As a financial advisor, it’s important to log every interaction you have with a client - whether it’s a brief email, a phone call or an entire planning meeting - all part of client relationship management (CRM) best practices.
What can be hard to decide is how much information you put in each one of these notes. On the one hand, sharing an entire wall of text can be confusing when you need to go back and reference it. On the other hand, a short sentence of, “Had financial planning meeting,” is equally unhelpful.
The principles below can help you gauge whether or not you’re putting in the right amount of information into your CRM. The next time you log an interaction with a client, stop what you’re doing and ask yourself these questions before you hit ‘save.’
C-Principles of Capturing Information
Is it Correct?
This may seem like a silly thing to point out, but the most essential question to ask is if the information recorded is valid. You can overload or skip important points, but if what is written there is not reliable information then your system is worthless.
If you can’t trust what you read in your own CRM, there’s very little point in using it at all. Check your work for accuracy, not just in facts but even in minor typos that could change the meaning of an entire sentence!
Is it Complete?
Almost as important as being correct, the next question asks if you included everything you should have. Don’t think about yourself reading this note tomorrow, think about someone you’ve never met reading about this a year from now.
Are all the pertinent details YOU would want included? Be careful of assuming information that may not be obvious to the next reader. However, this principle should be balanced with the next question…
Is it Concise?
Overloading an entry with too much data that rambles on too long is almost as bad as leaving information out. If an entry contains too much text, the next reader will be tempted to skim without reading and may miss critical information.
No need to include what you were having for lunch when the client called in unexpectedly. Keep the wording as short as possible while still meeting the criteria of being complete. In other words: include everything you NEED to, but no more.
Is it Clear?
Perhaps almost as valuable as being correct, is the importance of being clear. If the reader has to wonder what you meant in a sentence, it might as well just have the wrong information
Don’t just strive to convey the correct information, ensure that the reader can’t possibly take anything a WRONG way that would lead to misunderstanding. Again, watch for double meanings, ambiguity or incomplete information. The future reader should not have to struggle to follow your meaning.
Keep the Future in Mind
It’s easy to finish up a client interaction and dash off a quick note so it’s logged in your CRM. But will that note be helpful next week? Or in a year or more? Take two minutes to review what you wrote and ask yourself, with a fresh set of eyes, would the person who wasn’t there get everything they need to know from what I just wrote here?
By following the basic ‘C-Principles’, you can ensure that anyone who interacts with a client has the complete picture of the client’s history and can effectively assist them. Put good information into your CRM and you’ll be rewarded with informed and positive client interactions in the future.
This blog is sponsored by AdvisorEngine Inc. (“AdvisorEngine”) and Junxure, an affiliate of AdvisorEngine. The information, data and opinions in this commentary are as of the publication date, unless otherwise noted, and subject to change. This material is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered a recommendation to use AdvisorEngine or deemed to be a specific offer to sell or provide, or a specific invitation to apply for, any financial product, instrument or service that may be mentioned. AdvisorEngine makes no representations as to the accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made and will not be liable for any errors, omissions or representations. As a technology company, AdvisorEngine provides access to award-winning tools and will be compensated for providing such access. AdvisorEngine does not provide broker-dealer, custodian, investment advice or related investment services.
About Robin Zeratsky
Robin is responsible for all client-facing documentation and in-product messaging. He focuses on communication; ensuring that whatever it is we need to say is said in the most accurate, concise, and clear way possible, leaving no room for misunderstandings or ambiguity.