Are Virtual Meetings Here to Stay? See What Advisors’ Clients Said
How are advisors meeting with their clients these days? Are they getting back to the tried-and-true in-person meetings? Or has the convenience of a virtual call or screen-share changed the way we do business for good?
A couple of key findings from the survey: Advisors have leaned into virtual meetings since 2020 with over 70% of clients noting a shift toward this meeting format. Outside of scheduled meetings, clients largely prefer to stay informed via email or phone calls, though text messages are growing in popularity.
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Virtual and Digital Communication Trends Accelerate
Advisor communication styles have shifted drastically since YCharts’ last survey from 2019. As of December 2022, 51.7% of clients surveyed meet with their advisor both virtually and in person, which is up from 38.2% pre-pandemic. Meanwhile, the mix of advisors and clients meeting striclty in-person has fallen to just 28%. An uptick in virtual meetings, which cut down on travel time and costs, seem like a worthwhile tactic for advisors wanting to scale their business. But as our survey revealed, it’s important to strike a balance between the quality and quantity of client touch points.
Additionally, responses indicate that Wirehouse advisors are prioritizing in-person meetings more than their Broker-Dealer and independent advisor counterparts, who are more likely to favor a hybrid or virtual-only approach.
Outside of scheduled meetings, email is still clients’ most preferred method of communication—73% like to receive updates from their advisor via email, which is actually up from 66% compared to YCharts’ 2019 survey. Seeing a similar boost post-pandemic, 35% of surveyed clients are open to text message updates from their advisor, compared to 31% a few years ago.
“Old school” phone calls were also a popular medium with 45% of clients indicating a strong preference toward a real-time (but audio-only) conversation. Newsletters, blogs, and social media outlets trailed significantly with none gathering more than 10% of client responses. Clients we surveyed clearly prefer a more personal touch compared to general updates posted online.