How One Advisor Used Blueleaf to Make the Transition to Remote Client Services Seamless

4 MIN READ

There are few experiences in business that rival the reception of positive feedback from a satisfied customer. We never get tired of it, especially when that input confirms we’re on the right track. As Hannibal Smith used to say, we “love it when a plan comes together.”

Jason Park, a long-time Blueleaf customer, graciously agreed to be interviewed by our customer relationship team last month. He shared his experience with our product and the virtual client service journey that it became an integral part of. Some of his insights are shared in this article.

Financial Advisor Challenges with Digital Disorientation

Digital disorientation is not computer illiteracy. In financial services, it’s a resistance to new technology that changes an embedded institutional mindset. Traditionally, client meetings have always been done face-to-face. The pandemic forced us to reevaluate that.

Culture doesn’t change overnight. Financial advisors have been set in their ways for decades, so compelling them to do client service online has met with its fair share of resistance. Even those who adapted quickly had to be convinced it was going to be effective.

“In the past, I held virtual meetings with out of state clients,” Jason Park told us. “There was some pushback because many of them had only seen me once in person. Today, even my local clients aren’t begging me to come back to their kitchen table.”

Embracing the “New Normal” of Remote Client Service

As 2020 unfolded, restrictions on social gatherings and state-mandated stay-at-home orders limited opportunities for in-person client meetings. Jason Park was ahead of this curve and had already evolved his practice to accommodate virtual client services. Using a combination of Zoom and Blueleaf, Park’s transition was nearly seamless and enabled him to quickly embrace the “new normal” that many are still adapting to in 2021.

“People have become comfortable with remote client service,” he told us. “It almost seems like we’d be going backward if we returned to in-person meetings. Going forward, meeting face-to-face will be more of a social call to strengthen client relationships.”

Jason Park gets it. Our content team has been writing about virtual client service for months and all of our research tells us that the “old normal” is gone. Clients have become accustomed to doing business remotely, and they like it. Resistance to that is futile…and bad for business.

Remote is Better for Clients and Advisors

Jason runs a multi-advisor firm, one of the scenarios that the naysayers claim will be most disrupted in a virtual environment. Blueleaf is ahead of the curve, too, basing pricing on households rather than users.

That means advisors can quickly, easily, and cost-effectively add get advisors on the portal without having to worry about increased costs for each and every advisor. The benefit? Managers can keep a finger on the pulse of all advisor activity and accounts, accessing exactly the type of business insights needed to make decisions and grow the business.

“I use Blueleaf to track all client activity,” he shared. “I didn’t realize in the beginning how valuable that is to other advisors in my firm. By setting them up in Blueleaf, I can manage all the investment decisions and they can more effectively service their clients.”

With portfolio construction and service handled remotely, intra-firm communications between advisors and partners can be done by videoconferencing, email, or even phone calls, which are still useful in certain scenarios. Jason uses a combination of all of these to manage his firm.

Removing Boundaries to Facilitate Expansion

Remote client service removes boundaries and gives advisors the ability to expand their reach. Many firms on our platform do business in multiple states. using Blueleaf as their central reporting and communications hub. Jason’s firm, Margo Park Financial, is one of them.

“A few years ago, a good friend of mine from here in San Diego decided to relocate to Oklahoma,” Jason told us. “He found some folks down there who needed investment management and plugged me in to them. I now manage them virtually.”

Jason flew to Oklahoma when he first started taking on clients down there, so they were not what we’d classify as virtual captures, but there’s no way he could continue to manage them without virtual tools. Keep that in mind if you’re looking for a hybrid model.  

How Automation Simplified the Process

“My clients are used to getting bank statements virtually,” Jason told us. “The Blueleaf automated email works because they’ve become accustomed to getting their information that way. Clients get it every Sunday and sometimes even respond to it.”

In service situations, Jason Park will often just pull up the latest Blueleaf weekly email to a client, which he cc’s for compliance purposes. Their latest account balances are listed right there, so in many cases, he doesn’t have to go beyond that document to answer questions.

“Blueleaf is my foundation,” he said in closing. “It enhances the clients’ experience, gives me a central location to analyze their accounts, and automates reporting and communication for me. It’s really simplified things for me and helped me grow my firm.”

An Experience Your Clients Will Love.

Clients will love the service you deliver with Blueleaf’s superior client experience.

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Kevin D. Flynn is a former Head Coach at Blueleaf, founder of AdvisorScale Financial Writing, and Managing Editor at October Golf Magazine.
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