Client communication during COVID-19
Honesty and relevance in unprecedented times
As the COVID-19 global pandemic continues to affect everyone, the need for reassurance has never been more important. Households are struggling to make sense of ongoing quarantines, business closures, school closures, and social distancing.
We’re all in uncharted waters right now — there’s no playbook for how to best cope through a pandemic. As an advisor, your first instinct was probably to touch base with your clients to offer advice and reassurance. But now what? Here’s a bit of guidance to help you continue being a trusted source of support.
With social distancing our new normal, technology has never been more of an asset to your business. While in-person meetings aren’t an option currently, now is the time to embrace video. There’s a powerful psychological element in being able to see the person you’re speaking with. In fact, communication research conducted by psychologist Albert Mehrabian found that only 7 per cent of what we communicate involves the literal content of the message. The tone, intonation, and volume of our voice takes up 30 per cent, and as much as 55 per cent of communication consists of body language.*
Getting started with video chat is relatively easy, with a number of tools now available. Professional platforms used most often include Skype and WebEx. Most social platforms and smartphones also have video chat features. Here are some tips for success:
The anxiety that investors feel is ongoing and the reassurance that you can offer is invaluable. The personal touch is best. If you can’t video chat, then pick up the phone and call. If you can’t reach someone by phone, then send an email. And above all, don’t avoid your clients. If they contact you, return the call or message as soon as possible.
A regular cadence of touchpoints with your clients can strengthen your relationships. But it’s important to think about why you’re reaching out and what you plan to share. Here are some tips:
During times of economic volatility, your clients are looking to you for honest advice and direction, but it’s important to gauge how to communicate that. Some clients may need a gentle approach, while others will want you to tell it to them straight. Be prepared for tough conversations and emotional outbursts. Understand that you may be one of the few emotional release valves that your client has for letting off the frustration and fear they are likely feeling.
Remember that we’re all in this together.