In general, people get on with it when it comes to change.
Some of our clients have been with us for 20+ years and have always attended face to face meetings with us. Moving to virtual meetings was a significant change for them (and us).
Still, they embraced technology and as a result, have not only managed to carry on as usual, but many find this new way better/more convenient.
As a business, we are now more flexible in how we can meet clients’ needs. The big learning point was that we shouldn’t presume we know what our clients want (or that they know what they want) continuing, open, honest conversations are vital.
After all, who knows more about how to please your clients than your clients themselves?
We don’t need so much paper.
We are always thinking of ways in which we can reduce our carbon footprint and lockdown has taught us a lot.
Financial Planning companies are traditionally paper-heavy with a lot of signatures required etc.
Working from home, with limited printer access, made us revisit our processes and utilise our secure client portal. We have managed to create digital versions of almost everything, and except for third party requirements for hard copy documents, we are in a position to be close to paperless.
This can be a challenge as you need to balance your own requirements with that of third parties, but our learning point here was to concentrate of what we control and hope that we can lead by example for others.
Adopt a ‘can do’ attitude.
Whether positivity comes naturally to you or not, being open-minded to new ways of doing something is a much better starting point than focussing on all the reasons not to do/change something.
It’s far too easy to do things as you’ve always done them, but times have changed, and technology and people have changed.
Through the necessity of getting through this pandemic, we were almost forced into a ‘can do’ mindset.
We had to be able to continue to work with our clients, so solutions had to be sought. By being more open-minded and encouraging suggestions, we’ve developed new processes.
If you had asked us in January, could we work with a new client without ever meeting them face to face, we’d have undoubtedly said no.
By April, we had a full-blown process to do just that and have new clients who can vouch for us!
Short term fixes are sometimes necessary to get a particular task over the line, but we are now working towards permanent solutions.
We very much hope that this is a once in a lifetime event, but it makes sense to us to future proof the business as best as possible to ensure a seamless service to our clients can be maintained.
We hope that most of our clients will want to meet in person in future, but if not, we’re completely set up for a virtual proposition.
Disaster recovery plans always seemed short term fixes in the past, but now we know we can work remotely due to any circumstances.
Learn to spot the difference between a quick fix and a false economy.
Review and learn.
Mistakes happen. The first idea might not work out how you thought.
The key though is to learn from these mistakes and take lessons and positives from the exercise.
Errors cost businesses money, and it’s why we try to avoid them at all costs, but realistically things do occasionally go wrong. Any value that can be derived from these experience can be priceless going forward.
We have embraced a learning culture as a result.
Talking through what went wrong, why it went wrong and how to improve for next time will help guide you to excellent client outcomes.
Communication is king.
Whether between the team or with our clients, regular communication has been vital.
Reassurance that we were still there and still looking after our clients was well received.
Equally as important, inhouse, daily catch up calls kept us all sane, connected and kept things running smoothly.
Successful businesses owe their success to their people; people working collaboratively to achieve a common purpose. We may not always be able to be in the same location, but we appreciate the need to work together, and for that to happen, we have to talk more/keep in touch.
The social catch-ups were just as fun too!