While it can seem daunting for advisors to make changes geared toward scaling their businesses, some simple changes can immediately add value to a practice. One tool that saves advisors time and improves the satisfaction level of clients and prospects is texting. Clear communication channels are a fundamental part of building strong, trusting relationships, and texting offers advisors one of the easiest and quickest inroads to improving communication efforts.
Because texting still lags behind other more widely used communication tools within the industry, and because there are rules/regulations and dos and don’ts associated with texting that firms aren’t yet up-to-speed with, advisors are often reticent to use the technology. However, once offices find a compliant means of addressing these concerns and incorporate a texting platform, there are three ways texting can improve efficiencies and client experience to help advisors grow their practices.
Appointment and event texts
One of the main reasons advisors use technology to assist with the management of their practice is to create efficiencies that allow them to spend more time directly interacting with clients and less time performing administrative tasks. Yet, most offices still aren’t using texting as their preferred method of sending reminders about upcoming appointments, even though time freed up in the back-and-forth surrounding meetings is time that could be available for other client service-related activities.
In-person meetings are an important source of revenue growth for advisors and thus a critical part of their business. So, what are the biggest challenges here texting can help alleviate? With everyone’s busy schedules and workdays, many people prefer a quick text to confirm an appointment, rather than a phone call. Whether it’s sending reminders to prevent no-shows, or sharing updates about a date/time/venue change, texting is the most efficient way to promptly get the necessary information to those who need it (and to be confident they’ll see it). According to several studies, 90% of text messages are read within three minutes of delivery (contrasted with only 20% of emails being opened at all, regardless of time frame).
Simply put, appointment/event management efficiencies improve with texting versus similar efforts where email or phone calls are used.
When a busy advisory practice offers texting to clients as another way to communicate, they immediately become much more accessible for quick questions that don’t necessarily require in-depth conversations.
Consider a simple question from a client such as “Did I take a distribution on my IRA yet this year?” The advisor may be able to answer this immediately with a one-word answer via text. Handling the same type of inquiry via phone will take, at a minimum, several minutes, as basic phone etiquette dictates a conventional exchange of pleasantries bracketing the primary purpose of the call. When advisors can streamline conversations such as these via texting, they are, in effect, freeing up availability for conversations that require a phone call or a face-to-face.
Efficiencies are huge in terms of growing an advisor’s business. But, if the generally accepted wisdom is true that it costs at least five times as much to acquire a new client as it does to retain an existing one, advisors should also look at how they might use texting to improve relationships with existing clients by connecting on a more personal level.
This might mean something as simple as sending birthday or anniversary wishes via text. It’s impossible to time delivery on a birthday wish left on a voicemail or sent through email, snail mail or Facebook. But, if you know when they exit the gym from their morning workout, you can spring top of mind with your well wishes at a time when they are likely to be feeling good about themselves already. Little things like this add up.
Texting is also an excellent tool for following up on non-business-related items from previous conversations. When used in an organic fashion like this, texting shows clients the advisor values the relationship.
The perceptions clients and prospects form about an advisor play an integral role, ultimately, in the growth and value of an advisor’s business. Incorporating texting can help shape those perceptions in positive ways, because the messaging can be routed to the recipients at the precise moment they need to see it. This may seem like a small thing, but, if timing is everything, texting may be the tool advisors are not using to grow their business that they absolutely should be.
Dusty Russell is a relationship manager at Redtail Technology