Hesitant to email younger clients? Worried that a social media “follow” will invade their privacy? A leading technology company believes these methods, if done right, actually fit into the next generation’s comfort zone when seeking financial advice.
Broadridge recently released new survey data on the client-advisor relationship, which threw up some “assumption-challenging” results.
Firstly, that the majority of millennial and Gen X are open to their advisor “friending” them on social media. Pointedly, fewer than 4/10 found advisor communications engaging and even less, 3/10, found them actionable. Meanwhile, mobile matters, with 38% of millennials primarily using that method to read advisor communications.
Chris Perry, head of global solutions at Broadridge, broke the results of the survey down into three interlinked elements: that millennials want to be communicated with regularly and prefer the email channel with a click-through to dynamic content; that all age groups highly value an experienced advisor; and that everybody, millennials in particular, care about the reputation of the firm.
The email revelation was a surprise, said Perry. “In the day of Twitter, Instagram and SMS, you’d think that they’d want an SMS. But what we’ve interpreted is they want to reserve SMS for personal relationships and notifications of immediate events.”
Instead, Perry sees the advisor’s ability to connect through a warm metaphorical handshake, which can translate into a well-worded email with a click-through. Given the openness to email communication, he said advisors should be structuring their reach-outs accordingly.
He said there is a great opportunity for the advisor to be able to connect in “handshake mode” over things like a statement or a tax report, which will distinguish them from dense, hard-to-understand emails and the avalanche of direct spam mail.
“If the advisor can create a metaphorical handshake each time they connect with someone, they would really appreciate it,” Perry said. “That is a dimension we think is an opportunity.”
According to the survey, a majority of millennials (89%) and Gen X (59%) respondents are open to their financial advisor following them on one or more social media platforms. Facebook is the most preferred social media network for advisor-client engagement, with 61% of millennials, 38% of Gen X and 19% of baby boomers open to an advisor following them on the platform.
Perry said advisors have to be mindful that they are dealing the “most educated generation in history” and to avoid being condescending. If a financial professional can also navigate the social media dynamics effectively, it is a genuine and effective way to connect.
He said: “On one end of the spectrum, you’d be like ‘wow, that’s an invasion of privacy’. But the younger generations understand the dynamic around how ‘following’ and being connected are actually productive dimensions done the right way.
“If the firms are within the lines of privacy and the ‘following’ helps us ‘get you’, it’s another tool to help with the generational management to find out what’s important to these individuals.”