Client Communication – Now What?

For the past several weeks, we’ve been writing about how you can best communicate with your clients during the COVID-19 pandemic and business shutdown.

By now, you should be able to check off most of these items:

  • Immediate email communication to all clients with a simple message from you and attached market commentary or another pre-written piece on dealing with market volatility.
  • Phone calls to most, if not all, clients to make sure they’re okay and to provide your own perspective.
  • Follow-on email communication with personalized content and a reminder about how to contact you while you are working remotely.
  • Other personalized communications such as Zoom, or other video calls, webinars, recorded videos.

So, what do you do next? At this point, it’s probably time to group your clients to provide more targeted communication about their most important areas of concern.

  • Business owners – Communicate which sections of the CARES Act are relevant to them. Provide your own observations, maybe in a Q & A format, on how to take advantage of these programs…or not.
  • Clients over age 70½ – Describe how the suspension of RMDs for 2020 may or may not impact them and what to do if they’ve already taken one or more RMD distributions this year. If they are using their RMD distributions for expenses, discuss whether they are able to reduce expenses temporarily. If they are making QCDs, discuss options for giving to charitable organizations.
  • Retirees and pre-retirees – Review how their retirement plans have been impacted by the market volatility and what this means for meeting their retirement income needs. Discuss what adjustments might be made to their current contribution rate or asset allocation.
  • Furloughed or other clients with immediate needs – Talk with them about how they can take advantage of some of the CARES Act provisions for using funds from their retirement plans, as well as other opportunities such as the tax filing extension, student loan payment extension.
  • Accumulators – Consider talking with them about rebalancing their investment accounts and looking for opportunities to add to their retirement savings and their children’s 529 plans. Also, they may have an interest in doing a ROTH conversion while valuations are low.
  • Prospective clients and other people you know – They may be looking for an advisor with more of a financial planning approach and particularly one who is committed to providing consistent communications. Look for opportunities to tell your story to people who need to hear it.

Perhaps you can think of client groups that I have missed. Using this targeted approach will enable you to stay in touch on matters your clients are concerned about now that we may be past the peak of the pandemic but still a long way to go before we’re back to whatever “normal” will look like going forward.

Stay safe and don’t forget to check out our COVID-19 Resource Center for helpful information we’ve gathered or written ourselves.

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