by Tony Vidler
ok…maybe it isn’t appropriate for professionals to actually send virtual hug memes. But then, maybe it is. It all depends on the relationship you have with the client doesn’t it? For some it might indeed be right….but that isn’t really the point of this article.
It is the concept of “sending virtual hugs” which is absolutely appropriate for times of crisis.
The best thing that advisers can do when the world has gone crazy and nobody really knows what to expect – but we know it generally isn’t going to be good for a while – is to change how they communicate with clients and their networks. The “how” that needs to change is at several levels.
Change the tone.
Change the frequency.
Perhaps change the medium too.
The reason for these changes is that we are not in the business of advising during crises. We are in the business of managing emotions.
We are in the reassurance business.
By that I do not mean to suggest that we are in the business of blindly reassuring clients that everything will be just fine or that markets are “having a bit of a blip”. Everything might not be fine. Actually, a lot of what we take for granted in the world might be changing permanently. For instance; “work” will probably never quite work the same way again for many. That is incredibly disconcerting and worrying for many clients.
Reassurance is not sugar-coating the unpalatable truths. It is conveying confidence that despite the unpalatable truths they will get through this.
The confidence that together communities will find ways to adapt, survive and then prosper. The confidence that this too shall pass. Providing confidence that they are not on their own.
These things matter more than generating an extra percent or 2 on a portfolio or shaving $20 a month off their budget.
Financial advisers in a time of crisis should:
Crises are by definition “not normal”. Neither should our communications to clients remain “normal”.
Don’t be afraid to shift the style to something approaching virtual hugs.