In an industry where face to face meetings are so important, both within a firm and with clients, running an advice business remotely is inherently challenging.
Octopus has been speaking to advisers about how they operate their business from home and we wanted to share best practice we’re hearing across the country.
1. Regular and more frequent communication with clients
An obvious but important point.
Clients will have their own preferences when it comes to keeping in touch, so it’s important to find this out now and do your best to accommodate them. Your key options are video conference, email or phone. Find out what works best for your client and establish how often you’ll be touching base.
For clients who are not so tech savvy but would prefer to see a friendly face, you could even think about taking them through how to use video call solutions like Zoom or Skype.
Regarding the current climate, we’ve had lots of advisers asking us about how coronavirus is impacting our investment products, so we imagine your investors have been asking you too. We’ve created a live product update centre on our website which you can share with your clients to help keep open lines of communication and transparency.
2. Speak to providers to see how they can help
Many advisers are in frequent contact with providers for product updates and to receive any support available.
There may well be aspects of your business that run on paper that you now need to make digital friendly. For advisers and clients used to sending paper applications, for example, you might want to think about how you can still get cases over the line.
For most Octopus products you have the ability to submit online applications. This is a very straightforward process. We can also accept scanned and signed applications for all of our products if you get in touch.
Talk to providers to see what options are available so that your client’s planning isn’t put on hold.
3. Set up a home office
As for the softer tips, building a permanent work space is an important way to keep the boundaries between work and home life. Advisers tell us that having a place they can dedicate to working while at home makes a difference.
A second monitor or a supportive chair are easily overlooked but can make your working environment much more comfortable.
Thinking about your work space is also important if you’re likely to have lots of video calls and virtual meetings. Small things like a blank backdrop and the right lighting can really impact the quality of a call. Distractions in the background may well take away from what’s being said.
4. Have daily check-ins
If your business is working as a remote team, it’s a good idea to set expectations from the outset. Having consistent working hours and daily video calls will help get everyone on the same page from the get go. Miscommunication or no communication is all too easy when working remotely.
In an office setting, you often have the luxury of sitting beside your colleagues and having regular discussions with them about what’s happening and addressing roadblocks as they arise. With a digital business, these conversations have to take place online or over the phone, so it’s important to make time for them.
A bit more structure to your day and more rigid agendas on calls are helping many of the advisers we’re hearing from.
We’re working hard to build a support service for all the financial advisers we know who are working remotely. We’re hoping to have it ready in a few days. In the meantime, give us a call on 0800 316 2067 to speak to one of our Business Development Managers about how we can support you with your business while you’re working remotely.