“The broker said the stock was ‘poised to move.’ Silly me, I thought he meant up.”
― Randy Thurman
Poor communication between co-workers can be comical – just ask the nurse who misread the doctor’s orders on how to administer a patient’s analgesic medication , or the literal-minded baker’s assistant who made a cake that said, “Happy Birthday in Blue.”
Other times it’s not so funny. Like in the case of Johan Rall, the commanding officer of the Prussian forces who decided to spend the winter of 1776 in the City of Trenton. During a rather intense game of dice, when a soldier delivered a note from a loyalist warning of General George Washington’s imminent attack, Rall stuffed the note into his pocket without reading it. It was found on his dead body the next day.
Luckily for us, poor communication between co-workers in the financial services industry isn’t usually a matter of life and death. But it does have consequences.
Poor communication, or even the total lack of communication, has been blamed for a host of issues: low company morale, missed deadlines, and even fist fights. But the most often cited consequence of poor communication between co-workers is its negative impact on collaboration.
In today’s world collaboration between staff often means the sharing of important data. Like a client’s portfolio information, or the current status of their risk tolerance. Communicating this information has the tendency to become tedious, as the tidal wave of new technologies makes the gathering of data easier and therefore more exhaustive. And with so much data flowing between you and your team, the chance for confusion grows.
And any confusion between team members almost always extends to the client. Imagine a client’s frustration when, after devoting an afternoon in your office to the creation of a beautifully interactive financial plan, he or she calls the next day to follow up and ends up speaking with another staff member who is blissfully ignorant of the contents of that plan.
Fixing poor communication could be as simple as meeting every week to review your team’s goals. Or as complex as integrating a CRM system into your entire business. But regardless of your strategy, the outcome is almost always the same. Take the necessary measures to ensure everyone on your team is working from the same playbook and you’ll notice an uptick in client satisfaction.