A little compassion goes a long way… any wealth managers who hadn’t grasped the business relevance of compassion pre-Covid, certainly have now.
During the pandemic the channels preferred by relationship managers to communicate with clients were severely challenged. In a world where face-to-face communication was king, the overnight switch to video and phone left many feeling that the quality of their client-advisor relationship would be compromised. Especially for anxious and fearful clients, anticipating the client service toll it would take was unsettling.
In reality, many clients have benefited from the swap. They feel less inhibited speaking on a recorded video than being in a room with an intrusive microphone, they can replay sections of the recording to relatives at their convenience, and due to travel time savings relationship managers are able to conduct more meetings.
Maybe it took a crisis to overcome objections and reveal the true benefits of electronic communication; maybe some even wish they had challenged face-to-face interactions sooner.
All clients warrant a considerate approach; some need more compassion than others. Trusted client relationships are borne from clients receiving the right kind of communication at the right time. Some need frequent communications; others with a more robust constitution, different risk profile or greater understanding of the likely impact of socio-economic factors on their portfolios, are happy with less frequent, more factual commentary.
Track sentiment to act compassionately
Relationship managers can detect clues from what customers say and do. However, depending upon their power of deduction and note-taking for sentiment-based segmentation is unreliable.
Technology, client data, AI and advanced analytics are needed to identify analyse sentiment trends and alert relationship managers to changes that require action. Has the client referred to “poor performance” in recent emails? How have they interacted with you – have they been responsive or begun ghosting you? Have they complained about slow service or inaccurate information?
“Forewarned is forearmed. Technology automatically detects signs of negative sentiment, which are flagged immediately to the relationship manager, along with links to all relevant communications”
Forewarned is forearmed. Technology automatically detects signs of negative sentiment, which are flagged immediately to the relationship manager, along with links to all relevant communications. When you know about issues before a call or meeting takes place, you can be prepared and allay concerns proactively, in one pass. Even when negative sentiment arises, you can build trust by responding quickly and appropriately, in a considerate and compassionate way, to remove fear, uncertainty and doubt.
Communicating with clients in a crisis
During the height of the pandemic, wealth managers reported that 20% of their most anxious clients were taking 80% of their time. This left little bandwidth to communicate with others who, although more optimistic about their portfolios, still expected some form of communication – even if they didn’t need a personal phone call.
Relationship managers need more time to spend with clients, and intelligence to guide conversations, which can be created as follows:
- Automating Client Lifecycle Management (CLM) processes. Using digital workflows to manage day-to-day administration and compliance, wealth managers spend less time on routine administration freeing time to communicate personally with those requiring a more compassionate approach.
- Hyper-personalising communications. Hyper-personalisation relies on intelligent analysis of a client’s needs, preferences, sentiment and intentions, extrapolated from a wide range of data sources. This is the only way you can truly personalise client service, cost-effectively and at scale. When each client is tagged according to their capacity to cope with market shocks, for example, those with greater tolerance could receive an email outlining the situation, promising regular updates and inviting them to contact you with any questions. Those with lower tolerance could receive an email promising a next day phone call, in advance of them receiving a 10% drop letter, to allay their concerns.
Naturally, the more considerate and compassionate client service is, the deeper and more trusted client relationships become. And the more trusted client relationships become, the more wealth managers will be able to compete in a world that is now characterised by a rapidly changing and uncertain outlook.
This article is an extract from our e-book 6 ways wealth managers can convert interactions into trusted client relationships. Download the full e-book via the button below.