How to communicate with your clients during a crisis

These are uncharted times—for you, your clients and the world. However, during a crisis, your clients still need to hear from you, now more than ever. Below are some tips that experts have shared recently on how to communicate with your clients during the current coronavirus crisis.

Be proactive

A Harvard Business Review article reports that you need to communicate early and often with your key constituencies throughout a crisis. Approach the situation with empathy. Don’t wait for them to contact you. Put yourself in your clients’ shoes to understand their anxiety and reach out to let them know you understand their concerns and will work with them to address their fears.

Be honest

During a recent webinar for the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, Brock Jolly, a financial advisor, said “None of us has a crystal ball and none of us knows what the future will bring. Don’t be afraid to admit you can’t predict what will happen.” However, you are viewed as an expert on their insurance or finance needs, so make sure to provide any honest guidance they may need now.

Be flexible

You may need to adjust your form and timing of communication to your clients. The 9 a.m. phone call to your client’s office now may need to be a 7 p.m. text. Working remotely instead of in the office and more responsibilities at home require some time flexibility. Ask them about the best times to reach them during this time. The US Chamber of Commerce suggests focusing on serving your customers through digital channels like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and other instant messaging platforms, and video conferencing options through Skype or FaceTime.

Be informative

No one has all the answers, but by providing educational resources to your clients you are helping them get all the information they need.  In addition to your company information, here are some credible resources you can share with clients.

  • The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) has a consumer resource website with answers to clients’ common insurance inquiries to help them make informed decisions, including tips on naming beneficiaries and consumer insurance guides.
  • The nonprofit organization Life Happens provides information on insurance types and coverage considerations, including a Life Insurance Needs Calculator. By providing non-biased third-party information, you are being transparent with your clients, adding to your credibility of a trusted advisor.
  • In ExamOne’s agent toolkit and on the consumer website there are checklists, videos and other resources to help educate and explain the importance of life insurance and the process of applying. Timely resources include specific questions about how life insurance exams are being performed with increased safety precautions during the COVID-19 crisis.

Be there

A recent Advisor’s Edge article reminds, “Ask about their families, their neighbors, their colleagues, and their companies. There are so many people coming together, it’s no longer about how they are, it’s about how this has impacted their community.” This is the time to reinforce that you care about your clients and their families. By taking notes and asking follow-up questions, you can continue to communicate with them more regularly.

Communication is key to help gain your clients’ trust during these uncharted times. By being proactive, honest, flexible, informative, and by just “being there” you are demonstrating your commitment to them not only during this temporary crisis, but for the long-term relationship.