Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Financial Services Firms Drop In Customer Satisfaction Levels

Given the legions of unhappy Americans currently weathering the worst recession in decades, U.S. financial services firms fell to their lowest rating ever in the sixth annual Customer Advocacy ranking by Forrester Research Inc.

Forrester defines customer advocacy as the perception on the part of customers that financial services firms do what’s best for them, not just the firm’s own bottom line. The firm’s on-going analysis demonstrates that customer advocacy drives retention and deepens customer relationships. Consumers who rate their company high with regard to customer advocacy are more likely to save more, borrow more, and buy other products from that firm and are less likely to switch to another financial services company.

I believe the results of the study indicate that more people could benefit from the services provided by independent fee-only financial planners and NAPFA members. Fee-only planners are usually compensated the same, regardless of the products recommended or utilized. Thus, there is no conflict of interest between the best interest of the client and what will make the financial advisor the most money. Additionally, people should ensure they are working with a financial planner who accepts a fiduciary responsibility to their clients. A fiduciary is required to act in the best interest of their clients at all times, whereas a non-fiduciary only commits to act in a way that does not harm their clients. Big difference. Please contact me to learn more about the fee-only and fiduciary concepts.

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