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When Grumbles Lead To Tumbles

3 March 2023

FINANCIAL PLANNERS – I’m going to put it out there that client complaints are good.

No, I haven’t lost my marbles…

First of all, let’s define ‘complaint’ because I bet when you read that word, your mind thinks of an ADVICE complaint.

Which I bet you’ve never had.

But, I also bet that if you’ve been practicing long enough, you’ve had customer complaints of some kind that you’ve had to deal with.

It probably wasn’t even your fault. But if you’re the financial planner who does the face-to-face work with the client, then you’re the one who has to sort it out.

And I’ll bet on two further things…

  • Any complaints that you have had to deal with have been because of customer service issues.
  • They probably caught you by surprise.

And that leads us to the real problem…

You see, we have a whole industry built around ADVICE complaints.

  • The Regulator
  • The FOS / FSCS
  • Compliance Teams

And yet, the majority of client complaints have nothing to do with advice, technical reports, or recommendations.

They arise because the customer FEELS slighted in some way.

  • Maybe they weren’t called back when they were promised.
  • Maybe they didn’t get their withdrawal when they expected.
  • Maybe their mortgage offer was delayed and they didn’t get a phone call to explain why and offer comfort about when it would be issued.


And as for it coming by surprise, it shouldn’t have.

Client servicing complaints very rarely come totally out of the blue.

There’s normally a warning first.

A grumble.

The client communicates to someone in your firm, in some way, that they are unhappy that something didn’t happen that they were promised would happen.

And that grumble wasn’t a fully-fledged complaint; it was a hand to dance.

And if the hand was taken, the dancing was done, and the issue was resolved quickly and effectively, then it would have been a positive.

Because all the client would have remembered is how quickly you sorted it for them by DOING WHAT YOU SAID YOU WERE GOING TO DO.

And that’s why, if you deal with a complaint when it is still a grumble, it can enhance your relationship with your client.

But if you miss or ignore the grumble, then it will quickly become a tumble towards a complaint that never needed to be.

And despite what the complaint letter, email, or phone call claims the reason for the complaint is, the real reason is how you made them feel (slighted, ignored, or not important) when you didn’t deal with the grumble.

So now they want your real attention.

Hence the CAPTIAL LETTERS in the email. – Software, Training & Business Services for Financial Planners.


  • End-to-End Lifestyle Financial Planning Process & Software
  • Full Financial Planner Back Office System
  • Coaching for Financial Planners


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