There are so many ways to connect with Millionaire clients; the challenge is to find the preferred level and platform of communication. Do they prefer face-to-face meetings? Will an e-mail suffice over a phone call or a text? How often do they want to hear from you?
Millionaire Investors 2016: Using Social Media and Mobile Technology for Financial Decisions surveyed investors with a net worth between $1 million and $5 million (not including primary residence). The research found that these investors have high expectations of service, especially when it comes to communication. In fact, the research concluded that not having their phone calls or e-mails returned in a timely manner is the most likely reason for HNW investors to fire their financial advisor.
What is the frequency with which Millionaires wish to communicate with their financial advisor and what is their preferred method to do so? A scant few communicate with their advisor on a daily or weekly basis. They are more prone to contact their advisor either monthly or less frequently.
The largest percentage (66 percent) e-mail their advisor or financial provider, while roughly the same percentage communicate with their advisor by voice (or telephone). The third most popular method of communicating with their advisor is to send a text. Only 12 percent report that they video-chat with their advisor.
Not surprisingly, the smartphone is the preferred device with which Millionaires choose to communicate by voice or text with their financial advisor. PC/Macs are the preferred device for corresponding with a financial advisor, sending an e-mail and for the few who do it, video chatting.
Millionaire Millennials, presumably tech-savvy and who have fully assimilated mobile technology into their lives, tend to e-mail their financial advisor more frequently than do their older counterparts. Almost three-in-ten (27 percent) e-mail their financial advisor monthly, compared with 23 percent of Gen Xers, 16 percent of Baby Boomers and 12 percent of World War II generation investors. Conversely, older investors are more likely to e-mail their financial advisor or provider less frequently.
It’s not a huge number, but Millennials are also at least eight-times more likely than older Millionaires to e-mail their financial advisor or provider on a daily basis.
As to advisor-initiated contact, the largest percentage of Millionaires prefer to hear from their advisor on a quarterly basis (this does not include events of market volatility or other news events about which they may be concerned, such as the Brexit referendum or the ongoing speculation about when the Federal Reserve will further raise interest rates).
Millionaires overall are satisfied if their advisor returns their phone calls or e-mails within 24 hours. On the e-mail front, Millennials and Gen Xers indicate a little less patience. Younger investors are more likely than Baby Boomers and seniors to prefer to have their e-mails returned in either 3-5 hours. Millionaire Millennials, especially, are roughly twice as likely as older generations to want to have their e-mails returned within 6-12 hours.
What about other forms of communication? To hear Millionaires tell it, there is room for improvement. A previous Spectrem Group study, Advisor Relationships and Changing Advice Requirementsfound that almost all respondents felt that their advisor’s social media and blogs were either poor (at least 50 percent) or at best satisfactory (at least 40 percent). Seven-in-ten rated their advisor’s newsletters to be only satisfactory, not great. Face-to-face meetings, however, were rated excellent by almost 70 percent of respondents.
This research with Millionaires emphasizes the importance not just in communicating effectively, but also in establishing the right channels with which to do so. That depends on the client and it is up to you to—wait for it—communicate with them.
Top Takeaways for Advisors and Providers
· Consistent communication is key to client satisfaction. Talk to your client about how often he or she wants to hear from you as well as preferred communication channels. This should include various social media platforms they might use. Make sure that you can reach them via both their computer as well as through mobile channels such as their smartphone or tablet.
· Be prompt in returning phone calls and e-mails. It is the biggest complaint that could translate into lost clients.
· Solicit feedback on newsletters, blog posts and other original content you produce. Is it meeting their needs? What topics are they most interested in reading about?