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What does it take to provide a first class service?

I love the term ‘world class.’ Immediately I think of sporting superstars like Messi, Federer and McIlroy who all light up the world stage with unbeatable performances, each demonstrating exactly why they’re the cream of the crop.

Unfortunately, we should be witnessing this right now with Wimbledon, the Olympics and Euro 2020, but thanks to Covid-19, we have to settle for Premier League football in empty stadiums and optional crowd noise. No doubt 2020 has truly been a unique year.

The point I’m alluding to is that although I’ll never be able to strike a football like Messi, I can however aspire to provide a world-class financial service. This is right at the top of our list of priorities at Barnaby Cecil. Why? Well, because we work with exceptional people and with that privilege, we should provide an exceptional service.

The best financial planning firm in the world

When we set Barnaby Cecil up in February 2019, Emma and I had more or less a blank canvas. We said then, we wanted to be ‘the best financial planning firm in the world!’ and so we made notes about what ‘world class’ would look like and how we would get there.

We would have to build many things, over time, to reach that summit.

Starting off with one client, it was relatively easy to provide something ‘world class’. The service we gave that client was exceptional. I said to Emma back then, as best we can, I want clients to always feel like we’ve only got one client. If we can achieve that, it would go some way towards being the best financial planning firm in the world.

As we continue to grow, service integrity naturally becomes a challenge, but it’s important we maintain this standard. How do we plan to manage that?

When I was in Vietnam on honeymoon, I was blown away by the consistently high level of service we received. The honour of serving someone seemed to be embedded in all levels of Vietnamese culture. Barnaby Cecil should be no different in terms of what we’re offering. If it’s possible in other industries, it should be possible for us.

Financial services has a long way to go

There’s no shortage of organisations these days that take the time to collaborate with their clients in this way in order to deliver what they want. From Uber to Apple to Timberland, client feedback is a priority and the only way they can be sure to deliver satisfaction. This seems logical when you read it back. But in finance, this approach is the opposite.

The norm in traditional, high-end financial companies is more ‘parent-child’ than partner. Established firms like Coutts for example, expect clients to approach them in a manner that can be compared to students applying for a prestigious university.

We don’t like this approach. We think it’s cold, corporate, and it takes people for granted. A world-class service shouldn’t treat clients as mere numbers on a spreadsheet. Instead, they should be seen as fascinating people who each have a story to tell and a desire to reach their aspirations.

Listening to what you have to say

One way we can ensure that Barnaby Cecil is always delivering what you need is to collaborate with you too.

So something we’ll introduce in the future will be a yearly client census to gauge how you feel about the service we provide, what you look for in a world-class provider and how we can make Barnaby Cecil the best financial planning firm in the world.

This will not only provide valuable feedback as to how we can improve but will be an important way for us to measure our performance over time.

Non-stop accountability

The final piece of the puzzle for us is accountability, which is something the underpins Barnaby Cecil throughout.

As you may or may not know, the name Barnaby Cecil comes from the middle names of my two young boys. They’re toddlers at the moment, so have no awareness of this, and perhaps they’ll be more interested in football than financial planning when they grow up, but it means a lot to me that the company is named after them.

It means that I care even more about providing a world-class service because I want to create a business they’re proud of.

We’re not here to make a quick buck, we’re here for the long haul, and to create something that provides a premium service to exceptional people. And makes two young men proud of what their dad did.

We look forward to working with you further to develop something that means ‘world class’ to you.

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