My Name is Not ‘Valued Customer’

Recently I received an invitation to complete a survey for a large financial institution of which I am a client. Said institution shall, of course, remain nameless.

It’s no secret that I am a believer in gathering input from clients, so I understand and applaud the intent. 

But I did not complete the survey because, well, for so many reasons…

1. Gathering input from clients is a way to start a conversation. But I don’t have conversations with institutions, rather with actual people. 

2. Clients will take the time to provide input if you ask about them – their needs, preferences or feelings. If the sole intent of the process is to identify cross-selling opportunities, we have a problem.

3. The use of ‘Valued Customer’ as a salutation is a reminder that you don’t know my name or don’t have a system that can pull it into your email. I would prefer nothing because I know that every client is getting the same email. It’s not as if someone is getting one that says ‘Dear Somewhat Valued Customer’.

The net result was cold and impersonal and, therefore, negative. But it didn't have to be that way. This communication could have felt more personal, communicated why it matters to me and demonstrated a genuine caring or curiosity about my needs. 

This Is a Client Communications Problem

But this isn’t a ‘survey invitation’ problem, it’s a client communications problem. And it’s a client communications opportunity.

So consider the following as you think about your own client communications:

  1. If you have the time to write it, write it. Those that know me won’t be surprised that this blog comes directly from me. There are others on my team who are infinitely more articulate, but this is just how I talk.
  2. If you need help in writing communications (and who doesn’t) conduct a final review for tone and style. Read it out loud as a starting point.
  3. Understand that no one can read your mind. It takes a very long time for a writer to write in a way that reflects your style and tone. When you get it right, it’s magic. Be patient.
  4. Personalize corporate communications where possible. There are, of course, times when a client communication needs to come from the firm rather than an individual advisor. If possible, add a personal introduction, send a separate ‘heads up’ or consider recording a 30 to 60-second video introduction. Tools like Loom make this very easy provided, of course, compliance is happy with the process.

Your clients want to hear your voice when they read your communications. Give them that gift and this particularly poor example of a client communication won’t have been in vain.

Thanks for stopping by.

Related: Is Your Client Segmentation Model Still Relevant?