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Dayton Semerjian is the Chief Customer Care Officer at LPL Financial, a registered investment advisor and Member FINRA/SIPC.
In today’s digital world, customer data is abundant. The big question is how to leverage that data to its fullest potential. At LPL Financial, we took an integrated approach to transforming our service experience, leveraging data to drive logic-based decision making and augmenting that with a client-centered mindset and commitment to seeking and embracing feedback. The evolved approach, what we call the Care Model, equips us with a guidance system and modern methods that encourage continuous improvement.
Let me start off by sharing a bit about LPL. LPL Financial is a leading partner to independent financial advisors, whose clients are American investors. We provide advisors with personalized service and support to help them run independent businesses, and be successful serving the needs of their markets. Advisors are able to customize the resources and support they leverage through our partnership, with access to our integrated platform of technology, brokerage and advisory platforms, compliance and clearing services, business management services, and strategic growth resources.
Our offering is grounded in our mission, which is to take care of our advisors so they can take care of their clients. To bring this to life each and every day, we leverage a combination of approaches.
One of the first steps in our Care Model transformation was to enhance our service and operating models. Modern analytic and transformation methods helped us deliver a personalized, omni-channel digital experience for our clients, which give them access to what they need, when they need it, and how they want to consume it. This enables our advisors to stay focused on what they do best – taking great care of their clients.
“By combining our quantitative insights with qualitative research, we have been able to form a deep understanding of the advisor experience and quickly move toward solutions”
We have also expanded the set of tools we employ to drive improvement, which we will explore here. We use NPS℠ as a guidance system, journey maps to design for a better experience, data to inform learning loops and deliver great service, and Lean and Six-Sigma to ensure quality and consistency.
Net Promotor System℠: Our Guidance System
Tracking our efforts with the Net Promoter System℠ has helped us build deeper and more powerful learning loops within the organization. Beyond just capturing feedback, we’ve been able to probe more deeply to identify the underlying drivers of satisfaction and loyalty, which clarifies our view of what’s most important to our advisors. By combining our quantitative insights with qualitative research, we have been able to form a deep understanding of the advisor experience and quickly move toward solutions. Enterprise-wide adoption of NPS puts data and information in the hands of employees across the enterprise, which has helped to improve the timeline from identifying an improvement opportunity to delivering an enhanced experience.
Journey Maps to Design a Better Experience
In my experience, journey maps help accelerate innovation with the ability to visualize the customer experience from start to finish. Employees are people, and they can achieve greater empathy if they better understand the current client experience. We have combined journey maps with analytics to measure the performance across the advisor’s journey. By applying measurement at each stage—through a combination of surveys, interaction feedback and operational data— we can identify opportunities to improve. This powerful combination of data with design practices is helping us to build scalable, differentiated experiences.
Learning Loops to Anticipate Service Needs
Data-driven learning loops give us the insights to anticipate advisors’ needs. Knowing when there will be higher demand, and by type of need, we can be proactive through improved resource management and training. As an example, we analyzed calls by type, and if it was resolved within that first call. Having that data enables us to step back and consider where we should focus, whether it should be training, policy and procedure changes, or making content available. And from there, we can consider a next layer of improvements—behavioral coaching, skills-based certifications that minimize call transfers, workforce planning, and even workforce satisfaction and career pathing.
Lean and Six-Sigma Benefits
Recently, a cross-functional team within LPL adopted the data-driven methodology of Six Sigma and coupled it with the Lean concept of Kaizen (“continuous improvement” in Japanese). The team mapped the process’s current state, identified all instances of waste and non-value added activity, and collaborated on the vision of future state. Using a process-first approach and partnership cross-functionally has worked to accelerate many projects.
The Path Forward
These approaches are not industry specific and can benefit any company. To bring these methods to life and extract benefits from them, it is just as important to build a diverse team with the right skills. At LPL, our focus to nurture an agile, advisor-centric culture, embrace analytics and apply an integrated system of modern methods creates a formula for changing the expectation of service for advisors.