Any successful person would agree that making mistakes—and learning from them—is as vital to one’s growth and development as any training or life experience. That’s good because we’re human, and we all make mistakes. Even the brightest and most conscientious financial advisors make mistakes periodically. While mistakes that impact clients can be serious, they don’t have to be the end of the world or a career.
In fact, advisors who quickly own up to their mistakes and rectify them often find that it can solidify their client relationships and strengthen client loyalty. Being conscientious and forthright are appealing traits to clients. And, if mistakes are quickly resolved, they’re no worse for the wear.
So, if mistakes are an inevitable aspect of the business, you should have a well-defined approach for addressing them promptly and professionally if you don’t want to risk losing a client. When your clients see that you will do whatever is necessary to resolve a mistake, their trust and confidence in you increase.
Regardless of what the mistake is, here’s an effective five-step approach to use with your clients that demonstrates you can be trusted and have their best interests at heart.
Step 1: Fix the problem
If you have an opportunity to fix the mistake right away, do it, even before you contact the client. You want to be able to tell your client that you’ve already addressed the problem. But, if it will take time to solve the problem, don’t wait to contact your client. The longer you wait to contact your client, the more frustrated and impatient they will be.
Step 2: Listen
When contacting your client, allow them to voice their concerns and frustrations. This should be a one-way conversation at the start with no talking on your part. Then demonstrate that you’re listening by responding to what they said.
Step 3: Show empathy
This isn’t the time to try to make excuses or assign fault. Your response should begin with an expression of empathy, letting your client see that you understand the problem and how they feel about it.
Step 4: Shoulder the responsibility
It doesn’t matter how the mistake happened or who might be to blame. You must take full responsibility. Failure to do so will result in lost confidence. Evading responsibility is a clear sign to your client that you are unable to acknowledge your mistakes or learn from them, which would be concerning to them. They don’t want to work with an advisor who may continue making mistakes without taking responsibility for them.
When you take responsibility, you demonstrate your willingness to acknowledge your errors and learn from them, which builds confidence in your clients.
#Step 5: Let them know why it will never happen again
Solving the immediate problem is expected. While that should make your client happy, they may have lingering concerns that the mistake could happen again. To regain their trust and confidence, you need to reassure your client that you are proactively taking steps to prevent it from happening again. Explain the actions you’ve taken and why they will work to avoid future mistakes.
The key from start to finish is to be completely transparent and show urgency in addressing the problem. When you make a point of listening, showing empathy, and taking responsibility, even the most incensed client will forgive your mistake. In the meantime, you make a quantum leap in your growth and development as a financial advisor.
Related: How To Increase Prospect Engagement