IN Daily Opinion/Column

Defining platinum-level services

Feb 16, 2010 @ 1:34 pm

By Maureen Wilke

Last week, I found myself among thousands of snow-stranded travelers on the East Coast trying to get home. After countless hours of waiting in lines and hoping to get on as a standby to Chicago, I landed a seat on an extra flight United Airlines squeezed into its schedule. By helping travelers get to their destinations, United provided platinum-level service and reinforced their position as my preferred airline.

You too can set your practice apart from the competition by identifying and promoting your platinum services.

Take time this week to define these services, set expectations that you can meet, automate communications for the entire year and set a goal to reach top clients 24 times a year. The platinum-level services offering outlined below can help you deliver great service in a cost-effective way.


A PLATINUM-LEVEL-SERVICE PLAN FOR YOUR TOP 50 CLIENTS

1. Identify investment needs. For top clients, this likely will include wealth-planning strategies, business succession assistance, business plan reviews, estate planning, retirement and college funding.

2. Identify platinum services. These can include:

Quarterly reviews

  • January: Annual meeting with investment team (estate attorney, certified public accountant, etc.).
  • April: Tax time update.
  • July: Group family financial meeting and outing (to review assisted-living centers, for example).
  • October: Year-end planning review.

A quarterly newsletter

Send or e-mail a quarterly newsletter to clients and prospects, leveraging resources such as valued wholesalers, your firm's marketing department or an outside company to provide the content. One popular provider is Emerald.

Client advisory board: Serves as a client retention and networking opportunity.

Two seminars each year

Retirement- or investment-planning and lifestyle seminars tied to the findings on the Top Client Background Chart. Create seminars around your clients' interests, not just yours.

An annual client appreciation event

Partner with a local charity once or twice a year to bring top clients' together for an important cause.

Holiday and birthday cards

Use a service to send four to six holiday cards each year and consider sending a small box of chocolates for birthdays (birthdaychocolates.com). The cost is minimal and can be set up at the beginning of the year. Also consider the idea of a small box of chocolates to widows on Valentine's Day for another way to add the platinum touch.

Commit to your plan for maximum results. Next week, we will focus on strategies to communicate services to clients. It is the competitive edge to retain clients and win new business.

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