In a world of technology investment apps, the human touch is a critical differentiator for financial advisors seeking to keep current clients happy and earn new business. Research proves clients want real, person-to-person communication that apps can’t provide. The Spectrem Group reports that 57% of Millennials and GenXers say it’s important that their advisor calls them regularly, and 87% of Gen Xers expect advisors to respond promptly to inquiries and questions, as do 58% of millennials.
And yet, robo-advisors remain a real threat, especially when it comes to next-generation investors. PricewaterhouseCoopers estimates $30 trillion will be passed down to new wealth inheritors by 2020, the vast majority of whom won’t stick with their parents’ advisors. According to wealth management strategist April Rudin of The Rudin Group, a whopping 98% of heirs change advisors soon after receiving their inheritance.
Whether next-gen investors are tempted by cost-effective robo-advisors or good old-fashioned human competition, the risk of losing new inheritors is real. So, how do you separate yourself from the pack and keep the clients you’ve worked so hard to earn? By building trust—and luckily, little everyday actions can help create meaningful connections and show clients the value of your service. Here are five you can implement today!
Communicate with gratitude.
Whether in person or over the phone, make the most of every exchange by using appreciative language, listening, and getting to know your clients. Follow your client’s lead: If they’re up for a little friendly chitchat, engage them and take advantage of the opportunity to build rapport, and if they’re more down-to-business, use the opportunity to showcase your expertise. Regardless of where your conversations take you, aim to express gratitude. The words “thank you” never go out of style!
Build a repeatable process.
After a phone call or meeting with a client, a follow-up email is a good opportunity to reiterate information and make sure your client is heading in the right direction. Forget to mention a bit of helpful info during your conversation? Include it in your follow-up. Don’t have anything specific to relay? Send a thank-you email anyway—or even a personal card! A simple “It was great to talk to you” goes a long way.
Customize and connect.
When’s the last time you received a handwritten note in the mail? It’s rare these days—and that’s what makes it so special. Mailing personalized messages to clients is an easy and inexpensive way to show you care. Try sending a card to commemorate a client’s service anniversary or birthday, or simply to say, “Thank you for your partnership.” Try keeping a stack of cards and stamps handy and set aside time to pen a few notes each week.
Create an exceptional experience.
Every time a client calls, you have the opportunity to enrich a relationship. And for potential clients, that first call is critical: According to Invoca’s report, The State of the Mobile Experience, 74% of callers will move on to another business after one bad phone experience. With all the time you spend networking and all the money you invest in marketing to get your name out there, you surely don’t want to make a poor impression when an important client calls. Next-gen investors are looking for responsiveness that your trusty voicemail can’t deliver—but, of course, you can’t always be available to pick up the phone. A virtual receptionist service is an affordable solution that ensures every call is answered by a friendly professional. Even if you have a dedicated in-house receptionist, a virtual receptionist service can be a great safety net, providing overflow phone coverage as well as coverage during breaks, vacations, emergencies—whenever you need a hand!
Set yourself apart with a virtual receptionist.
Financial advisors often find that leveraging a virtual receptionist helps give that human touch clients are looking for. For Bob Pedrick, Executive Vice President at Chartered Advisory Group, virtual reception has proven an invaluable asset. Pedrick says his virtual receptionist service “brings extraordinary value and efficiency to our practice. When our clients call, a super nice person—not a machine—answers the phone and is able to connect that client to us no matter where we are.”