Balance can help you avoid the technology trap


Balance can help you avoid the technology trap

Technology can help you be more efficient in day-to-day operations, but it can just as easily become an almost untamable beast.

Technology has changed the game. And the speed at which advances and new generation tools keep coming, it can easily become overwhelming just keeping up with it.

As much as technology helps the advisor become more efficient in day-to-day operations, it can just as easily become an almost untamable beast. Too often, advisors learn the hard way how technology can sometimes be a burden because they have to spend too much time, money and energy to maintain it.

Here are some ways you can avoid getting trapped by technology:

Keep your focus on the client

Sometimes the sheer amount of information that flows and the daily influx in your inbox can take your attention away from the one thing that matters most to you – your clients. Eventually, your productivity can begin to drag.

Take some time to manage your info and email blocking controls. If you don’t need it, block it or avoid it. Adjust the sensitivity of your junk mailbox so that what you do get in your inbox is what you need. Block some time to go through your inbox. Answer what you can immediately. If the answer takes time, schedule a time in your daily calendar later that day, week or month to get to it.

Technology should serve you and help you make efficient use of your time.

Manage client expectations

One thing smartphones and tablets have done is make us impatient if we don’t get answers to our questions right away. Your clients are no different. And sometimes they can be, well, unreasonable. They want their query about a stock sent at 11 p.m. answered immediately. And like any good advisor, you will probably be there to provide a response. But you shouldn’t have to be.

“It’s wise to set boundaries around communication early on with your clients,” says Mark Thompson, an independent advisor and member of Raymond James’ Technology Advisory Council. “And when necessary, turn off your devices to focus on what you need to.”

Stay current and be discriminating

It has happened to all of us at one time or another. We invest in a new piece of hardware or software to learn that it has already been replaced by the latest and greatest thing. Keeping up with technology advancements can be challenging. But sometimes the newest thing is not necessarily the best.

Before you buy a new device or system, ask yourself: Can this really make a difference? Is it customizable and can it integrate with your current systems? How long will it take to get your return on investment? And, will your clients be able to use or benefit from it?

“Striking the right balance with technology is a challenge for every advisor,” says Bryan Sweet of Sweet Financial Services in Fairmont, Minnesota. “It’s still a relationship business. Technology should enhance those relationships, make you more proactive, and simplify and personalize the client experience.” 

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