I could have gone with Verizon’s "Can You Hear Me Now" Guy as my visual metaphor for this blog post.

But then I found out that there isn’t one “Can You Hear Me Now" Guy but many. Verizon has a thick rulebook which Gizmodo reports spells out the rules on how Guy should dress and comport himself during public appearances.

While I didn’t exactly feel betrayed by learning about multiple Guys, it did trigger a similar feeling back in the 60s when we booked the Drifters for a college party. The Drifters that did show up weren’t the Official and Sole Authentic Original Drifters, but another group using the same name.

So I decided to go in a different direction for today’s visual metaphor -old school – with the picture of Don Adams as Maxwell Smart, Agent 86, in the classic TV series, Get Smart. (Infinitely better than the recent movie and definitely not the first “Smart Phone” – sorry about that).

What I’m visualizing is the 401(k)helpcenter.com article about a recent study which reveals why plan sponsors select, stick with, and switch plan providers. What they are reporting on is The Briskin Consulting Study of Small-Retirement-Plan Sponsors Advice. The study’s conclusion is that “assistance, not investment performance, drive satisfaction and attrition among small-plan sponsors.”

No surprise here. The retirement plan industry is no different than any other service industry. Clients change service providers because of lack of service. In the small retirement plan market (however defined), I’ve seen service issues in situations in which providers have:

  • Exited the market
  • Outsourced poorly
  • Changed service models
  • Receiving compensation without providing commensurate services

The Briskin Study refers to the end result as attrition. I call it opportunity.