What Does Good Client Communication Mean?

Clients want to be a name, not just an account number.  They realize you can’t be thinking about them all the time, but they want to know you are paying attention.  Being responsive to their requests is important, but outbound communication really lets them know you are paying attention.

  1. Annual review.  Every client should get one.  It’s a report card, like you got in school.  It shows you are accountable, not merely suggesting ideas.  It focuses their attention, allowing you to talk about the big picture.  You can learn about changes in their life.
  2. What’s their preferred communication channel?  Ideally you want a channel that gets the best and fastest response from them.  In person meetings are ideal, however video calls and phone calls might be the best substitute, especially during the pandemic.  Texting, e-mails, surface mail and social media messaging are other channels
  3. Monthly calls. Ideally your clientele is a manageable size, allowing you to speak with each client at least monthly.  This can be can be an informal review, a reminder about retirement plan contributions or mandatory withdrawals or some other purpose.  They shouldn’t merely be “checking in” calls.  The ideal outcome is the client associates learning something new with every call they get from you.
  4. Unexpected calls.  The stock market had a bad day.  It’s all over the TV news.  You call clients to let them know why the market dipped and to listen to their comments.  They might appreciate the “hand holding” but they might suggest this is the time to buy.  The fact you made the call lets them know you are paying attention.  You might not be able to call all your clients, but you know which ones really need that call.
  5. Invitations to events.  Years ago, a client with a winter home in Florida remarked they get invites to seminars held by local advisors.  “I’m a (firm) client.  Does that mean I can go if I want?”  Clients like invitations.  It makes them feel special.  This paves the way for client/prospect dinners or talks on the state of the market that you organize.
  6. Your eNewsletter.  A local advisor sends their newsletter out weekly.  I really like it.  The first paragraph explains what the market did last week and why.  It keeps their name in front of me at least once a week.  Your eNewsletter should do the same.
  7. Relevant articles.  I used to do this all the time.  I would clip an article from the WSJ and mail it to a client owning that stock.  “Thought you might find this article interesting.”  There’s something magical about an irregularly shaped clipping and a short, handwritten note that makes someone feel special.
  8. Anticipating needs.  The client lets you know they are going on vacation.  You call them back, letting them know their debit card will work in the countries they are visiting, because you anticipated the need.  They never thought of that!  Reminders about retirement plan distributions or withdrawals are another way of anticipating needs.
  9. Birthday and anniversary greetings.  These are simple to do, yet make an impact.  As we get older, fewer and fewer people make a fuss about our birthdays and other major milestones.  Be someone who does.
  10. Holiday cards or a gift.  Sending something in December keeps you top of mind.  People often display cards they’ve received.  Other people pick them up, asking who sent it.  They tell your story.  Small gifts work well too.

You might not do everything on this list, but by doing some items, you stay top of mind.

Related: The CPI Isn’t the Only Inflation Index Out There