All clients are not created equal

When it comes to feedback, all clients are not created equal

Client feedback can be invaluable in understanding and enhancing your value and boosting your relevance. It pays to know what’s on clients’ minds. How you put that feedback to use, though, depends on who’s giving it to you.

Not all feedback is equally valuable. When it comes to soliciting it, be selective. It pays to know who to listen to most closely.

Clients with different profiles will likely have varying needs and preferences. Depending on the diversity of your client base, that can cause problems.

Imagine an advisor with 20 years’ experience. Throughout her career, she targeted people on the brink of retirement. She focused on her niche early and, so, prospered handsomely. Where is she now (besides being fantastically successful)?

Some of her clients, the ones who have been with her longest, have been retired almost 20 years. Others have been retired 10, some five, and some are only now transitioning into retirement. The clients she has had the longest are approaching 80 years old. The ones onboarded last year may be in their 50s.

New clients need to plan for the next 30 years. Her first clients have a lot less concern about keeping up with inflation.

New clients want to text. Long-term clients may be challenged by her website’s portal.

The 60-year-old pours over your income projections. The 80-year-old wants a family meeting to talk about estate plans.

Many advisors did not have the insight or opportunity to be so focused so early. They have a much broader collection of profiles to serve. That can make for some confusing or even conflicting feedback.

When you consider incorporating the voice of the client, here’s the critical question: who do you want as a new client? Clients most similar to that ideal new client should get disproportionate weight when it comes to designing or updating your marketing or client experience.

When we design client advisory boards, advisors often want to get feedback from a cross-section of their clients. I recommend against it. Especially because an advisory board is such a small sample. Focus and consistency are important. When we compose the board we look to solicit feedback from clients who match the ideal prospect profile. What I tell them is assemble a board of the clients you want to clone.

You can’t make everyone happy. Choose the ones you will cater to and you will get more of them.


Have you asked clients recently about their changing outlook and expectations? If not, you run the risk of losing relevance. Download our free guide “5 Reasons to Listen to Your Clients (or Someone Else Will)” by clicking on this link:

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