Good client service is asking what the clients want – and giving it to them.
The same is true of quality client reporting – ask the clients what they want and give it to them. Very easy to say, but often difficult to do.
Why is that? There are many reasons, read on to find out the key ones we see that challenge firms…
1. Old inflexible systems dictate that all the clients get the same report
This can be very frustrating for the reporting team, as any client specific requirements tend to be produced outside of the core system, perhaps on a spreadsheet and then manually included into the final pack. Thus the approach often taken is labour intensive and prone to error, as well as being time-consuming to check the manual schedule. There can also be version control issues, where the report is updated and the manual schedule is missed, so the final pack is inconsistent. We also see instances where the reporting system is inflexible and difficult to update, therefore the client specific requirements are considered too time consuming and expensive to automate into the system and so the reporting team have to pick up the burden.
2. Some investment firms avoid talking to clients – in case the client asks for something that can’t be easily provided
This is a very poor situation, avoiding talking to the client in case they ask for something new. In this situation it would be very difficult to provide a decent level of service and impossible to measure the level of client satisfaction.
3. The reporting solution is manual and relies on key individuals
This is a surprisingly common situation. Perhaps the firm is relying on Excel workbooks, Word and PowerPoint to create and publish the final reports. Each member of the reporting team may have specific clients allocated to them, and the specialised reporting knowledge lives in the individual and not the system. Key woman/man dependency is a serious risk in this situation, and taking on additional clients inevitably means taking on more people.
4. Keeping track of all the reports and monitoring deadlines
Without an automated workflow system this is very difficult to manage, and requires constant reviews and updates – which itself is time consuming and detracts from producing reports. In the event something changes, perhaps a performance figure is revised, or a corporate action is booked late into the system, in a “manual” scenario there is much scrambling around to understand which reports are impacted, determining their stage in the production process, working out whether the reports have been despatched to the client and so on. Automated workflow, and “content aware” reports, allow for this type of event to be handled easily and with the minimum of delay and interruption to the production process.
5. Spending too much time preparing the reports and there’s not enough time to “use and discuss” the reports with the client
Ensuring the data required for reports is golden source, available, checked and delivered/collected on time is a prerequisite for good quality and timely reporting. Having an automated process to ingest the data and to validate the data is key. Self-checking reports that raise the alarm if the report is inaccurate or incomplete allows for high levels of automation and volume insensitive processing. Many firms are spending longer and longer creating the reports, rather than despatching the reports on time and discussing the report with their clients.
For many investment firms, the client report is the most frequent and most referenced contact point that exists between the two parties. Given this high value touch point between the investment firm and its client, surely firms should ensure that they are producing “good client reporting” – by having systems and processes that allow them to ask the client what they want – and be able to give it to them.
To find out how our Reporting as a Service solution can help you achieve high quality client reporting please visit our website at www.opus-nebula.com and email [email protected] to arrange a meeting and see a live demonstration of the system.