Advisors are stepping up the frequency of their interactions with clients and starting to return to face-to-face meetings to accommodate growing demand from clients, according to a new survey by Edward Jones.

With investors pushing their advisors to do more than manage their assets, the need to increase the number and frequency of client interactions has grown, according to the firm. The St. Louis-based firm surveyed 200 advisors nationwide and found 76% said they have increased their engagement with clients.

Also, 38% said they have begun to use in-person meetings. 

“There are certain things that a face-to-face meeting will do that a Zoom call never will, like picking up the body language of the client,” said Jesse Abercrombie, a financial advisor at Edward Jones. “One of the best ways to really get a better understanding of what someone’s goals are and what someone's values are is really just to meet with them in person.”

Asked about client meetings, 16% said they continue to use virtual meetings, 24% said they communicate via email and 23% said they use phone calls to keep in touch with their clients.

The frequency of contact between advisors and their clients has also been increasing. About 44% of those surveyed meet with their clients monthly while 42% meet weekly, the survey said. Ten percent meet with clients a few times a month and only 4% meet with them quarterly.

A tradeoff that advisors have to consider when returning to more in-person meetings is the additional time and work those meetings involve, the firm said. Advisors will have to take the time to travel to visit a client as opposed to making the call on the computer. And while there are drawbacks, Abercrombie said the benefits outweigh the negatives.

“I would agree that advisors have a little bit more work to do now that we're meeting with clients,” he said. “Advisors are finding though that they are able to build much better value in having those in person meetings, even though it's not as efficient, but there's still a lot of value that's associated with having that meeting.”