The more you communicate with investors, the happier they are and the more satisfied they are with your service.
Simple enough, right?
Except communication is not that simple anymore. Yes, communication is easier today than in the past, assuming the person you want to communicate with has a smartphone with them at all times. But anyone suggesting communication is simple today is fooling themselves.
Research shows that American consumers have added stress in their lives because they have so many choices for every purchase they make. Investors have the same problem when it comes to communication with their advisors, because there are just so many methods they can use to perform the task.
What’s funny is that they have much fewer choices when it comes to completing the task.
It is still possible to write a letter, although no one does that anymore. Telephone calls are still common, although an entire generation has moved away from that form of communication, for the most part. E-mail for personal use is almost 25 years old, but is still very popular among most Americans.
But e-mail has been replaced for many citizens by texting, thanks to the invention of the cellphone. In between, someone invented social media and it became clear that users could be located easily and then “talked’’ to via those platforms.
That’s a lot of ways for an inquiring investor to get in touch with his or her financial advisor. And an advisor has to monitor all of those options to ensure they receive all the communication aimed for them.
This diversity of method causes financial advisors and providers to monitor their cellphones, computers and office phones systematically and continually in order to make sure they are responding to all information requests. Or have someone do it for them.
Add to that pressure the fact that many investors want near-immediate response to inquiries, and you have a recipe for communication confusion and conflict.
Spectrem’s annual examination of investor communication preferences, Communicating with Advisors and Providers, examines the preferred communication methods of investors, as well as their preferred manner of reaching their advisor in a hurry. Advisors quickly learn by reading the study that there are no simple answers to how best to communicate with investors, for whom communication is a roulette wheel of choices.
In terms of habitual communication, which for the purposes of the study means at least once a month, 30 percent of investors speak to their advisor by phone, 30 percent e-mail their advisor and 14 percent communicate with their advisor via text. Percentages for regular communication via social media networks like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are much lower.
The research shows that retired investors almost exclusively communicate via voice or e-mail. At the same time, Millennials eschew making phone calls unless the communication is an emergency.
Have you discussed with your clients the method they prefer to use for communication, and are you prepared to handle all of the possible answers you will hear?
©2019 Spectrem Group