By Mike Gertsema, CEO & Wealth Advisor
Texting is something that almost everyone understands these days – but it was foreign to me and a lot of other people about 15 to 20 years ago.
Writing this blog reminds me of the time my wife and I decided to give in and get our kids flip phones.
Our First Cell Phone Bill
We had one in college, one about to enter college and one in high school. I was pretty clueless on which phone-package to purchase – especially since I wanted the kids to use them sparingly and thought it was a great tool for emergencies.
I didn’t spend much on texting portion of the package because it was expensive and I didn’t see much need for texting, plus it was cumbersome trying to text with a flip phone because there were three letters on each number, which I thought would frustrate our teenage children.
Well, a couple of months after purchasing the phones we received the shock of a lifetime when I opened the cell phone bill. It was well over $1,000! I knew it had to be a mistake because I had no idea how it could be correct until I looked at the texting charge for our youngest son’s phone number.
Back then it cost ten cents to send a text and ten cents to receive a text. Anthony quickly left the room when I was going over the outrageous bill with my wife because he knew he was the guilty party. He was shocked as well and offered to somehow make it right with us.
That bill made me quickly understand what texting was, its cost, what phone plan we needed and how to restrict the abuse of texting. The subject of texting and that phone bill still gets a lot of laughs in our house.
As our family evolved into smartphones and more affordable phone plans, we found texting to be the kids’ preferred method of communication. When our daughter and son went off to college, we really missed them and wanted to talk to them about their college experience.
My wife and I both wanted to hear their voices, only to find they were good with just texting. When we called, we’d get their voicemail, but when we texted them, we would get a response quickly.
If they wanted to talk to us, they would call us and expect us to drop everything to visit with them (we didn’t and still don’t mind doing this for them). We’d also get text messages from the boys when they were in college saying something like this, “I’m doing ok, but thing$ could be better. I sure mi$$ you and hope you’re doing well.”
The use of the “$” sign for the “s” was a hint. Very $ubtle!
They’re all grown and have children of their own now, so we’ll see how their experience with cell phones compares to mine.
The business world is catching up with our family with regard to texting.
How Some Phone Calls Can Drag Down Your Client Experience
Over the years, calling was the preferred method of communicating with clients. And, when it comes to making financial transactions, it’s required by our compliance department and the industry regulators.
Playing Phone Tag
Although, sometimes clients just have a quick question or need some information only to find themselves playing telephone tag with us which gets very frustrating and hurts our clients’ experience when working with us.
We’ve also realized that being put on hold is a very irritating feeling, especially when you end up not talking to the person you called for in the first place. The next alternative is to leave a voicemail.
A lot of times I leave a voicemail hoping to get a returned phone call sooner than later. Sometimes I feel like the voice message gets lost somewhere and when I get the returned phone call, I forgot what I called for in the first place.
Talking to a Computer Instead of a Person
I made a call to my cell phone company and I talked to a computer first and eventually got the pleasure of talking to a real person.
I was so frustrated talking to the computer that when I finally talked to a real person I was upset and very discouraged with the company service and my customer experience.
It’s hard to believe that companies don’t realize what they are doing to the consumer in the name of saving money, which I believe in the long run will hurt the company’s profits.
How Emails Helped for Awhile
The next option the business world quickly adapted to was email to fix a lot of the problems with using the phone and leaving messages.
When email started, it was really a time saver and it allowed us to respond more quickly to clients and provide better service. We could respond to the quick question and help them move on with their day.
Another reason that emails were so effective was compliance departments could capture and archive all correspondence with clients for both the client’s protection and the firms.
As time went on, the email process started getting more crowded and it seems like everybody wanted your email address. Emails started replacing the fax machines with scanners which helps us become more efficient, but it also demands more of our time.
There are times when I receive over 100 emails per day and only a small percentage of the emails are important.
What used to make people more efficient has grown into a time killer. Emails can destroy productivity forcing people to limit their time responding to emails. It’s not only businesses that have the problem.
I have talked to clients who decided to change their email address to get away from the number of emails and especially all the spam emails.
There are times when I use email and still get a quick response, so emails are still very effective and very helpful when working with clients and other business professionals. Email still ranks as the most effective in marketing as well.
This brings us back to texting.
Texting Can Help Elevate Your Client Experience
It seems the use of texting is beginning to grow in the business world – just like it did with the kids 15 to 20 years ago. My dentist’s office, pharmacy, bank and doctor’s office all text me with short messages or reminders.
Personally, I like it much better than a phone call, voice message or an email because it’s personalized, helpful, doesn’t get lost in the spam and doesn’t disrupt my day.
At Gertsema Wealth Advisors, we offer our clients the option of texting our main phone number (816) 259-5060.
It’s really not about the phone, emails, or texting – it’s all about client service, providing value and improving the client’s experience.
Gertsema Wealth Advisors strives to improve client service, be more efficient with everyone’s time and make life more convenient for our clients. Clients want a real person giving a real response directly.
We’ve been able to use texting in a whole new way within our practice since our compliance department can capture and archive all text messages with clients for both the client’s protection and the firm’s.
The beauty of texting our office is when a text arrives, Taylor, Kalei, Jackie, Nick and I all see the text, and the best person to answer the question will respond. I’m happy to say that everyone in the office is here (and more than willing) to help our clients.
There aren’t different advisors for different clients because our independent office doesn’t operate that way.
We’re here to provide the best possible service and client experience. Texting also works on our mobile devices, which is a lifesaver because sometimes when I’m not in the office or near my computer or it’s after office hours I can still be available to answer a quick question or request.
It saves a lot of time, avoids the run around that happens with a phone call or the lack of a response with an email or emailing the wrong person to solve the problem.
We find ourselves trying to accomplish the same thing we were trying to accomplish years ago with our kids. Some of our clients prefer a text over a phone call – whichever way you prefer to communicate, we will do that for you.
If you have questions or want to learn more about our services, feel free to:
- Check out our website at gertsema.net
- Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Call me at 816-259-5060
- Or, text me at 816-259-5060
Hope to hear from you soon and remember – it’s all about client service!