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Financial Services Profile: Paul Baboolal

Wealth Management Advisor Northwestern Mutual Paul Baboolal provides financial, retirement income and estate planning advice in the Los Angeles office of Northwestern Mutual, where he started as an intern while still attending UCLA. He oversees a team of three people, and is a chartered life underwriter and chartered financial consultant. Approach to Customer Service: My team and I take the approach of being the one-stop shop for our client’s lives. While there may be aspects of their financial lives that we do not directly work with, we strive to find an answer to the questions they may have and to connect them with the right people. We are also human, and we do make mistakes, but we try to remedy those mistakes as soon as possible. It is important to actively listen to the client, and this allows us to address their wants and needs. Most Difficult Part of the Financial Planning Process: For most clients, one of the most difficult parts of the planning process is commitment. I don’t think this is due to their unwillingness to save for a plan, but I think it is more because of their lack of understanding. As an advisor, I educate my clients on the options that they have and I give guidance on the options I would recommend. We want our clients to feel comfortable and knowledgeable about their plan, so we try to give as much information, as simply as possible, without overwhelming the client. Handling Difficult Customers: My team and I seek to handle all the questions our clients have as soon as possible. While we may not have the answer for them in that moment, we still acknowledge their question and let them know we are trying to find an answer. We feel that it is important to maintain communication and to let them know that their questions are important to us. At times, some people try to wait to address a problem, but we feel that it is crucial to at least acknowledge it right away, even though we may not have a solution. This allows the client to know that we are making an effort. Do Customers Prefer In-Person, Phone or Email Communication? Preferences vary on the client. There are some clients that have preferences on how they want to connect. Even within their own families, there may be differing preferences. Some people prefer meeting in-person, some prefer over the phone and others prefer email communications. We tailor our communication with clients based on their preferences. How Northwestern’s Independent Agent Structure Affects Customer Service: Being an independent contractor allows us to give our clients the best opportunity for their plan. Instead of only recommending Northwestern Mutual options, we are able to recommend what we feel is best for the client in their specific situation. While sometimes Northwestern Mutual is the best option, other times an outside company may be best. This (structure) allows us to do what is best for the client. We want to make sure our plans and recommendations are tailored to the client’s situation, and being an independent contractor gives us this opportunity. Advice on Customer Service: Keep things simple while also doing what is best for the client. If we actively listen to what the client wants, we will be able to serve them in the best way possible. We shouldn’t make assumptions about the situation, but instead focus on what the client wants, and from there figure out the best solution. Sometimes customers become frustrated, but we have to be able to see the situation from their perspective. While the answer might be crystal clear to us, the customers don’t work in the same realm that we do. We need to be able to see where they are coming from and be patient. Don’t be afraid to ask extra questions to help clarify what they are looking for. The more we understand what the client is looking for, the easier it will be for us to find the best solution for them. – Mark R. Madler

Mark Madler
Mark Madler
Mark R. Madler covers aviation & aerospace, manufacturing, technology, automotive & transportation, media & entertainment and the Antelope Valley. He joined the company in February 2006. Madler previously worked as a reporter for the Burbank Leader. Before that, he was a reporter for the City News Bureau of Chicago and several daily newspapers in the suburban Chicago area. He has a bachelor’s of science degree in journalism from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
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