Get up to speed with technology

Alison Steed

Alison Steed

Video conferencing facilities make it simple to keep in touch with clients, to help them when they have questions, and to provide statistics and data visually as if you were in the room with them.

However, there will be some advisers who failed to improve their technological capabilities in the first lockdown and in a second lockdown may find their clients less forgiving.

We are now eight months on from March when the first lockdown was implemented, and little has progressed in relation to the end of the pandemic.

If you are an adviser who has not embraced technology to keep in contact with your clients remotely, then things could be about to get tough.

When so many advisers are working to accommodate clients in every way possible, at all times, anything less is unlikely to be tolerated.

In the nicest possible way, those older clients who were perhaps less inclined to work with technology are going to be replaced by those of a younger generation who see this as a minimum requirement for engagement. You may also lose clients to advisers who are more tech-savvy.

That said, the challenges to helping and increasing client engagement are still very real, even with good use of technology.

Lockdown creates different pressures for many people. For example, there may be a reluctance to think about long-term financial decisions if short-term decisions are more pressing, such as when a client is furloughed or has lost their job as a result of lockdown 2.0.

This will make it hard for some advisers to continue working at the same level.

Yet getting the right tone with your communications is essential, otherwise you risk offence, or worse losing a client altogether. Lockdown is hard financially and mentally.

Some clients will want to reduce risk on their pensions and investments; others will need help releasing funds to make ends meet.

Communicating ineffectively with either of these clients could result in the feeling that their adviser does not understand their specific situation, creating reservations about how effective your advice will be.

Take the time to think about how you are communicating with your clients now, because a badly-worded email arriving in their inbox at the wrong moment could result in a lost client, regardless of how technologically advanced your IFA business is.

Alison Steed is a freelance journalist