Grow Your Business

Does Your Idea of 'Good Service' Equate With Airline Food?

By Tom Foster

Research by MassMutual shows that one of the biggest differentiators for financial advisors in the eyes of retirement plan sponsors is the ability to deliver good service.

So what does that mean, exactly? With today’s "self-serve," web- and automated service platforms, "good service" has become another oxymoron such as "jumbo shrimp" or "airline food."

When it comes to servicing retirement plans, MassMutual’s Winning Combination Study finds that three attributes typically associated with financial advisors rate as “extremely important” by a majority of plan sponsors:

  • Listening and responding to needs;
  • Available by phone or email when needed; and
  • Helps resolve problems.

Anyone in sales ought to be able to listen well and be responsive. If not, it’s time for some career counseling. Resolving problems, though, is often easier said than done.

As someone who has been in the retirement plan industry for decades, I always tell advisors that this is a problem-solving business. It’s not about selling products. It’s not just about investments or participation in the plan. It’s about helping your clients overcome obstacles and achieve their goals.

One of the best ways to solve problems is to be proactive. Plan reviews are a good place to start because they can help you identify and solve problems before they become bigger issues. In fact, 95 percent of plan sponsors who rely on a financial advisor told MassMutual that reviewing their retirement plan and its performance is “extremely important” or “very important.”

Plan reviews can be the nexus for new plan designs to bolster plan participation and contributions, enhance retirement readiness, and ultimately make your clients’ retirement plans more effective.

If you solve your client’s problems sooner than later, the results will be "awfully good."



Thomas Foster Jr. is Assistant Vice President, Strategy and Relationships, for MassMutual Retirement Services, a division of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co.

This article is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal, investment, and/or tax advice. Please consult your own legal counsel and other experts regarding the specific application of the information set forth herein to your own plan and/or circumstances.