PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 31

Sean Patton, Founding Partner,
Matthew Eickman, National Retirement
Senior Consultant, Westminster Consulting
" I think virtual meetings are certainly here to stay. I don't
know if services will [continue to] be 'digital first,' as they
have been, but I think much of it will have to do with the
comfort level of clients being willing to meet in person, and,
up until this point, that has been minimal. I think what
comes next will be driven by clients.
" I think we'll end up at some point, post-COVID, in a
hybrid meeting world, where half of the meetings will be in
person and half will be digital or virtual. That mix is how
we'll engage clients, going forward. Nothing replaces being
in person. You can't replace the collaboration and the sidetalk
that builds relationships with clients, and we certainly
want to get back to that. Again, I think a lot of what happens
next will be driven by plan sponsors.
" Virtual meetings will remain attractive in some cases.
There's a real ease of use, the ease of being able to dial in to
a Zoom call no matter where you are. It's easier to schedule
a meeting, especially if you have clients who are moving
around and traveling to meetings, as well.
" The challenges are that people still struggle with the
technology at times-you know, being muted when trying
to say something important or having your connection drop.
I also think, when everyone is not in one location working, it
can be a challenge as we try to schedule meetings. If clients
are working from home, and they are doing things-picking
up kids, or stuff that just wasn't a distraction prior to COVID
because they were at their work location-now those things
might get in the way. "
Brett Shofner, Principal, Work Plan Retire
" In my view, digital-first service is 100% here to stay. And here's
the dirty secret: Advisers would have always loved to do it this
way. I'll give you a perfect example. I have a bunch of clients
in the Denver area. We have an office there. I used to have to
go out there probably every other month, at minimum, and
I would go see a bunch of clients. Well, now, the digital-first
model makes everything simpler. In this environment, clients
don't view digital meetings as being less professional or less
of a commitment from the adviser. Our clients appreciate the
efficiency, and they like knowing they can have some meetings
without having to waste time with all the travel or small talk.
" Are you going to go to digital every day, all the time, and
never meet people? No way. If that's your strategy, that's not
going to work, because you still must have a human-centered
element to what you do. But again, the efficiency of going
digital with the very first meeting or for meetings with people
you know well-it's kind of perfect.
" Digital-first meetings with
long-time
clients will
continue to make a lot of sense. In-person meetings will be
more important in that middle ground, where the clients
don't know you as well or there has been turnover on the
committee. It's kind of like anything in life. If you're talking
to an old friend, he's going to be comfortable whether in
person or on the phone. "
Practice Leader, Qualified Plan Advisors
" The digital or virtual meetings will continue to be a critical
ingredient in advisers' plan service models, and what I
expect will happen is that the stronger advisers will not
switch to digital as a replacement for everything they were
doing before. Instead, digital meetings will allow them to
do slightly less in-person work, which will result in overall
more efficient and effective service.
" Early on in the pandemic, there was this idea-people
started throwing around the term 'low-touch economy.'
I never really bought into that, because what I started to
see from plan sponsors and from participants is that they
weren't looking for less service when we switched to remote
working and virtual conversations. They just wanted to be
talked with differently.
" What we found is that there's a desire for at least as
much service as before, and so, for those who really figured
out the technology aspect, they can supplement in-person
service with digital capabilities. I can supplement in-person
service with virtual meetings, and I can actually give my
clients 25% to 50% more service. I think that's the winning
formula for advisers, moving forward. "
Keith Huber, Leader, Participant Education
Practice, Fiduciary Plan Advisors,
A OneDigital Company
" I would say [digital meetings are here to stay for us], as long
as it's still efficient for our clients. For our firm, we would
love to continue to leverage digital client service, and we
still have the vast majority of our meetings predominantly
using Zoom. It's probably somewhere around 85% to 90% of
meetings still on Zoom, and the other 10% to 15% have only
gone back to in person at the request of the client.
" If clients aren't asking for it, and most of them aren't,
then we really don't plan on going back in person in the
same way we used to. We quickly found that we could do
the exact same level of service, a whole lot more efficiently,
by doing it on Zoom. We're in Baltimore, but so many of our
clients are down in D.C. and northern Virginia, and I'm sure
that even if you haven't spent much time there, you might
have heard just how bad the traffic can be.
" I think there's one really clear pro and one really clear con
with digital-first service. The clear pro is just the efficiency.
For those few in-person meetings that I've had recently, I felt
like I had to arrange my entire day around them. On the other
hand, for the past two years, I've done four hour-and-a-half
meetings in one day. So that's a major pro.
" The major con is that this remains a relationship
business. For our team in particular, we win and probably
keep a lot of our business because we're very personable.
We're a casual office-from how we dress to how we talk. I
think that comes through to a lot of people, but I think it's
harder to get that across over Zoom. I guess to sum it up,
I don't think there's any scenario where you can connect
better with somebody, doing it virtually. " -DJ Shaw
planadviser.com March-April 2022 | 31
http://www.planadviser.com

PLANADVISER - March/April 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of PLANADVISER - March/April 2022

A Digital Divide
Staying Power
The Prospects of Staying Virtual
Another Retention Tool
Is It Time to Let Go?
The Evolving Use of RFPs
Best Interest Reasons For a Rollover
Guaranteed Lifetime Income
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - C1
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - FC1
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - FC2
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - C2
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 1
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 2
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 3
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 4
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 5
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 6
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 7
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 8
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 9
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 10
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 11
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 12
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 13
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 14
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 15
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 16
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 17
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - A Digital Divide
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 19
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 20
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 21
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 22
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 23
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - Staying Power
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 25
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 26
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 27
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 28
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 29
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - The Prospects of Staying Virtual
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 31
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - Another Retention Tool
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 33
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - Is It Time to Let Go?
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 35
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - The Evolving Use of RFPs
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 37
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 38
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - Best Interest Reasons For a Rollover
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - Guaranteed Lifetime Income
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - C3
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - C4
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https://www.planadviserdigital.com/planadviser/july_august_2017
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