“CEO’s insights: Client communication in times of crisis” by Ms. Radhika Gupta

Speaker: Radhika Gupta, CEO, Edelweiss AMC

Moderator: Rajendra Kalur, CFA , Director- CFA Society India

Contributed by: CA Nishit Vyas

In these times, communication can be a strength (we can be champion at it) or a weakness (which may lead to a crisis of communication). No training or corporate boardroom can train an individual to communicate in times like these. For example just imagine a beach…

I1

Under normal times, we would have imagined a beach to have a beautiful sunset (A), or a beach hut (B) or a sand castle (C), but today we imagine it to be a colour painting by a kid (D) because that is the closest we can get to beach while we are under lockdown. In an example as simple as this we get four different interpretations and that summarises why we need to communicate clearly. Thus, it is imperative for leaders to help their teams and clients envision the same beach that he or she is envisioning and not four different beaches.

I2

For a client who has been suffering from all of this, communication must remain sensitive and empathetic towards him/her.  Statements like “ Valuations are cheap and it is time to buy or my fund has fallen significantly less than others or you would have made 90% return in 1 year after Global Financial Crisis (GFC)” appear too ‘Sales-sy’ and must be avoided.

I3

Therefore good communication must be:

  • Quick, ie: Put out a note (on the same day) in response to the impact of a RBI move or a rumour in the market
  • Simple and not cheesy marketing gimmicks
  • Bold
  • Consistent, ie: the CEO and the salesman in a remote location must communicate the same version of the beach (remember!!!) to avoid vague interpretations for the client
  • Not sound desperate but be empathetic and honest.

How do we communicate when we can’t go to work?

  • Bad messages are better delivered through face (video conferring like zoom etc) and not voice (phone calls).
  • Avoid watsapp as a tool of formal communication.
  • Social media is a big-big friend: intelligent blogs and clarifications in response to a crisis can be hosted on social media platforms to communicate to a wider audience including the media.
  • People watch and listen more than they read: 2 min video garners more eyeballs than a 2 page note.
  • Written records of oral communications is a must to avoid legal implications later.

A real story:

  • Mr David Kabiller is the head of sales at AQR Capital.
  • In August 2007, AQR funds lost ~3Bn $ overnight when the bond crisis happened and David was vacationing in Bermuda then.
  • But David was a master of client communication, he called each client and told them that we might have lost 3 Bn $ but we have raised 1 Bn $ yesterday.
  • Literally from the beaches of Bermuda, he saved the face of the firm – simply due to bold, honest and timely communication.

Watch webinar at : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rKMDRDfQTlE

 

 

 



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