By: Gerelyn Terzo
Some major companies have done an about-face with their plans to return to the office sooner than later. Now that there has been a resurgence of COVID cases across the country due to the rise of the delta variant, corporate America is responding by either setting new vaccine standards or postponing the return to in-office work until a later date. For RIAS, working remotely is a paradigm shift in this traditional segment of financial services, and it is likely to stay in some capacity.
Advisory firms were given a wake-up call during the height of the pandemic that if they didn’t have their digital strategy together, they had better start right away. Now that remote work is back in vogue and hybrid models might be here to stay, advisors should know how to strike the right digital balance with client and peer relationships. In addition, with information accessible with the touch of your fingertips, it is more important than ever to avoid RIA burnout.
“Having a robust CRM platform is important in general, but it’s absolutely critical for advisory firms to succeed in any sort of partially or fully remote work model. As the central hub of an advisory firm, the best CRM solutions make it easy to access client information and automate tedious administrative tasks,” says Adrian Johnstone, co-founder and president of Practifi, a business management platform for high-performing wealth institutions.
Know Your Workflow
The first thing you’ll want to recognize is how things get done in your workplace. If there is a disconnect between what the leadership team thinks it takes and what the reality is for employees, it is setting your digital strategy up for failure.
Now that staff will potentially spend less time in the office, you’ll want to make sure that tasks and procedures are clearly defined going in, so you can recognize when you’ve hit a home run and when you’ve swung and missed. When you have successfully outlined your processes and procedures, that’s when you want to enter them into a CRM or business management platform so that the information is always accessible to relevant teams. That is precisely where Practifi’s business management platform comes into play, as it streamlines all the tools advisors need for client success in a single location.
By design, financial advisory is a paper-intensive business. There are documents associated with every step of the process, from recording account information to analyzing data to logging a phone call with a client. But you really don’t need to cut down a tree for every client transaction.
Technology has made it so that any information that you might have grown accustomed to viewing on a physical document can also be accessed electronically. In fact, paper documents become a disadvantage when everyone is not gathered at the same table to discuss the data anyway. Not to mention that advisors could face compliance issues if they take sensitive client data anywhere outside of the office environment. Storing information electronically, say in a CRM, leaves less room for error while at the same time bolstering the security and visibility of the data so that it can be viewed on-demand by the right people.
A lot has changed, but time is still money. The last thing you want to do is waste time reinventing the wheel when a task has already been completed. This is especially true if some action involves communicating with a client. By streamlining a team’s communication with clients into a CRM so that everyone is on the same page about past discussions, you can save your firm time and money instead of doing something twice and confusing the client in the interim. In fact, clients have come to expect faster response times from advisors, which is something technology lends itself to. Erin Kincheloe, co-founder of All About It Consulting, suggests adhering to a three-minute rule for client requests, even if it’s just to acknowledge that the communication was received. Digital platforms such as Practifi’s make it possible for advisors to not only access information on a dime but also deliver it to the client right away to keep them happy.