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How to Use the Law of Uniform Connectedness to Improve Client Experience

Date: February 16, 2022

As a financial advisor, it’s your job to help clients juggle complex and interconnected financial goals that range from rebalancing a portfolio to creating a retirement plan to saving up for a vacation at the end of the year. Recommendations you make today regarding investments can impact other areas of their financial life today and years into the future. 

While it’s easy for you to see the big picture, your client likely doesn’t have the financial knowledge to see how all of those pieces connect. By using the UX law of uniform connectedness, however, you can help clients see those connections and better understand how you’re connected to their financial goals as their advisor. Doing so will improve client satisfaction and help clients better understand exactly what kind of value you’re providing. Here’s an overview of what this UX law is about and how you can apply it to your financial practice.

What Is the Law of Uniform Connectedness?

In UX design, the law of uniform connectedness states, “elements that are visually connected are perceived as more related than elements with no connection.” Essentially, if two objects on a page appear visually connected—by virtue of, say, being the same color or having a frame drawn around them—then the viewer will automatically assume they are connected. 

This is based on the psychological principle of “grouping” where the human brain instinctively looks for patterns or similarities to organize information into categories. That grouping is done according to five basic rules or principles: proximity, similarity, continuity, closure, or connectedness.

As a financial advisor, you can work with this natural tendency to find connections to help clients more easily understand financial planning and to improve their overall satisfaction. Keep reading for two ways to apply it to your practice.

Creating a “Connected” Perception for Your Clients

The first way to apply the law of uniform connectedness to your practice is to create a perception of connectedness between you and the other services your client uses to manage their assets and finances. Namely: their tax advisor and estate attorney.

As you know, a lot of what you do as a financial advisor will intersect with those two services. The investment advice you give will impact your client’s taxes, for example. Financial plans that you help your client create could impact their estate—or require working with their estate attorney to put together a trust. 

By taking the initiative to ask your client to connect you with their tax advisor and estate attorney, you’re already providing higher quality service by coordinating directly with those other professionals. Through that direct connection, all three of you can provide better service to that client by ensuring that all the documents and information each person needs are getting delivered promptly and making each of your jobs easier. 

From the client’s perspective, you’ll start to look like you are part of this larger team managing the client’s financial life. As part of this team, it’s less likely that you’ll be seen as easily replaceable. It may take a little extra work to connect directly with these other people but the benefits far outweigh the time spent. 

Improving Financial Planning with Connectedness

The second way to apply the law of uniform connectedness is in the actual financial planning work that you do with your clients. As a financial advisor, it’s your job to help a client align their financial goals with their investment strategy. 

To do that, you need to help them see the connection between these things. Too often, people will contribute to a 401k or put a certain percentage of their income away into investments without really thinking about exactly how fast that money will grow or even how much they actually need to save to have the kind of retirement that they need. 

To find the right balance, help the client see the connection between the investments they’re making today and the financial goals they want to achieve down the road. While I don’t need to go into the steps of how to make a retirement plan with your client, I can offer some tips for helping them better understand the connectedness of the different pieces of that plan:

  • Use visual aids. Charts, graphs, and visualizations are a great way to make complicated financial information easier to understand. For example, graphs can show how a client’s money could grow over the next 10 or 15 years if they follow this recommended investment plan or that compare the projected growth between different investment options.
  • Simplify complex information. Using another UX principle, the law of prägnanz, to communicate complex information in a simple, easily digestible way will also help clients better understand your advice and more easily see how all of your recommendations fit into this large, connected plan.
  • Connect your recommendations to client’s goals. When giving advice or making recommendations, the best way to create a sense of connectedness is to clearly state how it connects. Tie your recommendations to specific financial goals they have. If you recommend opening a particular type of college fund for their kids, explain how that account will help them achieve their specific college savings goal better than the account they’re currently using.
  • Send follow up emails. Even if it all makes sense during the meeting, a client is liable to forget details or even lose sight of the larger plan as they return to their busy lives. Follow up emails that summarize the key points and remind them of how your advice from the meeting connects to their overall financial goals provide a written record that they can easily review as many times they need. 
  • Send progress reports. An annual summary at the end of each year that clearly points out whether they’re on track to meet each of their short and long term financial goals will reassure clients about their financial future and connect that progress to you, the financial advisor whose helping them stay on track. 

In short, the key to creating that sense of connectedness is making the effort to clearly define your client’s goals and then showing exactly how each step they’re taking and each piece of you recommend moves them closer to that goal post. The more you do this, the more you reinforce not only their sense of the financial plan’s connectedness but also your connection to keeping that plan in motion.

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