Woodruff Financial Planning were winners at the Colchester Business Awards 2014 for the Excellent Customer Service Award.

Woodruff Financial Planning were winners at the Colchester Business Awards 2014 for the Excellent Customer Service Award.

We are proud that we provide award-winning customer service. Customer service is at the heart of everything we do. Here is more about what this means to you.

Read more about our other awards.

What the judges said about our customer service

This outstanding company has demonstrated a thorough and rigorous approach to its customer service policy and practice. Punching above its weight, this small team delivers an excellent level of service, every time, in all things and to the highest professional standards. They truly listen to the needs of their clients, always keeping them informed and adjusting their own practices and offerings to suit the clients’ needs. Supreme attention is paid to all systems and processes, striving for accuracy and efficiency. Constant improvement and ‘small changes every day’ is key to the company’s success and its high level of client satisfaction and referrals.

Thanks for the brilliant comments from Vicki Skeels and Nancy Usher of The Hearing Care Centre – high praise indeed from previous winners of this award.

Values

Our business values influence our customer service. This leads to extremely high satisfaction levels.

Vision and mission

We believe that everyone deserves to live a secure and fulfilled life. We help you to achieve this using comprehensive financial planning.

See our story.

Culture

We want to create a friendly atmosphere of mutual respect between you and our team. Openness is encouraged between colleagues and clients.

We have formalised our client service principles – they are on the wall of our office and we refer to them every day. We use these to reflect our culture and values when dealing with you. These principles help us to make appropriate decisions which look after your interests.

Our client service principles

  1. Treat clients like family friends
    We like to be treated with warmth, humour and respect, so that’s how we treat others.
  2. Ideally, what would the client want?
    If we are faced with 2 choices, we ask this question. The answer generally guides our choices (within reason).
  3. Does the client know?
    We work hard not only to stick to service standards, but also to let you know about progress. This applies no matter how small a change or even when there is no change. Service not only has to be done, but has to be seen to be done. We know how frustrating it is when you are not informed about progress.
  4. How do we make it easier for the client?
    We want to take the burden of the work and complexity away from you, to help you make decisions and take action. If you can think of ways for us to make your life easier – just let us know.
  5. Every request is reasonable
    Service requests are treated with respect and are used to enhance standards. We have many examples of where client feedback has been used to improve our service.
  6. How do we improve the process?
    We regularly come up against weaknesses or exceptions in the processes we use. When this happens we improve the process to avoid this issue happening in the future. If you think there is anything we could do better, let us know and we’ll do our best to improve it.
  7. Accuracy is more important than speed
    Mistakes are inevitable, so it is important that information is checked as part of the process. Sometimes we may need to take a little longer to make sure we get it right first time. That’s much better for you in the long run.

Specialised and niche

We offer 2 core services – Financial Planning and Investment Management.

We know the types of people and the typical needs who benefit most from our service. We do not take on clients who do not fit these profiles, as this can lead to conflict and inconsistent service. We have a network of partners who we can refer you to, if your needs do not match our service offering.

Service standards

Our service standards are designed with you in mind. We start with your needs and work backwards from there, rather than trying to make you fit into our services.

You will receive a service plan in advance to outline what to expect from us, plus what we need from you. This is written clearly in a simple leaflet, as well as in your service contract.

Communication

Communication is vital and we hold a daily informal team client discussion which focuses on current client work and other projects. This allows us to ensure that service is delivered consistently and promptly. This also avoids possible problems caused by multiple staff members working on the same service for you.

The 3rd client service principle is “Does the client know?” We are in contact regularly at every stage to give you updates so you understand where progress of the service to you. When we are customers we find that it is frustrating if we do not get regular updates, and lose confidence in an organisation if we do not know what is being done to provide service.

As a result we focus on delivering an outstanding result for you, while also making the process as enjoyable and stress-free as possible.

Feedback

Feedback regularly leads to changes in our processes. Team members are encouraged to take initiative to resolve your needs at every stage. We use this feedback to involve clients in designing their ideal service, and this helps us to improve our service to all clients. This feeds into client service principles 5 and 6.

Standardised processes

We work hard at building and updating standardised processes. This allows for consistent service, but also enables us to build in improvements. We can easily add to the existing processes, which means we can react fast to sensible suggestions.

Fairness

We do not negotiate on price as we feel our model is fair to us and to you. It would be unfair to existing clients to offer betters deals to new clients.

We offer fair contracts, which are easy to understand and have a summary sheet at the front which summarises all the main points.

You can cancel your service with us at any time without penalty, which means we must deliver value to keep you as clients.

Constant feedback

Our service plans focus on regular, ongoing contact and service rather than transactional sales. This means we can have regular dialogue on goals and needs rather than trying to sell you anything. This is why we have such a high retention rate for existing clients.

This feedback has often led to client-led changes. For example, we altered our contracts when a client found it to be confusing, and added in the summary sheet on the front page. We also introduced less technical data into reports as clients felt this was overwhelming; we then introduced interactive visual aids into review meetings to help with retention of information rather than focusing on technical reports.

As another example, we found that clients were taking notes and drawing the visual aids we would use in meetings to help explain complex issues. One client even took photos of the flip chart drawings. As a result we standardised the materials we use, and now take our own photos, which we use in service proposals to personalise the reports and help clients remember the issues we discussed.

Service, not products

Our product is our service. We are unlike most financial advisers in that we offer a true ongoing service to manage your finances rather than sales-based transactions.

Wow review

We are at the implementation stage of our “Wow review”. This has been a comprehensive internal examination of our systems and processes from your perspective. We examined what we do and produce from a client point of view with the aim of making a happier customer experience.

This involved many hours of reviewing the customer experience from first contact, through making an enquiry, finding out information, the sales process, and then into post-sale service.

This was an exhaustive process and resulted in dozens of ideas to implement to improve the service to prospects and clients at every stage. This is an ongoing project across the business which will take approximately 12 months to complete.

We have taken some client feedback on changes to make as part of this.

Guarantee

All new clients are given a 7-day no-obligation guarantee. You can change your mind within this deadline and we will not charge you anything, even if we have done work on your behalf.

Other indicators

  • We have never had a formal complaint
  • We have only lost 1 client in the last 5 years of trading and this was because our service no longer suited them
  • We receive regular testimonials as a result of our feedback programme
  • We have a 5 star rating on Google reviews
  • We have 13 client case studies available