Jennifer Sawan – Most of us never saw it coming.
I know I never expected to experience something like this COVID-19 pandemic in my lifetime. But if there is an upside to all this, it’s this: the pandemic has forced us to lean on each other from afar, and technology has enabled us to do that in new and creative ways.
This pandemic has led clients to reassess their financial security: reevaluate their financial plans; ensure their estates are in order; and see that their families are protected.
The paradox to all this is that at a time when we’ve never been more physically distant, technology has enabled us to feel closer than ever.
And collaborate even better.
How to leverage technology through the pandemic.
Companies in all industries are benefitting from innovative ways to harness technology to continue day- to-day operations and strengthen collaboration with our clients.
Financial advisors are in a unique position to offer a range of services and support to their clients during this sometimes stressful time.
These 5 best practices can help bridge the physical gap and strengthen your client relationships during these trying times:
1) Drop a line to let clients know you’re here.
While families are hunkered down at home, take the time to reach out to them to see how they’re doing. Some clients are living alone and looking for ways to stay connected. Other clients are busy at home balancing the clash between home and work life. As basic as this sounds, a quick note can go a long way to let clients know that you’re thinking of them and you’re present to offer support. Let them know you’re here and you can ease any financial fears.
Clients may not proactively reach out to you asking for help, however, they may need someone to vent to. Offer advice on the topics that are weighing heavily on them. This type of proactive communication will stand out as a differentiator in the services you offer. Advisor360°’s compliance-approved texting solution allows advisors to drop a quick text to let clients know that you’re thinking about them.
2) Zoom into face-to-face meetings.
Videoconferencing has become one of the most valuable tools in bridging the physical gap between us and our clients. Zoom or Microsoft Teams are essential collaboration tools that keep those previous face-to-face collaborations still face-to-face collaborations.
While most business can be conducted over phone calls, there is enormous value in seeing the unspoken words during these conversations—to read your client’s body language and to show empathy through your own. For small fees, you can customize your videoconferencing plan to meet your company needs, with options for enhanced security, recordings, and branding.
3) Leverage social media to stay connected.
We’ve never had more time to spend countless hours scrolling through social media in search of some entertainment! Why not use that opportunity to keep your brand top of mind, to get on the radar of your clients and prospects.
Find relevant articles to share with your followers that align with your point of view. Post content that provides empathy and makes people want to reach out. Follow clients to keep a pulse on their emotional state and well-being.
And most importantly, use social media as a way to help others learn about the breadth of services that you offer. Many clients may not know all of the ways in which you can support them during this time, so advertising your services might connect with existing and future clients in new ways.
4) Revisit financial plans.
While it’s best practice to review financial plans annually, there’s nothing like a pandemic to reinforce the need for a fresh look and perspective on those plans. Client goals, objectives, and overall outlook on handling risk look very different today than they did last year. (Last year I was thinking about a family trip overseas, and now my biggest concern is getting my family’s estate and protection products in order in case of an emergency).
Advisor360°’s WealthGuide® is a “living agenda” to help communicate different ways in which you can help support your client. And the 1- Click Review® report allows you to pull all of the relevant plan and portfolio reports together to tell the story of where you are and where your client wants to go. Provide clients peace of mind by proactively initiating these conversations and sharing documents via the client portal.
5)Offer digital access.
By providing clients with online access to their accounts, you build trust through transparency. Many clients find peace of mind by self-service: having access to log into, view, and control their accounts.
This is easy with enhanced features in Advisor360°’s client portal, such as account aggregation, the document vault (their central storehouse of important docs), and secure messaging. During these uncertain times, these client resources help clients get the full picture—and increase engagement for the long run.
While these crazy times may not be over quite yet, let these best practices help you and your colleagues forge stronger, supportive client relationships.
Because clients need you now more than ever.
Jennifer Sawan is Director of Product Strategy at Advisor360°, helping our product teams define a client’s vision—and then build great products.