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Reinventing Your Customer Experience After the Pandemic

The pandemic has changed the lives of Americans in many different ways – from how people shop for groceries where they do their jobs. It has also changed the way many clients interact with their financial advisors.

The value of advisor-to-client advice has taken on new importance over the years. Even though the economy quickly recovered from the pandemic slowdown of 2020, many people are still facing a great deal of financial uncertainty. This is especially true among Millennials, the oldest of whom are now nearing the age of 40, who are going through two economic downturns.

hungry for financial advice

Nearly half of non-retired American adults say the economic impact of the pandemic has made it difficult for them to achieve their long-term financial goals, according to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center. Many of them are hungry for the kind of financial and investment advice that only a professional financial advisor can provide.

However, financial advisors will have to rethink, and perhaps re-invent, the advisor-client experience to attract these investors and increase the wealth of their firms under management.

Reinventing the customer experience begins with rethinking how you appear to customers in the digital world. Nearly three-quarters (73%) of clients under the age of 40 say they start an online search for a financial advisor and more than half (52%) say they use LinkedIn to find a financial advisor. We do. A strong online digital presence is important.

However, your digital presence should go beyond just being found online. Today many clients expect to be able to communicate with their advisors on social and digital platforms. Therefore, you may consider increasing your presence on social media sites commonly used by younger clients, such as Instagram and Snapchat, and using these platforms to share useful information and interact with them. .

However, this does not mean that most clients want a full-digital relationship with their financial advisor. according to this new position of adviceIn a study conducted by Accenture, only 17% of clients prefer a full digital relationship with their financial advisor. Finding the right balance between digital and human touch will be one of the biggest keys to reimagining the client experience in a way that attracts more clients to your firm.

In the meantime, you can add new tools to your tech stack that can help you improve your client experience. These include financial planning software that enables you to project your clients’ financial futures based on various “what-if” scenarios; CRM software that lets you store personal details like hobbies and interests of your customers; Account aggregation software that lets you consolidate information from all your clients’ accounts at different financial institutions and present it on a single, easy-to-use platform; and e-signature tools that eliminate the need for customers to make a special visit to your office just to sign documents.

Clients want more advisory engagement

The good news for financial advisors is that many clients say they want more, not less, interaction with their financial advisor. According to the Accenture study, four out of 10 clients (39%) said they want their advisor to be more proactive and hear from their advisor more often. And about a third (28%) said they would like to meet with their financial advisor more often.

Increasingly, investors are also looking forward to a more personalized experience. According to an Accenture study, more than half (55%) of clients believe the advice they receive from their financial advisor is too generic. The same percentage believe they can do a better job of investing on their own and realize a better return on fees. One possible reason many clients feel like they are not getting advice across the full spectrum of their financial lives beyond their investment portfolio.

In fact, 88% of clients refer to their financial advisor as a “portfolio manager.” This points to the need for advisors to position themselves as holistic financial advisors who can help clients manage every aspect of their financial lives, including banking and lending services, tax planning and preparation, and assets. plans are included.

In addition to investment management, the Accenture study shows that today’s clients want their advisors to offer the following:

  • Banking Products (79%)
  • Concierge Services (48%)
  • Tax advice (46%)
  • Insurance advice (40%)
  • Real Estate Investments and Commodities (27%)
  • Cryptocurrency Products (11%)

These percentages are even higher among younger customers. For example, 97% of Generation Z, 91% of Millennials and 85% of Generation X clients say they expect their financial advisor to receive banking and insurance services.

Based on this data, becoming a more holistic financial advisor should be an integral part of advancing the client experience. This will require providing comprehensive, holistic advice with excellent, highly personalized customer service.

Who do investors trust?

Another part of a resume customer experience is understanding who clients rely on to provide financial and investment advice. According to the Accenture study, seven in 10 (69%) clients said they would rely on financial advice from technology firms Google, Apple or Facebook – even though these firms have little to no track record in providing financial advice. Is.

Those who feel this way have easier access to information (52%), technology tools (52%), integration of their personal and financial data (50%) and a track record of innovation brought about by these technologies (38%). are attracted to. Belvedere. Given this, you may want to evaluate your current technology ecosystem to ensure that the customer experience is streamlined and effective.

What to consider when rediscovering customer experience

First, technology should be a large component of a new customer experience, including a strong online digital presence and the ability to communicate with customers across social and digital platforms.

Second, despite the importance of technology, the human touch will continue to be critical to providing the kind of experience customers want. You have to strike the right balance between digital and in-person client interactions based on the individual preferences of each client.

Third, you should strongly consider providing more holistic financial support by expanding the services you provide beyond just investment management support and advice. Your goal should be to help clients manage every aspect of their financial lives by offering banking, concierge, tax, insurance, and estate planning products, services, and advice.

Finally, consider what clients rely on today for financial and investment advice. According to an Accenture study, seven out of 10 (71%) clients want to work with an advisor whose values ​​are consistent with their own.

Mike Watson is SVP, Head of RIA Custody at Exos Advisor Services.

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