By: Johan Minnie, Managing executive, customer & adviser experience, Liberty Group
In the face of an uncertain future, it will be our shared experiences that keep us together. We’re in it with you.
One of my favourite historical sites is the ancient city of Pompei, preserved for those fortunate to visit and have a glimpse of Roman life many centenaries ago. With the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, it was all over within a couple of hours… And most citizens were unprepared…Much like the eruption of the volcano at Mount Vesuvius, there’s no way to adequately prepare for a global pandemic. But you can help to minimise it, be there to help others recover in the aftermath, and conquer the new challenges that emerge by facing them head-on.
The COVID-19 crisis has disrupted and changed the lives of people from all walks of life, but our industry is built on the premise that we will protect our customers in times of crisis. While the pandemic has left many people in financially and emotionally precarious positions, we’ve realised that the best we can do is offer solid, relevant and sound advice and support, and ensure that our clients know that we’re in it with them.
Liberty has always been about the commitment to ensuring financial freedom for South Africans, but now more than ever do we realise that we must also remain positive, be a protective shield for the people worst affected by this newfound economic volatility, and along with our adviser partners, help our clients make the best decisions to keep their future goals intact.
Access to advisers is more important than ever before
Several months since the outbreak began, we’ve had to re- evaluate how we can connect with our clients, particularly our team of financial advisers. While the technology of our industry has evolved over the years, the pandemic has forced us to develop new ways to connect, whether it be digitally or emotionally. It may be difficult to see much positivity in the wake of a global crisis, but for Liberty, we have seen this as an opportunity to become better at what we do. Since the South African lockdown began in March, we’ve accelerated our online, digital and remote working protocols, allowing our financial advisers to be more available – because we know they’re a lifeline for many of our clients. As economies weaken and our clients’ worry about their investments, our advisers are helping to keep the panic at bay. This could be by recommending new, lower-risk investment options, helping them to keep their insurance premiums affordable or simply reminding them of how long-term investments have survived – and even thrived – following previous economic crises.
But it’s not just about financial advice…
Everyone’s lives have been affected by the pandemic, and our advisers can empathise. Social distancing is a terrible constraint on professionals who rely on the trust they develop with clients, oftentimes in person. It’s why we believe it’s so important that even with the physical distance, we stay available and acknowledge the emotional state of our clients. We feel that regular communication and honest, proactive and reactive advice is what adds value to our clients’ lives. It’s the shared experiences between our advisers and their clients that are most important for maintaining connection in such a trying situation.
Now more than ever, we must rise above the challenges emerging out of the pandemic together, even in the face of an uncertain future.