Monitored An Employee Phone Call With An Advisor This Morning And Felt Compelled To Interrupt: VOIP For RIA Owners And OSJs

Monday, January 30, 2012 12:23
Monitored An Employee Phone Call With An Advisor This Morning And Felt Compelled To Interrupt: VOIP For RIA Owners And OSJs

Tags: business owners | client communications | client satisfaction | leadership | managing | phones | VOIP

My company’s VOIP phone system gives me the ability to monitor employee calls without their knowledge. I was monitoring a sales call with a financial advisor this morning, when I felt compelled to interrupt.

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This is one of the great features about VOIP. Here’s why.
The advisor was going back and forth with an Advisor Products salesperson.
“Doing everything we need — a new website, SEO copywriting, AdvisorVault for PortfolioCenter — will cost $7,000,” the said the advisor. "My partner and I need to figure out if we want to take a pay cut.”
My salesperson and the advisor were both missing the point.
I was losing it. 
The VOIP system lets me instant message employees. So I IM’d the salesperson and asked him to patch me into the call.
Admittedly, I felt a little awkward.
I told the advisor that I was monitoring the call for quality control purposes and felt compelled to interrupt because he and my salesperson were missing a key point: If you’re on a tight budget, focus on pleasing existing clients before marketing.
The advisor could improve his firm’s client experience significantly using AdvisorVault for PortfolioCenter. That was the most bang for his buck. Forget about SEO and everything else if money is so tight. For $2,400 a year, he could get AdvisorVault for PortfolioCenter and offer a great client experience to clients using the system to store wills, deeds, tax returns, insurance policies, and medical emergency information, as well as portfolio reports and other personal documents. (Sorry for the plug, but this is exactly what happened.)
My salesperson was humbled but appreciated the point about focusing on existing clients, and so did the advisor. For a veteran advisor, your existing client relationships must come first. If you give them a great experience, they will bring you more clients through referrals.
The lesson for today is that being honest with the advisor and my salesperson was the right way to handle the situation. It was honest and professional.
In speaking at conferences about technology to advisors, I sometimes mention that my company’s VOIP phone system enables me to monitor employee calls and that I routinely use this feature every day. Some advisors are aghast. Don't your employees resent it?
In my experience, they do not. If you use this feature to help people, and if the staff understands that it's for the benefit of the company and its clients, your employees respect that and cooperate. That's been my experience.
Listening in on a conversation with no need to respond gives you an advantage. You don’t get involved in ego and personality. While it may feel like eavesdropping, it's about business. Employees should not be doing personal business on company time and it improves client service and sales, which is good for the staff as well as your clients.
For RIAs and OSJs, a VOIP system that lets you “barge calls” is a great tool. To run a service business, monitoring calls is necessary.
In the rare instance you feel compelled to interrupt a call and speak to whomever is on the other end, be honest about the fact that you were monitoring the call for quality control purposes and then talk about how you feel you can be helpful. People appreciate honesty.



Comments (3)

I can see how the client would appreciate an executive monitoring and doing quality control on sales calls. I imagine the tricky point would be managing your employee's feelings about it. I think the way you handled this one was productive, and it seems like the salesperson appreciated it. Good handling of a sensitive case.
stephenw585 , January 30, 2012
I and my staff are on the same side. We are both motivated to make the company win. So risk of hurting the relationship is lower.
agluck , January 30, 2012
Chris Winn
An excellent tool for RIAs other independent firms that have those under their supervision. I of the would offer that taking this a step further could yield amazing results as well. Having an employee monitor selective phone calls of the owners can provide some invaluable feedback. Is what the Owner/Manager/Advisor is promising to the client operationally feasible, efficient, priced right? We include this as a critical item in our succession planning engagements. Enabling the team to learn from the Owner(s) and reminding the Owner(s), there is more than one way to approach most challenges and opportunities.

Activities like this are what enable a firm to grow from a "Practice" to a "Business".

Nice post!
Chris Winn , January 31, 2012

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