As a financial advisor, bear markets, and crises go hand in hand. Your phone is ringing off the hook, and you can hardly check your email. Take a deep breath and relax. This is where that handy crisis plan that you put together can come in handy! Don’t have a crisis communication plan, well luckily for you, we have put pen to paper and will provide you with the building blocks to create your custom crisis communication plan!
First and foremost, you need to look at the current situation and figure out what critical information you will need to get to clients. No, you do not want to send your weekly update email or a transitory communication. Instead, look to send a concise, simple and easy to understand statement about the situation, and provide your contact information. Keep to the facts and avoid adding emotion to the message, your job is to be the guiding force in the panic rather than yet another voice in the void.
Secondly, you will want to create a few standard reply emails that can be sent out quickly. You probably know the questions that you will have, and spending time to craft multiple emails that say the same thing is not worth your time. Instead, a quick standard reply and a follow up with the client by phone or email is an excellent course of action.
Third, part of your communication plan needs to be business continuity planning. If your client is looking to get ahold of you, and you are out of commission, then what? You will need to think about your current situation, but having a couple of back-up advisors that will be able to step-in would be the base. Plus, this will ensure that you keep client files up to date as if you are unavailable, your back-up will have to pick up asap.
Finally, you need to put yourself into your client’s shoes and think about what they would want to know. They want to understand what is happening with the market, and more importantly, what is happening with their money. Take some time to think about this and consider some potential planned responses and course corrections that you may need to take. It is hard to think on your feet during a crash, but if you have a plan that has done some thinking already, you will be miles ahead of the other guys.
A crisis communication plan is essential for any business to have in position before a situation unfolds. It allows you to continue to work with clients, without the need to scramble and figure out how to respond. From sending out meeting and calls agendas before a call to dealing with client communication triage, you need to be prepared. If you can remember one thing from this article, make sure it is this. For all of your communication, make sure that it is factual, concise and provides your clients with the information they are needed.