Most clients of financial advisors seem satisfied with their advisor and think they’re doing a good job. But is “good” good enough? And what does it take to be a great advisor? Furthermore, how is that quantified?

That’s a lot of questions, but a recent survey of investors from Carson Group provides answers to these and other questions regarding the client-advisor relationship.

“Generally speaking, regardless of what the advisor is doing, there’s actually a high level of satisfaction with the current advisor,” said Jamie Hopkins, director of retirement research and head of the coaching division at Carson Group, a multi-pronged financial advisor and advisory services company based in Omaha, Neb.

“In the worst case, people are at least 70% to 85% satisfied with their advisor. You really don’t drop any lower than that, and my assumption is if it drops below that a person gets rid of the advisor,” he noted. “So it becomes a case of how to you go from being a good advisor to a great advisor.”

Hopkins spearheaded the “Advisor Value Survey 2020” report, which quantifies customer satisfaction and the perceived value clients get from their advisor based on planning and other metrics. The report contained input from more than 1,200 respondents between the ages of 60 to 75 and with at least $100,000 in household assets, excluding their primary residence.

Roughly two-thirds of survey respondents said they work with an advisor, and that percentage was almost uniform across four asset-level categories ranging from those with $100,000 to those with more than $1 million.  

Below are a sampling of some of the biggest drivers of satisfaction and the value proposition that clients get from their advisor:

• 96% of advisors who meet with clients four or more times a year are perceived as meeting their value proposition versus 86% who meet once a year.

• 81% of clients who have a written plan feel highly satisfied with their advisor and 95.5% of these clients feel they’re getting adequate value, while 67% who don’t have a written plan are highly satisfied and 88% without a plan said they’re getting adequate value.

• 95% of clients who believe they have the right amount of life insurance believe they get value from their advisor, whereas 81% who don’t think they have the right amount of life insurance believe they get value from their advisor.

• 94% of clients who know their advisor’s compensation felt they received adequate value for the fee as opposed to only 82% of those who don’t know their advisor’s compensation.

The Carson Group report contains reams of other stats pertaining to client satisfaction and feelings of value. But the bottom line for advisors is that doing things that boost your client satisfaction level from, say, the 80% range to the 90% range, will likely boost your rate of client referrals.

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