FA-IQ reached out to broker-dealers ranked on the Financial Times FT 400 list of top advisors to ask:
In a world of chatbots and near-instant delivery, do you feel that clients’ expectations for response times have changed? How do you keep up with the pressure to respond to your clients faster than before?
Nannette Nocon of Nocon & Associates in Rochester, N.Y. has been in the business for 35 years and manages $600 million.
Near-instant delivery is almost always expected by clients these days. I often feel the pressure to respond right away, so I created systems to help meet expectations. I have someone on my team check my emails throughout the day.
Because a good part of my schedule is client-facing, the assistance my team gives me makes it possible to respond to clients within eight business hours. My team is able to research information so that we can provide a comprehensive response right away.
If I am not able to respond quickly, I reply by acknowledging that I have received their email and will respond shortly. We also try to anticipate other questions that the client may be thinking about. It is said that we don’t know what we don’t know. Clients are most appreciative of advice that is comprehensive, either with the answers or the questions we help them think about.
I think that responding quickly can be analogous to tending to a customer at the service counter. If we have them wait with no one acknowledging their presence, they can get impatient and disappointed. But if we take just a moment to let the client know that we got their email, they at least know that their needs will be addressed.
Deborah Stavis of Stavis & Cohen Financial in Houston has been in business 36 years and manages $500 million.
I use the five Ds — Discern, Delegate, Dictate, Dial, Delete … and Repeat.
In a world where everything seems to be manufactured by a robot and delivered via drone, clients’ expectations for response times — even on some of the most complex matters — are elevated. The collision of cell phones, emails and texts can have you spinning with respect to how to prioritize and respond quickly.
The following is a litany of Ds that I use to save time and reduce response time. First, each day I receive scores of financial articles. By discerning among the avalanche of material received, I select five thought leaders that I follow daily and read their content religiously.
Second, I delegate, because often there might be an article that is better suited to a specialist on our team — for instance in life insurance, long-term care or taxation areas. When responding to emails, I always use dictation on my iPhone. Voice dictation is super easy, and I estimate it saves me anywhere from an hour to an hour-and-a-half per day.
Fourth, I use the delete button generously. If I am not familiar with the name of the sender, auto-delete and repeat.
Finally, I often dial a client’s number rather than commit myself to a very long email chain. Some conversations are simply better by phone.
On a phone call, I can better understand my client’s purpose and what is most important to them. Important messages are often lost in translation with emails.
You can’t really read between the lines in an email and often you can learn a lot from someone’s tone of voice. This one “D” often saves me from an email chain that may serve to waste time and create confusion rather than clarity.