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13 Client Survey Questions for Financial Advisors to Ask in Year-End Reviews

Date: October 5, 2022

Feedback isn’t always easy to ask for and can be even harder to hear but it’s one of the most valuable resources you have for making sure that you’re delivering top-tier service that keeps clients satisfied and loyal. All those tech upgrades or new service offerings won’t matter if you’re failing to improve the one area your client is most frustrated about. 

Even if you’re confident your feedback will be largely positive, you might still be at a loss for exactly what kind of questions to include on a survey. If they’re too broad or generic, the responses might not be specific enough to yield useful insights. On the other hand, if you get too specific or add too many questions, clients might feel like answering the survey questions is more work than it’s worth. 

To strike the right balance, include a mix of quick multiple-choice questions with a few open-ended response questions. You can find some useful client survey questions for financial advisors below.

Client Feedback Is a Financial Advisor’s Best Tool for Improving Relationships

According to the Financial Planning Association, 68% of advisors gather client feedback in some form—but it’s usually just informal questions in meetings and phone calls. But just 27% have a formal, regular process in place for getting feedback.

This is surprising in an industry that is so research-driven. In a Vanguard-Spectrem study surveying 3,000 investors, the top four reasons for switching financial advisors were communication or service related—many of which could have been addressed if the advisor had asked for feedback and implemented changes on the basis of that feedback.

For example, 67% of high net worth investors cited not returning phone calls as the top reason they left their last advisor. This is such a simple fix that could have been made had those advisors bothered to ask for feedback. Instead, they lost those high net worth clients and lost the opportunity to learn what improvements they could make to improve client retention going forward. 

In short, not asking for feedback is likely costing you money in lost clients. Instead of just guessing at strategies for increasing client retention rates and wasting money on changes that don’t address the key issues your clients are actually concerned about, simply ask your clients what they like and dislike about your service!

For even better results, make sure to send out an update after you’ve reviewed the responses to let clients know what changes or strategies you’re implementing as a result of that feedback. This will reassure them that they can expect even better service next year. 

But even more importantly, it demonstrates that you genuinely listen to and value your clients’ feedback. Knowing that you’re implementing changes based on their feedback reminds clients that if they’re dissatisfied with something, they can talk to you about it and know that you’re listening—instead of bottling it up and just canceling their service.

13 Client Survey Questions for Financial Advisors to Ask  

With that in mind, here are 13 client survey questions for financial advisors to include in their next year-end review.

Ask How Satisfied They Are with the Value You Created This Year

  • How satisfied are you with progress towards your financial goals? 
  • Are they in line with your expectations?
  • In what areas have we exceeded your expectations?
  • Are the fees for the services fair in comparison to the value you receive?
  • How Likely Are You to Refer Friends and Family to Our Advisory Practice?

Ask Clients to Agree or Disagree with the Following Statements About You

  • My advisor understands my financial needs and goals.
  • My advisor is knowledgeable and experienced in finance
  • My advisor communicates with me clearly and often.
  • My advisor is trustworthy.
  • My advisor explains complex financial concepts in an easy-to-understand way.
  • My advisor responds to my calls or emails in a timely manner.

Ask What Clients Would Change About Your Service

  • Are there any areas where we fell short of your expectations?
  • What is one thing we could do differently to make your experience better next year?

Always Include Space for Additional Comments

Often, clients have feedback beyond what you think to ask. Adding a box for clients to write in their own thoughts can be one of the greatest sources of insights into where you could make improvements that you may not have even considered. 

Implement a Formal Feedback Process

Don’t just ask these questions at random when you remember to ask for feedback. Implement a formal process to make sure you’re gathering and storing that data consistently. Send out a survey once a year to all of your current clients. Compile their responses and look for common themes. 

As you get in the habit of doing this annually, you can also compare this year’s feedback to past years to see if the changes you implemented are working or not.

Are a lot of clients complaining about your slow email response rate? Are you noticing a decrease in your “trustworthy” rating compared to last year? Are the services your clients value most different from the ones you thought they’d rank as most important?

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