Don't underestimate value of face-to-face interaction, poll suggests

Contrary to what you may think, clients most want to interact with their advisors in one-on-one settings.

There's likely never been an easier time for people to stay in touch with one another. From texting to calling, Facebook to Twitter, means of communication are as plentiful as ever.

At the same time, though, nothing replaces face-to-face interaction, whether with loved ones or clients, based on the results of a newly released study.

When it comes to the way in which Americans like to interact with their financial advisors, in-person is the heavy favorite, according to a recent poll conducted by financial services firm John Hancock. Respondents preferred face-to-face dealings more than phone calls and emails, second and third, respectively in communication methods they preferred.

The same is true for those who want to improve their relationships, something that every financial advisor should be aiming for. Nearly one-third - 31 percent - of advisees said in-person correspondence was the best way to take a relationship to the next step in terms of comfort and rapport, the poll revealed.

Social media is a way to communicate with clients, but it shouldn't replace face-to-face interaction. Social media is a way to communicate with clients, but it shouldn't replace face-to-face interaction.

Social media highly popular
The findings come in the wake of a recent separate survey, which found the extent to which financial professionals are using social networking for communications purposes with clients. North of 80 percent said they use social media for business-related purposes, LIMRA reported.

Social media use is even more common among financial services companies. Three years ago, as an example, 90 percent of financial firms used websites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to grow, according to another study done in 2013 by LIMRA. For example, among frequent Twitter users, 60 percent said their main purpose was to enhance brand identity. The same was true for users of YouTube, only to a larger extent with 83 percent saying brand awareness was their primary objective.

By definition, advisors are experts in their fields, offering tips and tricks on how advisees can make their money work for them, not the other way around. Americans enlist their services for this very purpose. However, most like to think that they're working in concert with their advisors rather than, "taking what they're giving." Almost three-quarters of respondents said their financial decisions were made in partnership with their advisors, according to the survey's findings. Less than 1 in 5 - 18 percent - indicated they did with their money whatever their advisor recommended was the best thing.

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