Financial Advisers and Virtual Offices: Why Your Clients Would Prefer To Work In A Virtual World
If you have not realized by now, the world has drastically shifted to a digital and virtual reality. Pedestrians no longer have to hail a cab or call a hotel to make a reservation. They can simply order an Uber or book an AirBnB on their smartphones.
While many service industries have been quick to adopt and adapt to this shift in consumer demand, the financial services industry has been a little on the slower side. However, the financial industry has certainly come a long way. You can trade stocks and even cash checks directly from your phone.
So if you happen to be a financial advisor, it is time for you to shift your perception as well. Your clients are working in a virtual world and they would definitely prefer to work with you in a virtual world as well.
In Person Is Often a Hassle
In person meetings are becoming less and less common. If you havenâ€™t been out on the job market recently, you may be surprised to know that a handful of interviews actually take place on Skype. It is simply easier for a currently employed professional to schedule an interview with an employer remotely.
Even our healthcare appointments are switching over to a virtual format. Telehealth is an up-and-coming way for patients to have an appointment with their doctor from the comfort of their own home. It is a welcome convenience for patients to avoid the cesspool that is waiting rooms and instead virtually visit with their physician.
Even this writer knows firsthand how unimportant in-person meetings are when it comes to services. I never met my lender in-person until the day we closed on our house. The fact of the matter is that with all of the technology available at our fingertips, in-person meetings are just not necessary anymore. They can actually be a hassle if you are commuting in a large city or across far distances.
Your Business Hours Are Their Business Hours
Another reason your clients prefer to work with you in a virtual world is due to your business hours. Chances are, your financial advisory office is open from some range of 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. It just so happens that those same hours are probably the work hours for your clients.
Your clients do not have the time to meet with you during your business hours because they have to work too. If they didnâ€™t work, they obviously would have no finances that needed advising.
The Virtual World is Often Faster
Along with convenience, the virtual world is just flat out faster. It is much easier for your clients to scan and email necessary documents to you, rather than printing them out and either hand-delivering or mailing them.
Along the same lines are the meetings. As mentioned earlier it is more convenient for your clients to meet with your virtually. For brief communications, your chances of reaching them through email are vastly greater than your chances of scheduling them for a 30 minute meeting.
Documents can now be sent and signed through electronic services such as DocuSign. So if you are expecting your client to come in and sign a few documents allowing you to make stock trades on their behalf, you can expect to wait. With an electronic document delivery service, youâ€™ll probably have a response within the hour, allowing you to move on to your next client.
Ideas Come When You Are Least Expecting Them
Weâ€™ve all heard the great anecdotal story of Archimedes screaming â€śEureka!â€ť while sitting in the bathtub. While the validity of that story is in question, it serves to point out an important piece of information; ideas come to you when you are not expecting them to. This is why so many great ideas start out as a napkin sketch and why so many creative people keep a notepad next to their bed.
Just because you are working during a set time of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., does not mean you will have your best ideas come to you then. The same holds true for your clients. They may make decisions at the least convenient business time but a virtual world allows them to communicate that decision at any point in time. They can send you an email or shoot you a quick text so that you can handle it the first thing the next morning.
Implications for Your Company
In a virtual world, there are certain implications for your company. As a financial services company, this first implies the need for the best security available. Your clientsâ€™ private information and confidentiality should be of utmost importance. Invest in secure servers and other forms of identity protection.
It also means that you must be open to using multiple channels of communication. This could include email, phone, text messaging, social media, website forms, Skype, and more. One of the positive implications for your firm is the lowered necessity for an established office. You can easily opt for a shared space that provides a communal conference room or work entirely remotely. This can help decrease your office rent which helps reduce your operating expenses.
Regardless of it you choose to move offices or not, it is important that you start gearing up your financial advisory firm for a virtual world. After all, your next wave of clients are already living in a virtual world and they wonâ€™t be leaving anytime soon.
About the author:
Andrew Fujii is a marketing professional with expertise in digital/web and content marketing. He is also a copywriter for multiple agencies producing copy for blogs, articles, websites, product packaging, mobile apps, and more. Google Plus, LinkedIn