The empty chair – making sure your customer is at the forefront of your business strategy – and that they know it!

Wealth Management and Private Banking

21 April 2016

Wealth Management and Private Banking



Expert: Catherine Tillotson, Scorpio Partnership
Facilitator: Caroline Burkart, Scorpio PartnershipKey message

Half of the firms represented in the session are collecting client insight data. The process is becoming increasingly common. It doesn’t come without challenges, yet there are plenty of notable successful examples of different approaches to client insight.


  • Benchmarking proves to be difficult, but rewarding
  • Client insight collection is associated with challenges, such as statistical relevance, how best to organise the feedback-sharing, etc.
  • Communication strategies should depend on client behaviour

Key themes

Among the approaches taken by the various firms to collecting client data were annual and semi-annual on-line surveys, as well as face-to-face meetings and phone interviews. In some instances only clients that are valued by the business most are approached for feedback, in other instances they are chosen randomly.

The challenge universally acknowledged is benchmarking results against the wider industry and the impact that this has on strategy. The challenge is that any change instigated as a result of the survey feedback has to be backed up by the whole organisation. This can focus on certain key metrics, or the wider strategic positioning of the business.

The other challenge with the client insight data is that it seems impossible to incentivise someone on the basis of RM metrics mainly because of statistical irrelevance of the data. However, this should not be a reason to do nothing and the data can provide guidance on direction and prioritisation.

On bias, one delegate had the experience of another industry:

“In the hotel industry, clients give higher scores when they had an issue and it was successfully resolved, than those clients who didn’t encounter any problems at all!”

It was suggested that one of the ways to effectively conduct client insight and business development was to get prospective clients talking to existing clients. It was felt that existing clients would talk honestly in this case. Thus the bank can collect “gold dust”, because clients wouldn’t always be comfortable with giving feedback personally to their relationship manager.

Client insight can also often reveal discrepancies within a firm, where an individual relationship manager might get higher scores than the firm because the RM blames the organisation for certain processes/decisions.

One of the successful examples of a similar strategy was bringing together Detractors and Promoters and asking them to help shape the strategy of the firm. In the experience of one delegate, clients were proactive and talkative. One of the positive by-products of this meeting was that Detractors could change their opinion / mood because Promoters could give them another or different perspectives on a certain point.

In discussing the wider communications strategy, some of the participants believed that the client behaviour should drive this in part. As an example, if a client is hitting an app multiple times a day, it might be worthwhile sending him or her market reports. However, this level of communication would not be beneficial for a relationship with a client who checks the balance on the account just once a year.


  • Client insight mainly challenges the view of the organisation on how well it knows its clients.
  • Ultimately, the results can show that while the firm has a certain view of its proposition, the client feedback proves otherwise and can provide valuable insight
  • It is not uncommon to see discrepancies when comparing client and staff survey results