By Leena Parwani
When the COVID-19 pandemic started a little more than a year ago, financial advisors across the globe were inundated with requests from understandably worried clients. On top of this, advisors also had to think about their employees and their own personal needs.
But by rising to the challenge of the worst global pandemic in 100 years, advisors who went above and beyond served as successful examples of how to navigate emergency situations while bolstering client loyalty.
Business Expansion And Development
One year ago, advisors began receiving a flood of calls from clients – particularly advisors like me, who work with health insurance. Amid working overtime to move my firm to a work-from-home environment and trying to stay on top of the latest government announcements, I realized a way to make my operations more efficient: I could answer the same questions multiple clients were asking all at once.
I started releasing YouTube videos to answer the most common client questions. Advisors who have not yet turned to this platform should seriously consider it for the future. A year of virtual meetings has helped clients grow accustomed to a video format, and YouTube videos can be further distributed through social media, email and text messages.
During emergency situations like COVID-19, national governments often announce major policy changes. Advisors can announce these changes to clients via their established communication channels.
For example, part of Dubai’s pandemic response was a three-month deferral on mortgage payments and interest. I used the same YouTube videos I had started making to answer questions to let clients know of this important financial relief measure.
I also made an effort to help my staff, who helped keep my firm afloat during last year’s chaos, by retaining all of my hires and teaching them new skills. Over the course of 2020, I was able to retain my staff and teach them new skills.
For example, I trained my receptionist in data entry, administrative work and customer service. By resisting the urge to cut operations during hard times, advisors can work with their staff to expand business opportunities instead of retreating into core functions.
Of course, financial advice is not the only advice clients need during emergencies. When the deferral on mortgage payments was announced in Dubai, my communications to clients included referrals to lawyers to help those who could not navigate the new rules alone. My practice also made similar referrals after Dubai suspended additional business regulations.
Providing these recommendations during stressful situations is a win-win for clients and advisors. Clients can better access the expertise they need to handle complicated or sudden regulatory or legal shifts, while advisors benefit from increased client trust and even referrals to new prospects.
Advisors can also connect clients to each other. Many advisors already do this indirectly by hosting lunches (virtual ones right now) or other get-togethers for all their clients, but they can take it further. With clients’ permission, advisors can connect clients who can directly benefit from mutual contact.
For example, last year one of my clients was looking for a packager for a food charity campaign he was running. Another of my clients was a large manufacturer of pulses and rice. I was able to connect them to each other, and my manufacturing client provided the packaging for the charity campaign on a not-for-profit basis.
Desperate times do not always call for desperate measures – at least, not from everyone. During emergencies, financial advisors can instead serve as shelters, go-betweens and teachers. The COVID-19 pandemic thankfully seems to be coming to an end, but advisors can take its lessons with them until the next crisis.
About The Author
Leena Parwani is the founder and CEO of LPH Financial Services and Icareinsure, executing personalized financial security solutions for high net worth clients in the Middle East and India. She firmly believes in the adage, “No one will care how much you know till they know how much you care.” Leena is a 7-year Top of the Table member of MDRT and has spoken at numerous industry conferences. She lives in Dubai and has been named one of the top 100 most influential women in the United Arab Emirates.