As we approach the one-month mark of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s a good time for firms to take a critical look at their client communications to determine what’s gone well and where there is room for improvement. Connecting with clients is crucial as we all work to navigate a new way of working. As firms look to refine and enhance communications moving forward, here are three key questions to consider:
1. Are we communicating in proactive, personalized ways that add value?
In challenging times, it’s especially important to know what clients are going through — beyond the financial — and have a true understanding of their broader concerns and challenges. Remember, an advisor’s value is more than investments and planning. Are you actively listening and then personalizing communications to help provide peace of mind related to clients’ individual needs and concerns? For example, do they have an elderly parent who lives alone or an adult child who is newly unemployed? Your CRM system can also provide value — look for information about clients who now could warrant additional support and potentially benefit from the newly passed Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, such as parents with children in college or small-business owners.
Advisors can build relationships and draw out important details in client conversations by focusing on “what” and “how” questions, such as “What has your social distancing experience been like?” or “How are you juggling work and the kids being out of school?” Demonstrating genuine care and interest not only helps advisors learn more about their clients, which in turn helps them know where they can add more value, but also helps position advisors as trusted resources who clients can turn to for a variety of needs.
2. Are we effectively leveraging all available channels?
Look at the past month’s communications holistically and assess how well you developed a consistent firm-wide message, as well as the cadence of communications and how effectively you’re connecting through all of the channels that are out there. Many firms have rightfully been focused on one-to-one communications, and that will continue to be critical. But, now is also a good time to look at how else you can you provide peace of mind and useful information for clients. For example, consider how you’re using social media, which enables you to efficiently communicate your messages to many clients and still allow for two-way conversation. Think about how you might be able to leverage videos to keep your audience engaged. Social media videos are relatively easy to post and don’t need to be highly produced, especially in an environment like this, and go a long way in keeping content varied while also showing some of your firm’s personality.
Look at your website through a client’s eyes — is it easy for them to find information related to their current needs and concerns, such as health care proxies or charities related to the pandemic? If not, consider making that critical information easier to access by adding a homepage banner that directs clients to a dedicated COVID-19 page with a message from senior management and links to resources.
3. How else can our firm help to build community?
As the pandemic continues, firms have an opportunity to go from reacting and responding to cultivating connections. People are seeking community now more than ever, and one way for advisors to add more value to their clients is by helping to provide that.