Written by: Vanessa Oligino
If this is your reaction to conducting a client survey right now, you’re not the only one. We hear it all the time!
Based on what we have seen, we’d argue that down markets and times of high market volatility are actually the most important times to survey clients and here’s why. Uncertain times and turbulent markets may result in heightened fears and concerns for your clients. This is not a time to sit back and say, “we’ve trained our clients well, they know they need to stay the course and wait out the storm.” That might be true, but when emotions take over, seeds of doubt emerge.
Think about it from the client’s perspective— if you’re not feeling great about the impact of volatile markets on your investments AND your financial advisor fails to check in to understand how they can better support you at this time, what might you do next? You might you take that call from that advisor down the street who doesn’t ever seem to give up on you. Or you might ask a friend for an introduction to their advisor that they always seem to be raving about.
During turbulent markets client self-confidence takes a hit. In our experience, clients remain satisfied with their advisory relationship but when asked how they feel about their financial security, the clarity of their financial plan, their confidence in reaching their goals and their ability to control the outcome, ratings decline.
Now is not the time to ask clients if they are satisfied or assess their net promoter score. But, it is the right time to ask about their concerns, their needs and their interests.
With this insight, you can acknowledge and respond to what’s most important right now. In some cases, all it takes is a quick refresh of the financial plan to help a client connect the dots between the plan design and how it can better position them to achieve their goals. Or helping a client understand the potential impact of a down market on their portfolio. In other cases, you may need to spend more time to understand what’s driving these feelings before determining your best course of action.
Uncertain times provide an opportunity to ask a different set of questions that let your clients know that you care about them and that you’re here to support them. Don’t shy away because of a down market. Use this opportunity to engage clients in a way that seeks to build a deeper connection beyond investment performance.