Letter From The President - Text vs. Email vs. Telephone: Who Are You?

9/16/2019

Through the course of my career I have seen communications move from written hard copy documents and phone calls to email and now to text messages.  Similar to many of you, I receive several hundred emails each day…but only a limited number of text messages. The number of text messages, however, is growing...although many of those messages tend to be friends and family rather than business.  I do receive many texts, however, reminding me of professional appointments and meetings.
How are you communicating these days?  Are your professional communications via text or email?  And more importantly how are your clients communicating with you?  How do they want to communicate with you?
One of the things that I have noticed with younger associates is that they seem to prefer email or text over telephone.  Often I find myself saying, “Just pick up the phone”.  Similarly in my personal life I notice that young people are glued to their telephone and communicating in whatever manner they choose…Instagram or Snap Chat or whatever?
We recently asked investors how they prefer to communicate with their financial advisor when they have a question for our report on Communicating With Advisors and ProvidersThe answers were somewhat surprising. Why?
The largest percentage of investors prefer to communicate via telephone rather than through email or text or even face-to-face.  The preference for telephone, however, increases with age with WWII investors preferring the telephone at 69% compared to Millennials at 37%.  In fact, Millennials only slightly prefer telephone to email (37% versus 33%).  As age increases the preference for the telephone increases and the use of email decreases.
 

 
 

While it is not surprising that younger people prefer the technological method more than older investors, one of the more surprising findings was which group preferred face-to-face meetings.  As you can see in the chart above, Millennials were the most likely to prefer face-to-face meetings!
As far as texting is concerned, note that the preferences remain very low…even for Millennials.  It is our belief, however, that most investors have not texted their advisors due to the compliance constraints imposed by the advisor’s firm.  That is now starting to change as firms adapt required technology and therefore it is anticipated that the use of text will increase between advisors and investors.
So what can we learn from this?  Younger clients may want to email rather than talk on the phone.  But those younger investors still want to meet with you face-to-face...or at least more so than older investors.  And don’t forget about texting.  You need to keep up with your email habits...but maybe start to include more texting.