Financial advisors in the midst of this unsettling market environment are working overtime to calm investor jitters. To further complicate matters during this historic volatility, many are unable to meet face-to-face with clients because of COVID-19 concerns. It is precisely these uncertain times when the best advisors demonstrate true value.
It’s been heartening to see the proactive measures that advisors using Hearsay are taking during these turbulent times, leveraging our communication tools to reassure clients with a human touch. Over the past few weeks, we’ve had a record number of communications go out over our platform. Clients are grateful in their responses – retirement plans, dream vacations, and childrens’ college plans are at stake.
Our fundamental belief at Hearsay is that technology should strengthen human relationships, not replace them. We’ve seen this play out in spades during times of great uncertainty when only a human interaction can assuage fear. These are key moments for building stronger relationships and loyal clients, and we’ve summarized our advice into four recommendations on how to best deliver these critically important communications.
Ensure Advisors Know What Communication Tools Are Available to Them
Be prescriptive with your field on how to maintain continuous conversations with clients during any potential disruption. Advisors must know how to access systems remotely and be prepared to communicate with clients in fast-changing situations. Firms should consider how incoming business calls can be re-routed to a remote office location or provide other means of compliantly communicating with clients. In previous downturns, texting may not have been available to your advisors – now it’s essential when trying to connect with both your team as well as clients quickly. Fortunately, many technologies that advisors use to conduct their business are increasingly cloud-based, allowing easier access and reducing outages.
Reassure and Realign Clients to a Long-Term Vantage Point
The intense media cycles flooding clients can influence them to make hasty decisions that may not result in the best long-term outcome. It’s critical for advisors to proactively and immediately reach out to reassure clients that they have a firm grasp on their long-term financial goals. This could be a quick text from an advisor letting the client know that their current portfolio is still on track to meet retirement goals with minimal effect from the recent downturn, and that the current turbulence is not necessarily a long-term trend.
This type of reassuring message can also be conducted via a one-to-many communication, delivered by a text, email or social media post. We’ve seen that when advisors send a broadcast text (to several individuals at once), these are often perceived and responded to as if they were a one-to-one message. This means advisors can touch many clients very quickly, and provide a personal experience.
Open the Conversation to Adjustments in Strategy
Some clients may be in a position where they need to re-allocate assets to protect their financial future. Others may see the downturn as a buying opportunity. Start the conversation as soon as possible by letting the client know that you are monitoring their situation – this will reassure your client and let them know you are ready to act on their behalf. By opening this conversation via a direct channel such as texting, the client can respond quickly and easily to guidance or suggestions for alternative strategies that you provide. Timely responses make all the difference, and direct channels help ensure your clients get back to you quickly.
Use Video Meetings if In-Person Isn’t Possible
In disquieting times, nothing beats a live conversation or face-to-face meeting – not always possible in our current day and age. We’ve seen advisors scheduling video meetings with clients to talk them through the downturn and ensure that the appropriate next steps are being taken – and even offices proactively changing all of their scheduled in-person meetings to video conference calls.
With 70% of communication being non-verbal, information is more effectively communicated and understood via video call vs. an audio call. Conversations that include a visual component also allow for body language and expressions of empathy and understanding can help build stronger and more trusted relationships.
Seeing advisors use our technology to provide proactive, extraordinary service, build stronger relationships with clients, and ultimately stabilize our markets is extremely gratifying. This is a defining moment for the industry, and we appreciate seeing advisors creating exceptional customer experiences during a moment that deeply matters.