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Incoming email on phone from financial advisor

It is estimated that in 2021 10% of Canadians will leave their financial advisors (1). With the disruptive wave of Robo-Advisors entering the market, financial planners must demonstrate the value of their services outside of portfolio construction to keep customers coming back.

Like many advisors, you’ve probably changed the way you are communicating with your clients recently. But what’s the right balance of virtual versus in-person? How often should you contact them?

Here are our top tips for improving client retention through better communication.

Personalization as standard

One of the simplest and most effective ways to do this is to send clients personalized updates about their unique financial situation. A study conducted by Y-Charts surveying over 650 Advisors unveiled several key insights regarding communication and client satisfaction.

  • 75% of respondents indicated that they want their advisor to send updates that are personalized to them.
  • 90% of investors said that they would consider communication style and frequency when referring their advisor to family and friends.
  • Only 2% of respondents said that they were not interested in hearing about their advisors' perspectives.

For Portfolio updates, most investors (79%) still prefer to be contacted through email. Only 26% want to have a phone or face-to-face conversation for these updates.

Client preferences are varied when it comes to their asset managers' perspectives on the market and economic factors, or advice relating to their own financial goals. 66% wanted to be contacted by email, 44% by phone call and 39% want a face-to-face conversation.

Source: How Can Advisors Better
Communicate With Clients, Y Charts, December 2020

Understand Your Clients Preferred Medium

When going through a Know Your Customer (KYC) form ask clients how they would like to be contacted and record their preferred means of communication within your CRM. Clients expect to be able to reach their advisors on their own terms. This varies greatly across generations and person to person. For example, 54% of HNW millennial wealth clients expect financial advisors to be accessible on LinkedIn and Twitter (3).

Utilize New Communication Tools

A survey conducted by J.D. Power survey reported that 73% of Americans said they had adopted online meeting platforms as a means of regular communication. In contrast, only 12% reported having conversations with their asset managers through these tools (4). Allowing clients to book meetings in your calendar for virtual meetings can allow advisors to have face-to-face conversations with more clients, more often.

In contrast to those findings, J.D. Power found in its latest study that financial advisors did not take advantage of the technology available to them to communicate with clients; instead, they relied on their telephones and email. Nearly three-fourths of respondents (71%) that work with an advisor said they had been in contact by phone, while 55% said they contacted their advisor by email. Just 12% said they had engaged with their advisor by video conferencing.

Video Conferencing is here to stay. Smart Asset found that 48% of advisors now regularly use video conferencing calls; up from 2% before the pandemic. Virtual communication broadens the pool of potential prospects outside the advisors' immediate geography.

Increased Communication Frequency

To ensure that you are in the top percentage for client satisfaction, here is a sample workflow for a new client.

1. Monthly reminders to send clients an update of their portfolio performance through text or email. Using a tool like Calendly can allow you to extend an optional invitation to discuss the results with them.

2. Quarterly reminders to schedule their personal finance review. Give clients the option of meeting face to face or virtually.

The frequency of communication has clearly been shown to impact clients' overall satisfaction with their advisors. Managing this cadence diligently within the first two years is particularly important as 20% of clients leave within the first year and 25% leave the year after.

Source 6, E*TRADE Advisor Services analysis of 180 RIA clients, 201F

Financial advisors ultimately need to listen to their customers, take note of their preferences, and adapt their communications style and frequency. The value comes through providing personalized and timely recommendations as they move through their financial life stages. Your clients want to hear from you more often than you’d think.

If you are interested in using a centralized CRM to organize your customer communications, take a look at our CRM for Financial Advisors.


Sources:

1. Canadian Investor Survey, Finder.com, 2021

2. How Advisors Can Better Communicate With Clients, Y Charts, 2019

3. Gen Y Investor Insights: Millennial Millionaires in the Making Ameritrade, 2015,

4. Canada Wealth Management Services Satisfaction Studies Platform, JD Power, 2020

6. How COVID-19 Has Changed Financial Advisor and Client Communications, Smart Asset, 2021

5. Canadian Wealth Management Services Study, E-Trade, 2020

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