Forum Discussion

MandyP's avatar
Virtual Explorer
3 months ago

Client reviews

G'day All

There is always a lot of focus on new client engagement and SOA production. Given most practices have way more ongoing clients than new, how are you finding the process of arranging review meetings and preparing review documentation? Could this area and the report we provide clients at review time do with some focus? 

17 Replies

  • roccomusumeci's avatar
    Visiting Enthusiast

    Hey Mandy,

    A solid process is the key to client reviews. Reviews are a prime opportunity to demonstrate your value, deepen engagement, and plant seeds for growth. With some forethought and preparation, you can maximize their impact for your clients and your business.

    Some tips that work for businesses: 

    • Get review meetings booked well in advance - I recommend at least 3 months ahead. Send calendar invites to the client immediately to secure the date.
    • Develop a discussion agenda to guide the meeting and ensure all critical topics get covered. Include a portfolio update, performance review, financial analysis, and strategy for the year ahead. Even prepare the advice beforehand. 
    • Gather all reports, statements, analyses ahead of the review so they are ready to share. Visuals like performance charts and infographics help convey insights effectively.
    • Don't t just present, have a dialogue. Ask probing questions to understand evolving needs and goals. Uncover issues keeping the client up at night to spot new opportunities.


    Focus on your process and client experience first, and have that drive your tech. Even the fanciest tech is only as good as the process behind it.

  • Hi MandyP - this is an issue close to my heart. Our ongoing clients are the core of our business and looking after them in an efficient yet personal way is really important. We've tried various approaches to the review process, some more successful than others. What works for us now is the use of threads within xplan to automate the review process somewhat and make it a consistent experience for clients and our team. We try to spread the reviews throughout the year to avoid bottlenecks and manage workflow. One tip though, which is probably obvious but worth mentioning, is to use an online calendar for appointments and send the link to the client so they can make an appointment (online or face-to-face) at a date and time that suits them. It saves so much back and forth. Another step we take at review time is reviewing our data from a compliance perspective to make sure we have the most current documents or ID, and that nothing is missing. It is then easy to bring this up when speaking with the client. I'm looking forward to hearing about processes from other businesses too. 

    • MandyP's avatar
      Virtual Explorer

      Thanks Anne. Great comment. I agree the software provides great support for the process (threads etc. ) and compliance agendas/checklists. Do you have a standard template that you use to build the client review report? 

      • Anne-Graham's avatar
        Icon for Advisely Board rankAdvisely Board

        Glad to be of help MandyP . We have a 'reverse fact find' for the client review report but I'm not entirely happy with it - it tends to contain information that I don't use for a review meeting. We have a standard agenda which is just a Word doc and is basically a prompt for the advisers' discussion with the client. 

  • JennyB's avatar
    Icon for Advisely Board rankAdvisely Board

    Hi MandyP great question, it's taken us years to work out what works best for us. Like Anne-Graham we tend to spread our reviews out over the year and we also ensure we use tasks and threads extensively so we know what is required. We check to ensure we have updated ID, data etc. We use AdvisorForms which syncs both ways with XPlan to get any updates from clients and also ask them what good and bad things that have happened since we last met, it creates a great talking point.
    We generally have 2 advisers in every client meeting, a senior adviser and associate who is either doing their PY or just finished, and they work with the 3 senior advisers.  As a result an on-line calendar hasn't worked for us, we tend to either email or pick up the phone to book in a time.
    Depending upon the client and value to us, along with their preference, we have either in person or on-line catch ups. We are a 100% virtual office, so the bulk of our meetings are done on line, with around 20% in person.
    I run a spreadsheet, we call Who's feeling the Love - which tracks last advice doc, FDS date, last meeting, current fees, cost to us to serve and some other things.  This helps with scheduling in who we need to contact during which period of the year. For example we have earmarked all the clients we need to see between now and EOFY and are booking them in as required.
    I'd love to her from others on what works for them.

    • MandyP's avatar
      Virtual Explorer

      Thanks Jenny. I'm going to investgae AdviserForms as I know gathering the updated info from the client is a real bug bear for most advice businesses and their clients. I love that you are largely virtual. Not only from a client convenience perspective and also from a paperless office perspective. 

      Regarding your 'love' s/sheet, could that be handled in the software dashboard? Iress perhaps you can respond here. It seems like an opportunity to reduce duplicate data capture and errors.

      • laura-capozzi's avatar
        Icon for Iress Contributor rankIress Contributor

        This is a really good discussion topic and one that I see a lot out there whereby practices aren't utilising the full potential of Xplan to help in reviews and tracking all the data around them. In my opinion, using a combination of the Review Module (which doesn't have to be just for annual reviews, it can be used for ANY regular client contact), automatically activated Workflows (cases), and Xport reporting, all of the above information can be captured and you can rest assured all your clients will feel the love. This will reduce the double handling of maintaining a spreadsheet and also ensure one source of truth exists and is up to date.

  • Hi@MandyP. A great topic and one that you have already gained some great insights on. from Anne-Graham  and also JennyB . For me there are really 2 issues at the heart of client reviews, the first is making sure they are managed efficiently from an operational perspective and the second is the quality of the experience for the clients participating. Particularly long-term clients. 

    In terms of operational efficiency, in a practice where we had 1400 client meetings per year for those on an annual review arrangement and fixed term agreements it was critical for us to use Xplan and threads.  Of course, we had a standard review document template and format. Having a standard base document was critical. however, the content was personalised.

    We had some advisers who booked a year in advance which worked for clients who were used to this and we had an auto process of engaging the clients 3 months out from their due date.

    We centralised review document preparation for all of our offices and we automated fee agreement reviews so there was less backwards and forwards between different team members.  We had educated a number of our clients which meant the bulk of our reviews were allocated and locked in really quickly.  We then had a couple of our admin team staff who would follow up those not yet booked in. There was transparency for all of the team in terms of who was not booked so if the client called in or spoke to any team member they had the ability with full visibility of diaries to make the appointment.

    As others have raised, smoothing the flow of reviews is important as it can create bottlenecks if not managed efficiently.   We also had the benefit of including the next generation of advisers in meetings with the senior advisers to speed up the actions from the meeting and minimize things sitting on desks.

    Like others, combining face to face and online meetings has been a god sent, we have a number of clients who now don't need to travel as much and find the online meetings more convenient.

    Using technology like DocuSign to get signed paperwork back post important was something that delivered a lot of efficiencies for our practice.

    Perhaps a topic for a future conversation is how do we make the review experience about the clients and less about all the forms and processes that we need. How do we mix it up for those clients who have been with the firm for some time.  One of the core questions we have within our review process is checking in with the client and regularly asking them what is that they value about working with us but also what are the areas of the review meetings that they value.

    I look forward to other insights.






    • MandyP's avatar
      Virtual Explorer

      Hi Darren - thanks for this detailed response. I'd love to connect with you further. Keen to understand your client response to what they value in working with you and from the review meeting / experience?

      We're working on producing a template for reviews that show clients their financial journey mapped to their goals and I'd love to hear from you and others on this chat what you currently use to show clients how they are progressing. 

  • Hi MandyP - I had another tip that is useful for us and probably most other advisers. A standard agenda comes in handy. It provides some structure to the meeting but importantly makes sure that important items aren't overlooked. We use it as a prompt and it also means there is consistency across our advisers. 

    Darren_Smith made a terrific observation about keeping the review about the client and not the compliance. Most of our reviews are very conversational and generally relaxed. Weaving in the compliance discussion or form signing (for me at least) is usually done at the end of the meeting which is where the agenda comes in handy as a prompt.


    • MandyP's avatar
      Virtual Explorer

      Noted - good one. Let me know if you're keen to weigh in on the review document. 

  • DebKent's avatar
    Icon for Advisely Board rankAdvisely Board

    Hi MandyP 

    Like others on this thread, we use xplan threads and tasks to implement our reviews we also spread them over the year as they can be time consuming, we also use an online calendar Acuity to schedule the appointments which also sends clients emails and SMS to confirm appointments my team have this pretty much down pat, the team are also using trello to track the progress as well.   JennyB I should look at Adviserforms as well 

  • Jessica-Lamb's avatar
    Icon for Advisely Partner rankAdvisely Partner

    MandyP - reading through these comments, it is so great to see the feedback from the industry and all the suggestions people have put forward. 

    As an XPLAN advocate, I would love to see XPLAN drive as much of this process for you as possible. To eliminate any manual work and reduce the compliance risk to the business. 

     I see a combination of XPLAN areas working together:

    • Review Date data
    • Scheduler
    • Diary
    • Cases (including Threads, Case Benchmarks)
    • Client Portal Fact Find
    • Xmerge

    I put together an example process that can be run through XPLAN with a focus on automating the process of scheduling the meeting and preparing the advice doc. You can watch it here: A fresh look at the Review Process | Advisely  

    I also wanted to touch on JennyB's  comment above. We spoke about moving her Excel report into XPLAN. Having the staff update XPLAN (Not Excel) and a merge report could produce the report at any time showing all clients. Jenny raises a great point that she wants to see this in real time. I think XPLAN would benefit from a feature similar to XPORT - but for the interface. So you can custom-build your dashboard based on fields on XPLAN and display it based on a list of clients. I mean - that would be GENIUS! 

    Having said that - you can already do this at a client-by-client level - so don't forget that. If you are working on a review for a client, and need data from 5 different XPLAN pages and don't want to keep flicking from XPLAN page to XPLAN page, you can create a Review Summary Page which displays a suite of XPLAN fields you need. Your site administrator could work with you on this space. 

    Hope this helps. Great topic Mandy. 


    • MandyP's avatar
      Virtual Explorer

      Thanks Primrose. I will take a look.