How Tech Has Helped Boost Client Service During the Pandemic
Digital tools that Edward Jones has beenrolling out over the past few months —part of a $500 million program — alreadyare helping advisors and clients overcomechallenges, including those posed by theCOVID- 19 pandemic, according to AlyssaJennings, a financial advisor at the firm.
Two tools Jennings said have proven tobe especially useful are My Priorities, agamification tool that allows current andprospective clients to rank their priorities,and Webinar Hub. The latter provides “away that I can invite clients” to virtualwebinars put on by the company’s homeoffice, she noted.
My Priorities includes a quiz in whichclients can “communicate to us what’smost important to them on their timeframe in a way that is the most accessibleto them right now,” she said. “And thenwhen we are able to talk face-to-face” inperson “or via Zoom or whatever the casemay be… we’re able to get deeper intothe conversation faster and focus reallyon what’s important to them,” she noted.
For example, Jennings described a cli-
ent couple in which the husband cited
his dream home “at the top of the list” of
his priorities after answering the tool’s
questionnaire. His wife indicated she was
surprised. But he explained that, for him,
a dream house would be a home “on a
pond with some property that the grand-
kids came to all the time” and that would
help add to all the “family memories they
That “allowed us to start planning for
building that dream home,” said Jennings.
Without that, “it may have been years
before we got to the point” in which it
came out that the home “was the most
important thing to him,” she said.
My Priorities “doesn’t replace the
conversation,” she said, it just provides
a “starting point for us as advisors [and]
it helps us narrow down what’s really
important to our clients in a way that is
approachable for them.”
Webinar Hub, meanwhile, has been
“very useful in this pandemic time period,”
Jennings explained, as it provides an easy
way to invite clients to virtual webinars
put on by the company’s home office.
“Clients have appreciated the constantcommunication, being able to hear thatinformation as it comes out, and then alsowe’re able to follow up afterwards andhave deeper conversations about what’shappening in the market” as a result ofcontent in the webinars, she said.
Before the pandemic, Edward Jonesran webinars only periodically, but thefirm started running them regularly starting in April — at first biweekly and thenmonthly, Jennings said.
Webinars also are a great way for cli-
ents to refer friends to Edward Jones advi-
sors, she said, noting some people may
be hesitant to travel to a company office
initially, but may become more comfort-
able after getting to know the company
and its advisors via the webinars.
While the tools have helped overcome thechallenge of not being able to meet in person with clients, other challenges createdby COVID- 19, such as concerns aboutemployment and health, take precedenceover their portfolios, Jennings said.
Some clients have had family memberswho have contracted the virus. One client had a family member who was inthe hospital with COVID- 19 for severalweeks. Other clients faced layoffs andfurloughs during the July–August period,while others have seen their work hoursreduced and their salaries decline sincethe start of the pandemic, she said.
“The thing that hits me every day rightnow with our clients is how much they’retrying to hold onto — how much they’rejuggling,” she said, adding: “The basket’snot big enough to hold everything they’rebeing asked to hold right now. And I can’tsolve it all. But I can be an ear for it.”—Jeff Berman
INVESTMENT ADVISOR (ISSN 1069-1731) is published monthly ALM Media, LLC, 4157 Olympic Blvd. Ste 225, Erlanger, KY 41018-3510. Periodical postage paid at Covington, KY and additional mailing offices. Subscription Rate is $79 per year.
POSTMASTER: Send all subscription orders, changes of address and correspondence to InvestmentAdvisor, PO Box 3136, Northbrook IL 60065. Allow four weeks completion of changes
NEW THIS MONTH THINKADVISOR.COM TECHCENTER LIVE EVENTS WEB EXTRAS DIRECTORIES BLOGS
FOR ALL THIS AND MORE WEB EXCLUSIVE CONTENT PLEASE VISIT THINKADVISOR.COM