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How often do you ask your clients for confirmation that the service you recently delivered was 'exceptional'? One potential downside to annual surveys is the impact that 'time' has on a client's perception. Asking for feedback shortly after delivery ensures that clients are provided with an opportunity to reflect on the experience and remind themselves of the value received.


Implementing this strategy is straight-forward. Whilst a simple email could be utilised, consider the value of incorporating the steps into your workflow.  For example, an email could be automatically sent by the system upon completion of an activity, or alternatively, a set number of days after an activity like a Review has completed.  To facilitate the capture of the client's response that same email can include a link/button.


The main objective is to make it easy - for both you and the client. This is readily accomplished for you if automation replaces manual steps (and the example above is completely automated).  From the client's perspective we've ensured that the exercise isn't intrusive either.  This requirement can be met by a posing a single question (refer to the example below) and asking that they need only click a button on the email to respond. 


"We pride ourselves on delivering exceptional service at each and every opportunity.  If you feel that your recent experience didn't meet the standards you have come to expect from us please let us know by simply clicking on this notification."     


Whilst the above example only deals with negative feedback you could easily provide both options (ie. "did we provide exceptional service: Yes/No").  In either case, you must ensure you respond if and when negative feedback is received.  Again, a process could automatically be initiated to facilitate the management of such outcomes and how the business implements changes to address the issue (should it be required).



There is great value in collecting feedback from your clients if it is undertaken consistently.  It will provide you with a simple but effective metric that will help you know if you’re strategy and approach is working.  Certainly experiment with the methods you use, but most importantly, implement some form of feedback process.


What other ways (good or bad) have you used to get feedback from your clients?  Tell us in the comments! 

Traditionally, developing strong relationships has rarely been a challenge for those in the advice profession.  Understanding your client is critical not only to how advice is formulated and delivered, it must also be woven into how the business serves that relationship.  A key goal therefore should be to develop a plan for touch points that occur during the course of a 'normal' year.  A very simple way to tackle this exercise is to experience your 'service' exactly like your clients would.  If this 12 month journey felt a little lonely, if you weren't wowed, it's time to consider the inclusion of additional touch points.


A post by Matthew Wilson in the Discuss Wealth & Risk Management space reminded me once again that there are always a variety of strategies being employed to ensure clients are 'touched' at regularly and consistently.  Whilst some strategies, like sending a physical birthday card, will require greater effort than others, the impact on your client needn't be 'diluted' when faced with the challenge of 'scale'.  Perhaps predictably (at least within the Insights Community), technology can provide some much needed assistance.  As Tim Bakkenes from our New Zealand office demonstrates in his post Scheduler: Client Birthdays, XPLAN can deliver highly personalised messages either via a text/sms message or via email without users needing to literally lift a finger. 


But as they say in the classics "wait! there's more...".  Thankfully IRESS isn't distributing steak knives, rather we can lift the impact of these messages with the inclusion of video.  The image below highlights the text/SMS message received from XPLAN (driven by the logic and features that Tim outlines).  The 'landing page' that the client is redirected to when clicking on the blue link within the message is a very simple XPLANconnect Wizard.  Rather than give too much away, have a look at the landing page and feel free to ask questions below ('Add a comment').


Apologies in advance for the content contained within this message. 




Please note:  whilst this example will work on a desktop browser, be aware that the layout and presentation of the landing page has been designed to work with the available screen real estate found on your smart phone.  Accessing Insights from your mobile device is as easy as downloading the app from here.  



~ INNOVATE more...


G KNOW more...

The Opt-in process, just like Annual Fee Disclosure Statements (AFDS), continue to be a source of ongoing discussion.  The key themes? 

  • "Have we approached it the right way?"
  • Is there a more efficient way to do this?"
  • "What can we automate?"


If you share these concerns the following is an approach that warrants consideration:

  1. Establish an Alert that automatically notifies the client of the need to Opt-In, and
  2. Establish a secondary Alert which acts as your 'safety-net' and will kick-off a follow up process (ie. Thread) if the client fails to respond to your initial Opt-in request.



Inner Workings

Beyond the features already detailed, this strategy also utilises a component known as Subscription Links for Email which permits the email recipient (in this case your client) to seamlessly 'interact' with XPLAN.  Simply by including some basic Xmerge syntax, the email will incorporate a link which, if clicked, updates the client's Opt-In status to 'yes' and sets their 'next Opt-In date' forward two years (or three if applicable - refer Client Opt-in for Financial Advice).


"So what happens if the client forgets to respond to this email?"  This is the safety net that Alert No.2 provides (hopefully these are rare cases). The 'activated' Thread (an Alert 'Outcome') will initiate one or more steps to help mitigate the risk of the client having not Opted-In. Those steps could include an SMS reminder or another email (both automated). Eventually, you may need to schedule a call (if you have such recalcitrants in your client base) which loops back onto itself if contact isn't made. 


The steps taken within this 'Follow up' Thread and the timings employed will most likely be influenced by a number of factors including the depth of your relationships, the nature of the services provided and the type of clients that your practice serves, however consider:

  1. 14 days prior to the 'due date': send your Opt-In email.
  2. 7 days later (and the client hasn't opted-in): send a reminder email.
  3. Three days later (still no response): send a reminder SMS.
  4. Two days later: the client adviser is tasked with calling the client.



What else?

Other ideas or matters to consider:

  1. Add video to your email to provide a more engaging explanation of Opt-In (and your thoughts concerning same).
  2. Naturally this process is very dependant upon technology and your client's adoption of these communication channels.  Consider the use of SMS reminders for clients without email addresses, or revert to the Print-to-Post feature to automate the generation, printing, enveloping and sending of snail-mail.  Use barcodes/ActionManager to automatically file the clients response and set the 'next opt-in date'.
  3. Clients with COA/Touch logins could also undertake the Opt-In exercise via that channel (a conditioned Wizard or a To-Do item to ensure it only appears when required).



No doubt the above would benefit from some real-life 'war-stories'.  Please feel free to share your feedback or experiences in the comments below. 

Whilst The Need for Continuous Improvement in your business is a given, finding the right resource and the time to access the best ideas can be challenging, right?  Well life just got a little more convenient.  You can now access all the great content on Insights using a new mobile app.  It's called Jive Daily and it will allow you to do pretty much anything you normally would on Insights via your favourite mobile device.  Access all the ideas, videos, check your inbox, find and communicate with other like minded professionals, find integration partners – even create and share content. 


Jive Daily runs on iPhones and Androids. You can download it and start using it in minutes. 


How to get it:

  • Go to the Apple App Store or Google Play Store on your phone or tablet and search for "Jive Daily"
  • Download the app
  • Once it's downloaded, open the app and enter this URL: 
  • Log in using your Insights username and password



Once you log in, you can start using Jive Daily right away. Here are some thing you can do:


Read the News

The latest news is displayed on the home screen. Just tap a post to read more:

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Add a Comment or a Like

  • You can reply to the post with questions, thoughts or feedback. Scroll down to see other people's comments and add your own. You can 'like' posts and comments and mark them as 'helpful'.

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Check Your Inbox

  • Tap Inbox at the bottom of the screen to see all the messages and updates waiting for you.

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Find a Doc or a Person

  • Tap Search at the bottom of the screen and just enter a name or some keywords to find anyone or anything in Insights.

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Post a Status Update, Send a Message or Share a Document, Image or Video

  • Tap Create at the bottom of the screen, then select the type of content you'd like to share.

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Give it a try... We look forward to hearing your feedback.




What Can You Do with Jive Daily? Almost Anything!
  • View customisable news streams
  • Join discussions, or start your own
  • Search people, places and content
  • View member profiles 
  • Manage all communications in your inbox
  • Send and receive direct messages
  • Access places, recently viewed content and bookmarks 
  • Get metrics on the impact and reach of your content
  • Post questions for colleagues to answer
  • Vote on polls and ideas
  • Create and share documents, videos, blogs and more
  • View and RSVP to events

Over 4 years ago* I posted a discussion on the FPA Members Forum questioning the effort required to generate an FDS and also sought feedback on the format that advice businesses would adopt. What I proposed was that in the 'model office' the production an FDS shouldn't be a challenge, rather it should be seamless and virtually effortless. Further, the exercise should potentially be viewed as another opportunity to demonstrate your value to your client, and therefore an opportunity to generate a referral.  Well it seems that 4 years on not everyone is positioned to raise their hand when asked the question: "Will you be positioned to produce your Annual Fee Disclosure Statement in one-click or less?"


What does 'good' look like?

To get the ball rolling this is the template output which was created that I sought feedback on and the following outlines the 'effort' that was required to put this 'into my clients hands':

  1. Firstly, a nightly Alert uses the client's 'Next Disclosure Statement Date' to determine when it will trigger a follow up Task,
  2. The Task, once triggered, automatically generates the FDS, attaches same to an email and sends it off (naturally this exercise also stores a copy of same against the client's File Notes), and finally
  3. Upon completing the Task, the Task 'Outcome' automatically sets the 'Next Disclosure Statement Date'  to 12 months into the future.




Now technically, the Task could generate the FDS for review and only send it once the Task is 'completed' with an 'Outcome' of 'Approved'.  It could also be manually generated (it kills me to type those words) or incorporated into your review process workflow.


A key contributor to its efficiency is the fact that it extracts Notes (see 'eNewsletters), Diary Events (see 'Meetings') and Tasks (see 'Professional Services') from the client's records before combining CommPay records to detail the 'Summary of adviser fees' (yes, I have included commission payments, but like all the elements in this document they could be easily filtered out).



Service Benchmarks

Whilst this FDS could readily include Service Benchmarks I deliberately steered away from using them as I perceived issues for 'A' and 'B' style clients (think they work well for Cs and Ds). The concern I had was that your typical A/B wouldn't necessarily be utilising all the services you had on offer every year and create unintended consequences in the presentation.  I somewhat struggle with the concept of detailing 'what you are entitled to receive' (for a 'full service' client) but readily accept that it is a requirement. There are examples of services that you would provide for a 'good' client which aren't necessarily on your standard menu. There are also many examples of services that do fall into your standard menu that aren't utilised very frequently (eg. assisting the family/surviving spouse in the case of death). Does it necessarily make sense to list all these services in the FDS?  Perhaps a nicely crafted statement which highlights that you provide 'holistic' services might be more appropriate, reinforce your interest in helping the client achieve their goals, and provide something that doesn't look like you're trying to keep score?


In past communications with ASIC staff (I was questioning why a number of 'legal opinions' suggested that Opt-in and FDS' had to be 'communicated' to clients using the 'traditional letter in the post' approach) it was highlighted that ASIC will look to ensure that the law has been complied with. Therefore, if the regulation was to state, 'you must provide a list of the services that the client was entitled to receive' you would be expected to provide 'a list'. This is not however stated.  Naturally, as I have no legal qualifications or formal training, my opinion is only 'an opinion'. If your licensee has stated that they expect you to 'provide a list' Service Benchmarks are certainly a very valid approach to address same. Just make sure your you take into consideration the impact (on the client) of listing too many services that aren't utilised, or far too few (creating the perception of little benefits for the fees charged).




* The discussion "Will you be positioned to produce your Annual Fee Disclosure Statement in one-click or less?" was posted on February 1, 2013.

It wasn't so long ago that watching your favourite 'soap' required that you sit down in front of your TV at a designated time, on a designated day of the week - a schedule that was determined by some industry executive that knew what you wanted, and when.  In contrast to this, we recently had some guests over and were somewhat amazed to hear their 5 year old requesting access to Netflix... clearly unimpressed with the options available to them under our Foxtel subscription.  The truth is we have all become very comfortable with 'personalisation' and have a tendency to now prefer, if not expect, personalised experiences.  The likely culprits for our increasing appetite for personalised experiences?  Our desire for control, and the growing need to limit the impact of information overload.  


Your ability to leverage from these behaviours shouldn't be ignored, and a question on 'Automating the review report process' raised in Discuss Wealth Management highlights an example of how advice businesses are thinking about this topic.  The question also unveils the challenges some practices may be experiencing when trying to get the rubber to the road.  All too often the approach adopted will deliver, in part, the desired client experience but only if back office efficiency is sacrificed.  This shouldn't be the case, and the messengers bearing these solutions should be questioned.


In the 'Model Office' one of the goals is to allow clients to own their data and experience, and then give them the ability to use it to guide the creation and context of every future experience.  At times this may be difficult to accomplish if you are limited by the level of administrative access you have. But it needn't be a showstopper.  To demonstrate, I'll revisit the question on 'Automating the review report process' and outline a solution which allows each adviser to set their preferences for:

  • the dates used by the reports, this includes both the 'end date' and time frame (ie. monthly, quarterly, half yearly, annually);
  • the specific reports they want in their client's 'packs';
  • the wording used for the 'executive summary', covering letter, or similar.



Whilst a simple example, the strategy used here does open the door to reengineering other processes, for example capturing client preferences across a broad range of matters and weaving them into the communications you subsequently provide.  Importantly, we quickly move away from establishing inefficient processes and procedures that burden your administration team.



When was the last time you did something remarkable for your client?  In order to qualify, that 'thing' would have been viewed by your client as extraordinary, unusual, or simply worthy of notice or attention.  The most important aspect of 'remarkable' is that it will be worthy of remark.  If you consider 'standard' practice, most portfolio reports would incorporate elements such as 'valuations' and 'transactions for the period' - it's certainly what I've been conditioned into expecting whenever I open the envelope I receive from my super fund (to the point where it will sit unopened for a week or longer).  Hardly worthy of remark, and if it were to come up in conversation at the archetypal dinner party or barbeque, it would be for the wrong reasons.


So what does 'remarkable' look like?  The following is a single page, double-sided report generated utilising XPLAN's Smart IPS Components.  The important question is: If you sent this to your client, would it gain their attention?  Further, perhaps most importantly, would it get them talking ?


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A copy of the report is also attached (refer to 'reportout-28063-15967 (5). pdf' below).


&MASTER more...


G KNOW more...
  • Jonah Berger is a Wharton professor and author of the book Contagious: Why Things Catch On.  The book explores the concept of 'social currency' (one of six elements which unravel the mystery of virality) and how every product or idea can have 'inner remarkability'.  In this short video he discusses the value of word of mouth marketing.

Email plays a large part in our lives, so much so, it has shaped how we often think about solving problems. Therefore it shouldn't be surprising to hear the question: "Is there an easier way to get the audio recording from my client meeting into XPLAN than emailing myself the audio file, saving it to the desktop, creating a new file note, and then uploading the file as an attachment?"  In short, yes.



So, what is 'remote filing'?

'Remote filing' is simply the act of pushing content into XPLAN when your not using XPLAN.  There are different methods available to accomplishing this, but ultimately, all deliver the benefit of simplicity and greater efficiency.  One of the options available, and we'll focus on this method here, is to exploit XPLAN's ability to 'accept' inbound emails (for more information on the mechanics and set up this, have a look at Incoming email: How to automatically file your emails from any email client). Given the question posed, the experience would now look something like this:


1. The meeting is recorded using your favourite/preferred solution (here I'm using Apple's Voice Memos).



2. At the conclusion of the client meeting, tap on the 'share' icon, and select the 'Mail' option.



3. Enter the client's unique XPLAN email address (click here if you need help finding this) and update the 'Subject' line to ensure that the Note Type and Subtype are correctly assigned when XPLAN 'processes' the email (in this example we're using the text '(AR)' to indicate that we are filing an audio recording from a meeting).



4. Send the email... Later, upon returning to your desktop, you'll find the Note sitting under the client's file.

2016-05-19 10_01_44-Steve Smith (TBD, Online Ins. Quote, , ) _ XPLAN powered by IRESS.png


2016-05-19 10_02_27-Steve Smith (TBD, Online Ins. Quote, , ) _ XPLAN powered by IRESS.png




INNOVATE more...

  • Capture and file diagrams from the whiteboard.
  • Automatically capture client statements, correspondence, contract notes, etc. from providers and other third parties.   

KNOW more...

Question: We'd like to use an alternate document management system for storing our file notes as XPLAN doesn't seem to meet our needs, can you recommend an alternative?

Answer: Providing a recommendation is going to be challenging - whilst many solutions will allow you to create, share and retrieve simple notes with simplicity, few will provide a solution which would ensure that you had effectively achieved the same 'coverage'.  For example, consider the following scenario: An e-newsletter is broadcast to all your prospective and existing clients every month.  Ideally a copy is stored against the client's records.  You will have taken this step because:

  • you include personalised content - ie. you have a section called 'just for You' which utilises information about the client (age, employment status, etc.) to bring specific information to their attention;
  • some simple research regarding assets they hold is incorporated;
  • you recognise that everyone is time poor and acessing this information is likely to be more convenient at a later date and from within the client portal (long after the email has been deleted);
  • when the client calls you like to have the above at-hand; and
  • at Annual Fee Disclosure time you choose to automatically tally up the count of these 'touch points' and include them within your FDS.


As we can imagine, the move to capturing notes within a disconnected solution quickly begins to create new headaches  In order to better appreciate how deeply entwined Notes are in your daily activities, explore this mind map which better reveals the rather extensive relationships that File Notes have established within XPLAN's feature set.



Technology change is driving the life insurance market in significant ways and these changes have created the opportunity for retail platforms to provide greater choice in their life insurance offerings. Getting personal life insurance through a platform may offer solutions for all personal life insurance planning needs, with the added advantage of client’s having access to taxation benefits and premium discounting while providing streamlined administration and business efficiencies to advisers. XPLAN Risk Researcher is able to assist advisers with the recommendation of retail personal insurance through investment platforms via the Platform Funded Pricing Scheme functionality. Located within the Global Options section of Premium Modelling’s Details screen, advisers can select their preferred investment platform that they wish to place their client’s insurance cover through and have any relevant discounts automatically applied to the premiums of the retail insurance products available through the selected platform.




To obtain a concise premium comparison, if the client platform is for superannuation purposes, ensure that you have the ‘Super-Owned’ risk product type selected (otherwise select ‘Ordinary’).  On the premium results screen, advisers can easily identify the products that are available through their selected platform via the ‘funded by’ notation next to the product name and compare them against each other or against other retail products held outside of the selected platform.




Where the Life Insurer’s integration service allows for it, the platform ownership structure flows through to our Premium Validation and Quote & Apply functionality and any subsequent quote report obtained will contain all the correct details without any further adviser input.


Please note that the list of platforms available under the Platform Funded Pricing Scheme is currently not exhaustive of all available platforms in the market. IRESS will continue to grow this list over time with priority being given to requests from advisers subscribed to Risk Researcher.

'The Dream Report' was created to provide a benchmark for advice businesses wanting to challenge their 'approach' to undertaking and generating an investment centric review.  Two of the key objectives were to demonstrate how a standard XPLAN investment report could be readily branded to ensure continuity of style, and how efficiently the document could be generated.  For those interested, further details can be found at



Whilst the key objectives were achieved, a fundamental roadblock was that many businesses utilising XPLAN are unable to access features like the Wizard builder (the ability to design and implement a series of screens that create greater efficiencies when undertaking common processes).  So whilst the process for creating 'The Dream Report' still provides a very good example of Best Practice the key objective of the Analysis & Review Report was to provide a solution for practices which was both efficient, flexible, tailored and engaging.



The Analysis & Review Report comprises:

  • Investment overview
  • Executive Summary
  • Portfolio Valuation
  • SMSF Summary
  • Holdings Analysis
  • Performance Analysis
  • Asset Allocation (current & proposed)
  • Investment Recommendations
  • Maturing Investments
  • Expiring Identity Documents
  • Insurance Schedule
  • Fee Disclosure
  • Invoices
  • Supplemental Reports (Appendix)


Sample document coming soon...

How it works

In order to provide greater flexibility without the typical 'techno' overheads, the report template utilises XPLAN's File Notes to manage the 'instructions' which will determine what sections are included or excluded within the report.  Read more...

Michael Kinens

The 'Dream Report'

Posted by Michael Kinens Employee Nov 11, 2015

What does/should a good client-facing report look like?

Given the opportunity, what would you include in your brief for a 'Dream' report?  To make this exercise simpler, the attached example was created to provide advisers with a benchmark. 


Within this report (which is very portfolio/investment centric) you will find:

  • A 'position' summary
  • An Executive Summary (utilises a 'global' default for efficiency but readily supports customised, client-specific content, if desired)
  • A series of 'summary-style' portfolio charts and reports
  • Market Commentary (drawn from a central library for ease of management)
  • Investment recommendations (utilising 'Local Research/Product Research Fields' to significantly enhance efficiency) 
  • Maturing Investments (proactive advice concerning investments with maturity dates)
  • Expiring Identity Documents
  • Fee Disclosure (automated)
  • Tailored detail reports (landscape orientated reports bundled into the document appendix)



Keen for any feedback and/or examples which you may have that you'd like to see included or automated.




Update: This report is being superseded by the Analysis & Review Report - A new and revised 'Dream Report'.