Here’s part three of our look at John Templeton’s memo from 1953 on how to keep clients happy, the latest addition to our Templeton Letters Series.

7) Each of us should keep in mind the strong psychological effect of repetition. Pointing out a good record once does not have nearly the effect of pointing out the same record four or five times. Contacts with clients week after week which report mostly items of important news about their stocks have accumulative subconscious favorable effect, whereas a series of letters or contacts which mention problems have the opposite effect. Because of repetition the question of having investment counsel costs paid by the custodian has utmost importance. Trust company costs are seldom mentioned by beneficiaries because they never see the bills or make out the checks. However, although no client minds paying the first bill, he does build up a subconscious sensitivity by having to make out a check every three months for an amount which is usually one of his largest expenses.

8) Intimate knowledge of every detail of family affairs is a proper expectation of the client, because investment counsel does fit selections to the needs and wishes of the particular client. If the counselor remembers most of the details about the family, taxes and investment holdings of the client, this gives the client a feeling that he is getting close personal attention. Estate planning is a helpful thing for establishing this close relationship. Personal friendship should be cultivated in various ways because this subconsciously encourages a favorable attitude toward each question that may arise.

9) To some extent, clients are happy to learn how good our record has been for other clients. The Model Fund is a help in this respect and should often be shown to the clients and the method of comparison described in some detail. Testimonial letters are helpful also.