- About WFS
- Contact Us
- Client Login
Running an Advisory Firm in the middle of a PandemicSubmitted by Watters Financial Services, LLC on May 29th, 2020
Running an advisory firm in the middle of a pandemic
Running an advisory firm in the middle of a pandemic is a big challenge. The period of COVID-19 has created a tremendous amount of uncertainty, and we have had to change quickly in how we service our clients’ needs.
Originally, we kept half our staff in place and the rest working from home. Eventually, we realize that it was not safe for all of us to remain. Our paramount goal was to provide continuity of service for our clients. We kept one Advisor in the office to make sure that the mail was handled properly and to make sure the paperwork was processed effectively from the printers.
We were fortunate to have moved all our software to the cloud over the last five years. We had done this to prepare for a different type of emergency, but it came in very handy for this one. Everyone was able to work from home on a laptop. We also had all the calls transferred to one associate working from home and they routed messages via email. We also found the use of iPhones to be very handy for both dictation and for ongoing communication between associates of the firm. We also started weekly webinar staff meetings to stay connected.
We have used webinar meetings as a resource for our clients for over ten years before this crisis. They were used by clients who were out of the area or if clients wanted to schedule a quick check in meeting. Due to COVID-19, we are forced to move all meetings to be webinar meetings for the duration of the lockdown. In addition, we started using an online calendar system that would allow clients to create appointments electronically. We also focused on at all the pain points in our relationship with clients. Our goal was to work towards making a smoother process of working with the firm electronically during a time where we could not be in person with people.
Staying in touch with the clients was critically important in the beginning of the crisis. We made sure that we called every client every week for the first five weeks of the crisis. We also sent out weekly emails to everyone to keep them up to date with what is going on. We did this not just because it was the right thing to do, but also because this period is very isolating. For virtually everybody, being able to talk to or hear another perspective was soothing for clients.
We then began to schedule all client meetings as webinars. We also started to offer more family meeting for our clients to discuss their estate planning and health care planning, assisted business owners with tapping in to government programs now available and pro-bono planning for client’s adult children, since many people are out of work. It has also been a vital time for retired clients to review their monthly distributions to see if they can be modified during this time. There is much planning to do now beyond investing.
No one can tell how long this COVID-19 period will be with us. We will all be changed by it. The challenges ahead for us will be how to open an office and maintain safety for all our employees. Eventually, the challenge will be on how to open the office again to client meetings in person while maintain safety. Certainly, this period will renew all our focuses on what is important to us.
We are here to help!