors to seek a stronger, more dynamic relationship with clients. The challenge, as with most major efforts, is the lack of time. Nearly two-thirds of advisors (63%) are concerned about “having enough time to get things done.” In this environment, it’s important for advisors to become more efficient and effective as they communicate with and serve their clients.

Pershing’s Second Annual Study of Advisory Success: A New Age of Client Communications and Client Expectations focuses on the way advisors connect with their clients in today’s social media revolution:

Click here to read Second Annual Study of Advisory Success: A New Age of Client Communications and Client Expectations and the view the corresponding infographics.

1 Cisco, Cisco Visual Networking Index: Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update, 2013–2018, 2014.
2 Gibson, Kate (2013, December 31). Wall Street closes 2013 at records; best year in 16 for S&P, 18 for Dow, CNBC. Access Online:
3 Keillor, Garrison. A Prairie Home Companion.
4 The Physicians Foundation, Practicing Patterns and Perspectives, 2012.

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