Four Ways to Create an Excellent Virtual Experience for Clients

Gary Weinlein, CLU, ChFC, BFA™, Practice Consulting, Regional Director
April 9, 2019

It seems today that consumers crave convenience now more than ever. Think about how Amazon Prime has changed how we shop. From electronics to dog food, there is almost no limit to what is available with a couple clicks of the mouse, delivered right to my door, usually by the next day. Think about how Netflix has changed how we consume entertainment. Not only do we no longer go to a brick-and-mortar store to purchase or rent a movie for the weekend, we also don’t have to wait a week to watch the next episode of our favorite shows—not to mention the lack of commercials.

Given this desire for convenience, isn’t it reasonable to assume that you may have clients wishing to forgo the trip to your office (and the coordination of schedules, parking, etc.) if you gave them an alternative option? If your client values time and convenience as a high priority, adding the option to let your clients virtually come to the office for their review meeting enhances the services you’re able to deliver and could very well enhance the client experience itself.

Creating a Virtual Client Experience

As Regional Director, I regularly use conference and video technologies on both a one-on-one basis and one-on-many basis for the study groups I facilitate. Below are a few best practices that I go through on most meetings that will translate to working with your clients and providing a great experience.

1.    Send out an agenda and accompanying material. I always try to send out an agenda for the meeting either the morning of or day before. While I believe an agenda should be an important part of every meeting, an agenda in a virtual meeting is especially important for setting the right tone to the meetings and staying on task.

2.    Utilize screen share. Every broker/dealer has different rules regarding video conferencing technology, but most are okay with allowing an advisor to share their screen. Screen sharing avoids the confusion that might arise from either side not being on the same page (literally) or focusing on the wrong line, chart, number, etc., situations that can take several minutes to get back on track from and can derail much of the momentum built up to that point. Sharing your screen can also focus your audience on exactly where you want them to bring their attention. If we are working through a report or a plan, I would have generally emailed them a copy of that with the agenda I had sent earlier that morning or the prior day.

3.    Turn the camera on. I know many of us are camera shy, including myself. However, being able to see each other brings a connection to the table that would otherwise be lacking. I never make it mandatory to meet with camera on. I often just turn mine on and the other party reciprocates. Even if they do not reciprocate, there still is a benefit to having the camera on. Your audience experiences the face-to-face connection they seek in working with an advisor (even if you’re not). Being on camera also forces you to be more focused. No checking the phone, getting distracted by an email or other temptations that are present in a conference call where neither party can see each other.

4.    Practice. Don’t let the first time you implement a videoconference meeting be because your best client has retired and moved 1500 miles away. You want to be a pro when that situation arises. In some of my study groups, advisors have taken turns hosting the meeting on their conference calling software to get used to it. Most software options offer either a free trial or a free version so the upfront investment in most cases is literally nothing. Even if you do opt for the paid version, compared to other current technology platforms, this one is inexpensive by comparison. I pay for the professional version of Zoom, which is about $16 per month, and in my experience, most options are somewhere in that same ballpark.

As I travel around the country visiting advisors, I often notice other airline passengers waiting for their flights while talking to loved ones through video chat. Just as often as I see the high-tech teenagers on their newest iPhone, I also see grandparents talking to the grandkids this way. This is a technology that’s here to stay, and it has the potential to add a ton of value to client relationships through the convenience it can add to them. Consider adding this capability to your practice to improve the value you deliver to your clients.

Wealthscape Investor

Wealthscape offers a single point of access to your brokerage account information. Contact your financial advisor for information on signing up for Wealthscape. For accounts held directly at a fund company, you may also visit the fund company's website for access to your accounts.