Goodbye 2020. Hello 2021.
Ok I know it’s been awhile since I wrote the last blog. I think we were all trying to make sense of what happened in 2020. It seems like the world has changed around us but somehow nothing really changed.
For most of us, our platform of communication has changed – many are working or attending class remotely - others are attending social gathers as a virtual experience. For some, the business travel restriction led to more time with family and a slower pace – without losing productivity, even gaining productivity in certain areas. Unfortunately, people lost jobs and struggled. Some, though, got promotions and thrived. The world changed around us but at the end of the day, we’re still working, attending class, volunteering, helping family and fulfilling other obligations. What is certain, each person’s/family’s experience with Covid has been unique.
Personally, repurposing my time that I had planned for holiday to accelerate my MBA coursework wound up being a blessing in disguise (wife may not agree – she was looking forward to summer vacation). Not going out for lunch everyday and dinner every weekend allowed us to save more and eat healthier (again, wife may not agree as she does most of the cooking including packing my lunch everyday).
Professionally, my team and I had been traditional in our methods of client interaction: In-person or phone were the options. I remember a client asking me about a year and a half ago if we could do an appointment via Zoom. He was busy and didn’t have time to drive across town. At the time I just dismissed it, “No we don’t have the capability to do a Zoom. We can reschedule or I can call you.” He griped for a second then accepted my response (Kyle, you were ahead of your time and my apologies!). A short couple months after that, we were meeting with nearly every client virtually. For the last several months, we’ve barely seen a client in-person. With the rollout of vaccines and infection levels decreasing, we’re likely to resume some normal interaction with in-person meetings.
My question is this: What do you prefer? How has this changed their preferred mode of interaction?
Continuing with the thread of client preferences, we sent out a survey last year on the topic of client events. The results surprised us! We had assumed that many clients would prefer an entertainment-based activity such as a ball game, concert, etc. While some may enjoy this some of the time, most clients were more interested in educational based events.
The message was clear: Clients seek advice. So, we rethought our client event format and tailored to meet your expectations (we’ll still go to some ball games when we can!).
Here we are a little less than a year out from the shutdowns that began in early 2020. I have heard such a range of experiences from “I haven’t met my newborn grandchild” to “everything is pretty similar except my hair is outta control.”
The question really is: What has changed for you? Or said differently: How has Covid changed you? Are you finding interaction with your personal/professional network easier or more difficult?
As we get through this, likely things will never be the same. We may find that virtual interaction is acceptable, even encouraged for certain things. Also, some interactions cannot be replicated and need to be in-person and stay in-person (thank your barber/stylist the next time you see them). Some changes for the better, some for the worse. But hey, the world turns and we turn with it.
Send us your feedback, we’d love to hear from you!
Logging off for now,
Craig Johlfs, CFP®