Personalized advice lies at the core of Ameriprise Financial’s client interactions and paves the way toward customer loyalty. This month Ameriprise Financial earned the highest level of customer loyalty among investment firms in the 2017 Temkin Loyalty Index, which evaluated the loyalty of 10,000 U.S. consumers and asked them to rate how likely they are to perform five behaviors: Recommending the company to others, forgiving the company if it makes a mistake, trusting the company, repurchasing from the company, and trying the company’s new offerings.

Loyalty360 talked to Marie O’Neill, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Ameriprise Financial, to learn more about the company’s customer loyalty prowess.

Ongoing customer loyalty is such a desired asset for marketers today. Can you talk about, not only this recognition from Temkin, but Ameriprise’s outlook on retaining and acquiring new customers through relevant engagement?

O’Neill: Personalized advice, delivered throughout a lifetime is core to every aspect of how we work with clients. Our advisers excel at building lasting relationships with our clients–many of which extend to multiple generations in a family. Putting clients’ interests first, keeping their goals front and center, and connecting with them regularly are all part of the ways we work with our clients every day to help them reach their financial goals. An established relationship with an advisor makes it easier for our clients to adjust to life’s inevitable changes while keeping long-term goals in view. We are honored to receive this recognition from our clients, reflecting the strength of the lasting relationships we’ve built over time.

What does customer loyalty mean to Ameriprise and has that definition evolved at all in recent years?

O’Neill: Loyalty is something we don’t take for granted. Our advisers and firm work to earn our clients’ trust and show our value each and every day. We know that consumers today have a wide range of choices at their fingertips when it comes to managing their financial life. As those choices grow, we continue to develop and maintain long-standing client relationships–to us this translates into customer loyalty. There is a vast consumer need for personal, comprehensive financial advice. We believe there is no substitute for the connection that comes from ongoing conversations with and connection to an adviser who truly understands a client’s individual situation, and has the knowledge, expertise, and resources to effectively advise their client. This translates into customer loyalty.

Financial institutions often find it more difficult to find true customer/brand loyalty. What does Ameriprise focus on to try and make customer relationships individualized and personal?

O’Neill: Relationships are front and center when it comes to how we support our clients’ financial goals. A 1-on-1 relationship with an adviser backed by the financial strength and resources of Ameriprise is the foundation upon which we build meaningful financial advice. Truly understanding all aspects of clients’ financial lives: what they value, what their goals are, what their concerns are … all of this is critical to our ability to effectively support our clients.

At Ameriprise, what are you most proud of?

O’Neill: We’re passionate about helping clients live the full and rich life they’ve earned. Our mission hasn’t wavered since we were founded in 1894–we work to help people feel confident about their financial future. We aim to consistently put clients first. Receiving accolades directly from our clients–such as this No. 1 loyalty rating in the investment industry–helps us know that we’re on track.

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