A failure to communicate is perhaps the quickest way for a financial advisor to lose a client. Telephone calls, e-mail, and of course, in-person meetings, are the most common methods by which clients communicate with their advisors. But when it comes to relationship building, face time is key. In 1990, United Airlines produced a popular commercial in which a company lost its oldest client because the firm was doing business “with a phone call and a fax.” The company’s president hands out plane tickets to his salesmen and dispatches them to “more than 200 cities” to reconnect with their clients face-to-face. More than 25 years later, video-chat is emerging as a communication channel for financial advisors to get that face-to-face time with clients who are either too busy for an in-house meeting or who have relocated. Do you offer your clients this service?
“Advisors need to promote video-chat capabilities and develop a comfort level with this service,” Spectrem President George H. Walper, Jr. states. “Wealthy investors are increasingly assimilating this technology that allows them to-conduct face-to-face meetings remotely.”
In 2014, our wealth segmentation research found that between 25 percent of investors were using the video-chat features on their smartphones, tablets and PCs/Macs multiple times during the year. Two years later, at least a majority of Affluent investors indicate they would consider using their devices to have a video chat or meeting with a financial advisor, according to Spectrem Group’s annual study, Using Social Media and Mobile Technology in Financial Decisions,
Amenability to video-chatting increases with wealth. Half of Mass Affluent investors with a net worth between $100,000 and $1 million (not including primary resident) would consider using their PC/Mac to conduct a video-chat with their advisor. This percentage increases to 54 percent for Millionaires with a net worth between $1 million and $5 million, and 61 percent of Ultra High Net Worth with a net worth between $5 million and $25 million. Tablets are the second most-popular device with which to conduct a video-chat, followed by a smartphone, and again, consideration of using these devices for this purpose increases with wealth level.
Video-chatting especially represents an opportunity to engage younger clients who are generally more tech-proficient and have assimilated their devices into their daily lives. Our research finds that Millennials comprise the largest percentage of investors who communicate via video-chat with their financial advisor on a weekly and monthly basis. This is especially the case with Ultra High Net Worth Millennials, 19 percent of whom video-chat on a weekly basis and 14 percent on a monthly basis. Across all wealth levels, in comparison to older investors, Millennials are much more likely to use their smartphone or tablet to video-chat with their advisor.
Top Takeaways For Advisors
- The digital and technology landscape has erased business hour boundaries. The ease with which investors can instantly access information on their mobile devices may translate to similar expectations in communicating with their advisor. They will demand all avenues of contact be open and available to them, and that includes video-chat.
- Regardless of wealth level, Affluent investors most prefer quarterly advisor contact. The second large percentage would opt for monthly contact from their advisor.
- In addition to e-mails and phone calls, advisors need to promote their video-chat capabilities such as Skype or Facetime as an added opportunity for face-time. While may not be currently popular with all investors, this trend will continue to grow.