Editor’s Note: Like just about anything we do in business (or life for that matter), a little planning makes the road easier to travel. In the realm of communications, from marketing to customer service and crisis management, a plan is not a luxury. Ms. Mosher addresses the hub of communications needs in her article – and especially weaving it into the fabric of our business relationship with clients. Do take note that she not only advises on how to setup your plan but also reminds that tracking the results of those communications will fine-tune the plan and improve the opportunity for success.
Research tells us that one of the most common reasons for clients jumping ship to a new advisor is due to lack of communication; yet many firms don’t have a formal communication plan in place.
The number of ways to communicate with clients has transformed over the past decade – from a traditional mailing or phone call, to email, social media, audio recordings, and other virtual communication methods. With many different options available, one would think communicating has become easier. In retrospect, the challenge lies in determining which method or channel is best and how often to communicate with clients.
Advisors who have taken time to survey clients and prospects find a mix of communication preferences specifically between differing generations. Baby Boomers may prefer traditional mail while Gen X and Gen Y often prefer a tech savvy approach to communication.
Client communication is a key component in your business and marketing plan. A solid communication strategy will increase:
- Client retention
- Client satisfaction
Creating a successful communication plan will enhance client relationships provided you determine what communication methods clients prefer and expect versus methods that are easiest for your firm.
Successful advisors have a communication process in place to strengthen relationships, provide valuable information based on client needs, and follow the communication preferences of clients and prospects.
Providing newsletters and market updates on a regular basis is a good practice and can typically be shared with your entire client database. To create stronger relationships and gain trust and credibility, provide targeted information based on client needs and through the communication channel of their choice.
Here are five ways you can improve your client communication plan:
1) Survey your clients: Determine your clients preferred method of communication by providing a menu of options of what you can provide – mail, email, group conference calls, podcasts, social media, etc.
2) Pinpoint client needs: Provide educational material based on the needs of your clients and prospects. Generalized information is acceptable; however, understanding the challenges clients are facing and then providing them with specific and valuable information in relation to their challenges will position you as a go-to-advisor and increase your referral pipeline.
3) Create a communication calendar: Identify the type of information you will deliver, example: newsletters, market calls, and educational articles based on need. Provide updates to clients via their communication preference.
4) Track email opens and clicks: Most email programs will provide data to determine what percentage of your emails are being opened. Resend your email to those clients or prospects that did not open the email after a 72-hour period. Tip - review your subject line and modify it to grab their attention.
5) Talk to your clients: Take time to simply find out how things are going. Allow time for clients to ask questions and get to know them outside of “portfolio review time.”