April 19, 2024
Room for improvement with self-employed clients

Business Health has uncovered that self-employed clients are less satisfied with their financial adviser’s performance than retiree clients, signalling an opportunity for improvement.

Self-employed individuals often seek a different and more complex advice experience. As a result, these clients demand a differentiated approach from their adviser compared to typical clients, according to Business Health.

The organisation’s client satisfaction survey, which questioned over 60,000 advised Australians one in seven of whom were self-employed found that while the self-employment segment appears attractive, they bring their own set of challenges.

The survey discovered that small business owners demonstrated lower satisfaction levels with their adviser’s performance compared to retiree clients across nine key service delivery areas, namely:

  • Depth of understanding
  • Business relationship
  • Technical knowledge
  • Range of services
  • Implementation of solutions
  • Professionalism of practice
  • Support staff
  • Review service
  • Client communication

The areas where they are experiencing the most dissatisfaction are review service and depth of understanding, while business relationship has the highest level of satisfaction. Professionalism of practice had the smallest variance between self-employed clients and retirees’ satisfaction.

To improve these survey results, Business Health offered several recommendations for advisers to better service their self-employed clients.

“SME owners are generally stretched to the limit running their own business and, as a result, they have less time to devote to managing their financial affairs – which is a key reason they are looking to advisers for help,” the firm wrote.

Consequently, advisers are encouraged to keep communication succinct and explicit with self-employed clients while also being accommodating for meetings outside regular business hours.

With SME owners often having higher expectations and less tolerance for substandard service, Business Health urged client-facing staff to underpromise and overdeliver.

Reviewing a solution suite and delivery platforms is also key to enhancing an adviser’s digital interactions with their client.

Business Health continued: “Self-employed clients often value referrals to other professional service providers (e.g. accountants, lawyers, general insurance brokers, lending/leasing suppliers, etc). A strong alliance/referral network is critical if advisers are planning to successfully target this market.”

This corroborates with data from HUB24, which discovered that high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) often seek to use a financial adviser as part of a professional network of specialists.

For advice practices looking to work with more self-employed clients, Business Health pushed firms to reach out to local associations which support small businesses as a point of contact.

“If your practice has the skills and knowledge to add real value to small business owners, ensure you promote this expertise widely.”

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