Coronavirus  

Providers must 'step forward' during crisis

Providers must 'step forward' during crisis

Providers and advisers have been urged to step forward during the pandemic and give even better service to the end consumer. 

This was the consensus of a panel discussion hosted by Financial Adviser during a webinar entitled 'What Does Great Service Look Like?'

During the panel session, Isobel Langton, chief executive of UK intermediary for Royal London, said providers had a duty to stick with advisers and clients even more closely during tough times such as the global pandemic.

She said now more than ever advisers and providers needed to be seen and communicating with their customers. 

"It feels this is the time to step forward. It is not the time for us to make excuses. 

"I have a friend who is a safari guide in Africa and at the point you walk into trouble, this is not the point I would expect him to say 'sorry guys, you're on your own'. 

"Yes it might be a bit of a wilderness right now, but we can help people navigate through this and work together with advisers."

Elspeth Rothwell, chief executive of Vested, said: "People need service to be even better at times such as this. Certainly the conversations I have been having over the past few weeks have been exactly this.

"The worst thing you can do at times like this is to go quiet."

According to Simon Harrington, senior policy adviser at adviser trade body Pimfa, feedback from firms has been that the past four weeks have been busier than ever for members. 

"It's at this point in particular that clients do appreciate getting that phone call, do appreciate getting the reassurance that they want from their adviser more than anything in the world.

"Yes, people may expect a little disruption given the current context, but in terms of the service offering, they still expect the same level of service."

Also during the webinar, the question of cost arose - and whether good service is worth paying more for. 

Ms Langton said: "One thing is for sure - bad customer service costs you money; good customer service saves you money."

She said it was important that providers look for ways to deliver better service to the end consumer while keeping costs down. 

"For me it is all about transparency", Ms Rothwell added. "People need to know what they are paying for."

To watch the full webinar on demand, click here.

Also, on June 8 the Financial Adviser Service Awards voting forms will start going out with copies of Financial Adviser and online on FTAdviser.com.

This is your chance to vote for those providers across pensions, protection, investment, mortgages, platforms, support services and discretionary fund management whose service you believe has been exemplary. 

Our FASAs are now in their 30th year, and details of our awards celebration will shortly be appearing in print and online when voting opens on June 8.