Communication is the focal point of customer service, and a failure to talk with the clients you serve is essentially a guarantee that the relationship will be shallow and short-lived.

Research has indicated that people are integrating more technology when they reach out to the businesses that serve them. Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter and online customer service chats are just a few of the means consumers can use to request additional help or file a complaint.

More companies are trying to address their customers’ demands through the internet. Of course, the financial advisor-client relationship is much closer than that multinational brands and consumers share, but that does not mean that delivering service has to be limited to face-to-face interactions and phone conversations. Ask your clients how they prefer to communicate with you, and facilitate those channels.

A study from NICE found that consumers feel more empowered and are reaching out to companies through a variety of channels – six, on average. Self-service is playing out on the web, through social media and smartphones, researchers found, with nearly 50 percent saying they will try to solve an issue on a company website before calling in to the business’ contact center.

NICE’s CMO, Benny Einhorn, notes that companies need to seize the opportunity in every interaction with a customer to shape the outcome “as it happens.”

“Service organizations that can impact that moment consistently across countless interactions and continuously throughout the lifetime of customer relationships will not only survive the rising tide of customer interactions – they’ll thrive,” Einhorn comments.

Specific to the financial services industry, NICE determined that just half of clients have been satisfied when they called in to speak with a representative.

In order to make sure none of your clients fall through the cracks, create a strategy that covers all aspects of communication. Consider setting up a rotating schedule for when you call a client on the phone and send them brief emails to just to check in. Make it easy for them to contact you or share a concern by providing a direct phone number. Or, if that would result in your cellphone ringing endlessly, set up a customer service hotline and dedicated email address.

To add a layer to customer service, empower the rest of your team by giving them guidelines on how they can help a client. Encourage them to be proactive in maintaining client relationships and reward them when they succeed in turning a negative interaction into a positive experience.