I always say that the worst thing you can do for people is give them false praise and false hope. I think when it comes to being a retirement plan provider, the worst thing you can do is give them is to fail the expectations that you created for them.
People can try to dismiss me as someone who’s opinionated and not so easy to get along with because I can be honest in my criticism. However, I think the greatest disputes I’ve ever had has been in business-type relationships where I was sold a bill of goods and those goods weren’t delivered. A perfect example was my old law school. Everything that was told to me about the school including their programs and opportunities for career advancement was either a lie or an exaggeration. I like to be told the truth. Don’t tell me how great your tax clinic is when the spots were limited and slots were picked out of names out of hat.
The point isn’t to dredge up a 20+ year vendetta against an alma mater, it’s to point out that people always resent being promised something by a business or service that fails to deliver. Don’t promise a client a level of service that you can’t meet. If you promise a top of the line website and your site looks like it was created for Netscape Navigator, you have a problem. If you keep expectations to a level that you can’t actually produce, you’re going to end up with a lot less disappointed clients. I’ve seen time and time again where plan sponsors regret hiring a certain provider because they were promised something when they made the change and the provider failed to deliver. I can attest to that with a number of multiple employer plans which I run and the new provider failed to perform at the level they promised and at the fee they promised. Needless to say, they’re out as plan providers.
Keep your feet to the ground and the expectations you give to your client to a level you can meet.