Everyone has clients who takes up more than their share of time. A recent email from an advisor at a large bank-owned firm raised the question of how to manage this when it becomes more than a minor irritant.
Below is the email that I received, followed by my response:
First, here’s the email:
How to deal with clients who take a lot of time?
I am curious if you have any advice about how to deal with clients who take a lot of time?
Generally, I'd say 95%-plus of our clients are great. We have a few that do start to drive me and or my team a little nuts… some examples of irritants include:
- Going over the same stuff over and over… e.g. "we have this money here…this real estate...outside money" I love disclosure but I don't need to hear the story five to six times a year
- Repeatedly asking for reports… generally performance or cash-flow analysis
- Wanting to go their portfolio line by line …over and over…
- Dropping in or phoning, trying to come in the same day or the next… now let me say that we pride ourselves on service but I believe there need to be some boundaries, otherwise it creates the expectation or encourages the habit
You can sense my frustration… and I know that one simple answer is to let the client go…or say that our service model includes xyz…. NOT abc
In the past, I have been successful in modifying or guiding clients to a better place but I have a few that seem to be consuming a disproportionate amount of our time. It bugs me that our easy to manage clients sometimes pay slightly more and take less time and energy. All these accounts are fee based and honestly do generate a lot of revenue… however on a $$/hour basis, some would probably look rather weak.
Lastly, part of my bonus at my firm is based on retention…so if I part company with these clients I take even more of a hit financially … although I do realize the cost if clients bring down the quality of life in my office.
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