Email vs. call vs. meeting with clients

Should you email clients or use some other form of communication?

In my opinion, it depends on client preferences, the nature of your communications, your strengths as a communicator, and your schedule. My thanks go to @Tbmanning who raised this issue in response to my question about email challenges for advisors.

Ask for client preferences

Ask your clients what type of communication they prefer. It’s great service to provide information in the manner they desire. Of course, if you have many phone-loving clients, this may not always be practical.

Consider the nature of the communication

The flurry of advisor phone calls during the 2008-2009 market downturn reflected the importance of “live” interactive communications about serious topics. On the other hand, you can’t get a form signed on a voice call, so send the form electronically or pull it out in person.

Play to your strengths

If you’re a smooth talker with horrible spelling, grammar, and punctuation skills, then you should favor the phone. On the other hand, if it’s hard to raise your voice above a whisper, go for written communications.

Work with your schedule

I know advisors who have 300+ clients or are so highly scheduled they can’t communicate until late at night. If you’re one of those advisors, you’ll need to favor emails or U.S. mail more than your peers.

YOUR tips?

If you have tips on picking the right form of communication, please share them in the comments.


Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici /

4 replies
  1. Charles Boinske
    Charles Boinske says:

    I have found that face to face meetings are the only consistent way to build a lasting relationship. You as much from non verbal clues as from the spoken word.

  2. Eileen Paddock
    Eileen Paddock says:

    At least 1 in 3 wealth management clients cannot hear their advisor well. More than 30% of clients over the age of 60 and half of those over the age of 85 have age-related hearing loss. But only 10-20% get hearing aids. Often, clients are embarrassed and will not admit that they have hearing loss. Hearing loss should be a factor in determining if a face-to-face meeting is a better option. For such clients, an in-person meeting may be beneficial because often they are skilled lip readers. One idea: meet face-to-face and provide a written summary for clients to take home and review. That way they can follow-up with any questions after the meeting.

    • Susan Weiner, CFA
      Susan Weiner, CFA says:

      What a great point! I wonder how many advisors are aware of hearing loss as an issue.

      You mention hearing aids. I wonder how many have them, but don’t wear them. I saw that with one family member.

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