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While financial advisors adjust to working from home and communicating with clients remotely, having an appropriate email auto-responder is an important step. 

Most advisors have used auto-responses to inform clients of vacations or other important information, but it’s more important than ever at a time like this, advisor coach Kim Poulin says.

“It’s an opportunity to be proactive,” says Poulin, who provides one-on-one business coaching for financial advisors through The Personal Coach.

“The emphasis you want to have is how you are adapting, and how you can still help. It’s that human element.”

The response is an opportunity to get ahead of the situation and comfort your clients in this “unprecedented” time, she says. Advisors should address the situation head on.

“We are all experiencing this, it’s not a surprise to anyone,” she says.

The response should reassure clients and convey how you have adapted your business. Instead of alerting clients that your office is closed, explain if and how you are adapting.

“I don’t like the idea of the word ‘closed’ being used at all,” says Poulin. “No financial advisor should have their office closed right now. That’s the wrong language.”

Including a human element is also important.

“We are all in this together,” says Poulin. “Advisors are encouraged to include something they are feeling, whether it be calming reassurance or the emotional side of it.”

She then recommends laying out the concrete details. Explain how clients can reach you, and an approximate time frame for when they can expect a reply.

An auto-responder is also an effective way to share information and resources, such as links to further reading or to additional assistance.

But the automatic email does not replace proper communication.

“Advisors should be doing several things to provide their clients with more information. Phone calls and constant email communication is still the most important right now,” says Poulin.

“The auto-responder is just intended to help this.”

Read more about communicating with clients during Covid-19 here.