Advisor and client (Image: Shutterstock)

Despite that digital communication methods are growing in popularity, advisors strongly prefer face-to-face meetings with their clients, according to new data from Hartford Funds.

According to the in-person survey of 116 financial advisors, nearly three-quarters of advisors cited face-to-face meetings as their favored method of communication with clients and prospects.

By comparison, only 12% of advisors found video options like Skype and FaceTime most useful for these conversations.

While advisors say they prefer in-person meetings, nearly two-thirds of those surveyed report interacting with their clients on at least a weekly basis to discuss investment strategy or simply touch base.

Advisors virtually unanimously (96%) anticipate that this frequency of communication should continue in the next 5 to 10 years, with almost 38% expecting it to increase by more than 50%.

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“Effective, consistent communication is the bedrock of the advisor-client relationship and a strategic imperative in human-centric advising,” Julie Genjac, managing director of strategic markets at Hartford Funds, said in a statement. “As advisors thread the needle and both communicate more frequently and meet in person, it’s essential that they embrace firm-approved digital alternatives (like video chat) that allow for more regular, face-to-face interactions.”

The survey finds that advisors are also seeking ways to add value outside of their regular discussions.

More than half of the advisors surveyed reported hosting group informational sessions (regarding trending investment topics, market updates, technology and other subjects) at least quarterly, and three-quarters (75%) do so annually.

According to John Diehl, senior vice president of strategic markets at Hartford Funds, “Value-add content is a critical way for advisors to guide their clients on issues related and unrelated to their finances.

“Considering their widespread preference for face-to-face interaction, advisors must leverage workshops and group informational sessions to provide valuable insight in person on important issues, and thereby ensure that their client relationships are more fruitful and rewarding.”