With COVID-19 changing the way advisers can engage with clients, financial businesses are finding more human ways to bring clients in closer. It’s time to think ‘client communities’ - not just client books.

With so many digital touchpoints between advisers and their clients, it’s the human touchpoints that can prove most valuable at a time like this. Face to face contact might be out of the question, but financial advisers are finding increasingly creative ways to engage with their clients and grow their communities. Here are a few ideas to help you do the same.

6 ways to build engagement and community with your clients

  • Get together, apart

By now most of us have ticked off the Zoom quiz or trip to the virtual pub as ways to stay in touch and fill the days with our friends and families. Now businesses are also looking to maintain their connections in a more social way, virtually.

We read how one financial advice firm hosted a virtual afternoon tea for 35 clients and we’ve heard about others that have held virtual coffee breaks via Zoom or Skype, quiz nights, book clubs, and movie recommendations. It goes to show that there are so many enjoyable ways to keep client engagement alive, bring similar people together and build a sense of community.

It’s something that is really simple to orchestrate. It’s not about selling or offering financial advice (you can do that as a follow up directly if the topic comes up), just a chance to offer some human interaction - particularly good if you have vulnerable clients, living on their own.

  • Listen closely

It can be harder, even on video calls, to pick up on the subtle visual cues you normally get when you have a conversation with clients in person. Call your clients more than you would normally just for a chat. When you do, listen and let them talk. You’ll be able to pick up from their tone how they might really be feeling, whether they have any concerns, and offer suggestions or help in a personal, friendly or professional way. No pressure.

  • Be present and add value

Some of your clients might be feeling worried or anxious right now so it’s important to show them you’re there for them. Why not set up an open forum, via video conference or using a tool like Slack, and host a weekly Q&A on a topic of your choice? It’s a great way for them to ask questions, and for you to offer your expertise, suggestions and solutions while bringing everyone together in a more informal, group setting.

It is quite tempting to increase your presence on social media but unless you have the time and commitment to manage it properly, your time may be better spent elsewhere.

  • Follow your community

It is quite tempting at the moment to increase your presence on social media but unless you have the time and commitment to manage it properly, your time may be better spent elsewhere. You need to be where your community already is, rather than expecting them to come to you. Find out which channels your clients are already using and go from there. But also don't underestimate the power of a quick phone call (see improving your listening skills) or even a hand-written note. Touches like this will be appreciated far more than a few social posts and will make you stand out from the crowd.

  • Keep clients informed

If you send out a regular newsletter you might want to think about increasing the frequency from say monthly to weekly. It only needs to be simple and short and there are enough things to talk about right now - what the markets are doing, your observations, tips on working from home, advice on how people can protect themselves from the increase in scams. Scenarios and case studies also make good content and give people something to think about. Send your newsletter to your community including any professional introducer contacts, post it on your website and any other channels you’ve got.

  • Above all stay connected

Building trust and helping clients feel part of your community can be as simple as doing what you said you'd do and being there for them when they need it.

But there’s a real opportunity to help people feel more secure about their own future, build their confidence in you and gain their loyalty and trust. The need for the human touch is all too evident, especially now, and we shouldn’t let social distancing get in the way of that.

Further support

We recommend you read our article ‘Leads in a time of coronavirus’ and tips from marketing expert, Philip Calvert. There is also a regular stream of helpful articles and resources on our coronavirus hub.