“Color TV!” That’s what a glowing black and yellow sign in front of a hotel outside of Chicago advertised as I entered the parking lot. Seeing that sign made me wonder how effective that message was at bringing in occupants. Don’t all hotels come with color TVs these days? I wouldn’t have given it any thought, but the fact that they had that sign made me skeptical. And evidently I had good reason to be suspicious—the TV in my room took me back 50 years as it was equipped with a manual channel dial and a rabbit-ear antenna. The flat-screen, high-definition TV of 2015 I expected was nowhere in sight.
Like the hotel industry, competition in the financial advisory space has standardized many offered services. Just as basic amenities such as a color TV, fresh towels, complimentary soaps and even housekeeping service are expected by any single customer visiting a hotel, things like great people, service, and expertise at your firm are no longer a way to stand out. They are an expectation your clients have of you.
Industry expectations are raised further with increased competition, and the financial advisory space has seen an unprecedented increase in competition in recent years. Clients looking for advisory services can expect investment management, open communication and financial planning from most advisors (and robo-advisors) these days. At least most of their websites advertise as much.