The next day we were set up in spare rooms and dining rooms across the Midlands. We’d had our first team Zoom and a Friday lunch pub quiz was on the cards at the virtual moneyinfo Tavern.
Despite not seeing each other or our clients in person, lockdown has largely been a positive experience for us and we’ve learnt a lot about how to adapt to new ways of working. We’ve shared our experiences with our clients and they’ve shared their approach with us too.
I’ve been so impressed by how well Financial Planning firms have adapted. Within a few short weeks they had shifted the way they do business, adopting new technologies to help deliver the very best service to clients.
Many of us held conference calls before lockdown, but now everyone switches on their video. We value the rapport we can build by face-to-face communication. Even if we can’t be in the same room, it’s good to see people’s reactions and expressions, and, if we’re lucky we get to say hello to their dog too! Here are 5 of the tech innovations we’ve seen:
Tech Innovation 1: Financial Planners are now conducting client reviews via video conference, recording and transcribing the meeting (most video conferencing apps such as Teams, Zoom, Google Meet or Goto Meeting will allow this), so they can follow up by sending a link to the recording or copy of the transcript via their client portal. It beats typing up meeting notes and saves time - as well as providing planner and client with an accurate record of discussions.
Tech Innovation 2: One of our clients came up with the novel concept of ‘self-isolating clients from their portfolio’. 24/7 access to portfolio information had been key to the service provided through their client portal but in light of market volatility they wanted to focus clients on other communications instead. They changed the dashboard of their portal and app, switching off the client’s portfolio information and focusing instead on secure messaging, sharing documents, their market commentary videos and Covid-19 blog. Clients could still access their portfolios but they weren’t front and centre when they logged in.
Tech Innovation 3: Many businesses have been running virtual client events or webinars to brief clients on the current market situation or, in the case of some of our new clients, to launch their client portal and app. Event booking through Eventbrite makes this easy to set up. It’s an effective and engaging way to reach lots of people and the ability to record the events means you can reach an even wider audience after the event.
Tech Innovation 4: There are some fantastic appointment booking tools which allow you to improve client experience. Rather than playing email or telephone tennis to tie down a date and time, these apps allow clients to see your availability and book an appointment online and they can easily be integrated into your website or client portal. Take a look at Calendly, Timely, Acuity or Appointedd if you are not already using one of these, they are cost effective and easy to implement.
Tech Innovation 5: Much of the focus for communication throughout lockdown has been around keeping clients informed. But lockdown can be a real test for your business culture and Financial Planners have not been forgetting their staff. As well as structured staff meetings and virtual quizzes we are seeing some innovative ways to keep teams talking. Encouraging random ‘what do you think of this’ video chats or just asking team members to pick a colleague for a 10 minute video chat over coffee are keeping us socialising. Just because we are physically distanced it doesn’t mean we need to become disconnected from each other.
As dawn breaks on another day in lockdown I’m looking forward to our weekly staff meeting, three video calls with clients and later a personal training class with friends on Zoom which I’m sure my German Shepherd will join in with too!
Tessa Lee is managing director of fintech and adviser support firm moneyinfo