Defusing the Unhappy Client

Vessenes, Katherine
August 1997
Journal of Financial Planning;Aug1997, Vol. 10 Issue 4, p22
Academic Journal
This article offers tips on how to calm down unhappy clients in financial planning. It is important to notify the compliance department and the errors and omissions (E&O) carrier. This notification probably is required in the agreement with the broker/dealer, but an important step in any event. It is equally important to notify the E&O carrier that trouble is brewing. The next step is to schedule a face-to-face meeting with the client. This process will not work well by the letter or over the telephone. The next step is to listen. This entire process will not succeed without this key step. Many clients just want to vent their feelings and frustrations. This is not the time to offer views. Just allow the client to continue venting. Once the client seems to have run out of steam, then it is time to ask the next question. The next step is to empathize. The client's unhappy marriage, difficulty with relatives or job loss may be what is really bothering him or her. The next step is to restate the client's position. By rephrasing the client's position, one is conveying that he or she understand. The next step is to request time to review the different options and set a specific date for getting back to the client. One of the worst things a planner or advisor can do at this stage is to come up with a solution at the meeting.


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