YCharts, an investment research, analytics, and client communications platform, announced the results of the company’s How Can Advisors Better Communicate with Clients? survey. The data revealed that financial advisors’ clients do not feel properly engaged; clients seek more personalized communications; and an advisor’s communication strategy directly impacts a client’s confidence and happiness with them.
Clients favor frequent, proactive communications
In today’s world with numerous real-time communication mediums, clients want to hear from their advisors more often. Of the more than 650 survey respondents, 64 percent said their advisor contacts them “Infrequently” or “Very Infrequently.” Of respondents who are infrequently contacted, two-thirds (66 percent) said more frequent contact would give them more confidence in their advisor’s financial plan.
Three-quarters of respondents value their advisor’s ability to anticipate their questions and contact them in advance. When asked if it is important for advisors to reach out proactively, 35 percent said they “Strongly Agree,” while 40 percent “Somewhat Agree.”
Clients want personalized, timely communication about portfolios
The $30 trillion boomer-to-millennial wealth transfer is underway and it’s become even more important for advisors to meet client needs. Seventy-five percent of clients indicated that they would like to receive updates that are personalized to them (including interesting statistics, visuals and/or articles relevant to portfolio holdings), with email being a preferred choice for 79 percent of respondents. Twenty-nine percent would welcome text messages and 26 percent favor newsletters, while 26 percent answered that they’d like to receive such updates in a face-to-face meeting.
Clients also want to hear from their advisors about finance topics outside of their own portfolio. Sixty-six percent of respondents would be interested in receiving market-related news, saving and planning tips or financial “How To’s” via email, while 44 percent are open to receiving phone calls and 31 percent would opt-in to text message updates. Only 2% of survey respondents indicated they are not interested in hearing their advisors’ perspectives.
“We’re currently in the middle of the longest bull market in history; advisor communication deficiencies over the last decade may have been forgiven due to the rising tide effect in the market,” said Sean Brown, CEO and President at YCharts. “Effectively communicating will become critical for advisors when the market turns bearish. Having a process-oriented approach to client outreach will enable advisors to better meet client needs through effective, timely communications.”
Client communication impacts advisors’ bottom line
When asked if communication style would be considered when deciding to retain their advisor, 85 percent of surveyed clients answered “yes,” and 88 percent said it would impact whether or not they would refer their advisors’ services.
Additionally, 59 percent of respondents said that “Customer Service/Communication” is one of the three most important factors to them when selecting an advisor. Rounding out the top three were a “Deep Understanding of Me and my Goals” and “Portfolio Performance.”
How can advisors take action?
Advisors who may feel that they are communicating properly and effectively may be feeling a sense of unrest. However, overhauling a communication strategy doesn’t have to be a major undertaking. For advisors wanting to communicate better with clients, YCharts has provided the following actionable recommendations to set advisors and their firms on a positive communications trajectory:
• Commit to a cadence — A new communications strategy takes consistency. To follow through on contacting clients more frequently, advisors can hold themselves accountable by defining and sticking to their desired cadence. For example, a target cadence might consist of a bi-weekly blog post, quarterly client newsletter, and sending a personalized email to several high-value clients each month.
• Create new touch points and opportunities — The status quo of advisor-client communication indicates that clients aren’t regularly engaged by their advisor. This engagement gap should be seen as a chance for advisors to differentiate themselves. By creating new touch points and staying top-of-mind with clients, advisors can easily provide a superior level of service and stand out from their peers. Clients’ increasing appetite for use of channels like text messaging and social media also creates new avenues for advisors to explore and find a channel-mix that works best for their clientele.
• Serve some clients champagne, others sparkling water — It’s unrealistic to send a personal note to every client over any period of time; however, personalized service becomes more attainable with the “champagne or sparkling water” analogy. Advisors will inevitably have clients that require more personalized attention than others. But advisors should be careful to not allow those “other clients” to slip under the radar. Make sure they feel how much they are valued, but in a more cost/time effective manner.
• Hone in on understanding your clients and their goals — Clients surveyed said that being understood, and having their goals understood, is the most important factor when selecting an advisor. When client goals and their means to achieve those goals are understood, the better equipped advisors will be to guide them along their plan to financial success and security. If advisors acutely focus on connecting with their clients, they can then explain how they support their clients’ goals, and ultimately provide a better client experience.
YCharts is dedicated to understanding and improving the ways advisors communicate with clients and prospects. By providing advisors with a solution to better develop and communicate insights, share with their peers, clients and/or prospects, YCharts continues to help advisors demonstrate their value. For more insights from the How Can Advisors Better Communicate with Clients? survey, please see the detailed report.
YCharts is an investment research platform that enables smarter investments and better client communications, serving a client base of nearly 5,000 RIAs, financial planners, and asset managers that oversee more than $750 billion in assets under management. The platform’s comprehensive data, powerful visualization tools, and advanced analytics have enabled YCharts to become a leading financial research platform, serving as a one-stop shop for equity, mutual fund, and ETF data and analysis. Industry professionals use YCharts for security research, portfolio construction, idea generation, and market monitoring. Through enhanced client communications and simplification of often complex financial topics using visuals, YCharts helps investing professionals easily demonstrate their value to clients and prospects. For more information, visit http://www.ycharts.com.