In times of crisis, communication is critical. So, how can you communicate more efficiently with your clients amid an unexpected and unprecedented crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic we are currently experiencing?

As we grapple both with the pandemic and what is likely to be its many aftershocks, advisory firms must take a closer look at the services and tools offered to ensure you are doing everything in your power to deliver an elevated experience. Communicating in a timely fashion via the client’s preferred method is absolutely a part of that client experience, especially with heightened anxiety levels. Finding ways to increase your availability to clients burdened with health, market, or other pandemic related concerns is a no-brainer.

The Facts
Redtail’s AdvisorComms 2019 Survey revealed that advisors are still relying primarily on traditional methods of communication with their clients and prospects. While nearly 87% of advisory firm employees reported they believe their clients want to communicate via text messages, many offices are simply unable to do so. Close to 30% of respondent firms have a “no texting” policy and 41% of respondents have not been approved by their broker-dealer to text their clients.

These are rules that, while grounded in reasonable compliance concerns, could potentially hold firms back from developing deeper client relationships, particularly at a time when your clients may need to hear from you more than ever.

The Opportunity Is Now
The case for advisor texting was strong prior to the pandemic. The next generation of clients who are amassing wealth as the main benefactors of the “Great Wealth Transfer” are expecting more from their advisors, including more consistent communication. A core component of developing more robust communication channels with these clients is really no secret at all – 90% of advisors know what it is:

Utilize Texting.
This generation of clients texts more than they use the phone or send emails. They text their friends, their parents, their children, and their colleagues. For them, it is incredibly frustrating when they can’t text their financial advisor, the person that they trust with some of their most sensitive and important information. In those situations where a text conversation makes the most sense, it is time that firms and advisors provide clients with a means of compliantly reaching out to them in this way.

Consider what was an existing need before the pandemic amplified by the current situation; you need to determine optimal uses for all available communication resources and implement them accordingly.

Seize The Opportunity
Reg BI, the ongoing industry trend of fee compression, robo-advisors…and now COVID-19. There is no end to the concerns that take up your time as an advisor. Regardless, your clients want to know exactly what they are paying for, and why they are paying for it. If your clients aren’t getting what they want, how they want it, they may not be your clients tomorrow. It’s critical for advisors to take advantage of technologies embraced by their clients to connect with them where they live. The less connected they feel, the easier it is to walk away, particularly if the disconnect occurs when the need for connection is strongest.

That said, there is no blame to be placed for the industry’s hesitation to adopt texting in the past. Many advisors and firms have been in the industry for decades and know adopting a new technology offering can pose business challenges. Still, it’s critical to adopt technologies that enjoy widespread usage if that will make your clients’ lives easier, particularly if your competitors have embraced them. And, particularly if it’s a technology that can improve your communication efforts in a time when efficient and effective communication is perhaps more important than it has ever been.

Next Steps
As advisors know very well, change can be difficult. The best way to move in the right direction is to start the conversation. Connect with firm leadership, talk to colleagues, discuss the pros and cons of implementing texting at your firm. Determine the best approach for overcoming the barriers and begin moving forward now to make texting an option for communication.

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