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Message to Advisors: Put the 'Custom' in Your Customer Experiences

Remember when it used to feel like Big Brother was watching you when a website remembered you had visited it before? These days, one could argue it would be downright annoying if a site you signed up with didn’t remember who you are, where you live, how you want to pay and what actions you performed in the past, whether they were things you had searched or purchased.
Thanks to technology, our expectations around the customer experience have changed dramatically in just a few short years. We are more comfortable with providing information about ourselves, as long as there’s a benefit or payoff that we want. At the other end, companies are innovating the way they use that personal data to provide increasingly customized experiences, which in turn make it easier for customers to offer up even more personal information.
In Mary Meeker’s recently released 2015 report on Internet trends, she makes the case that we’re now at a point where consumers not only want, but expect experiences on their terms – getting what they want, when they want it, and how they want it. She points to several technology startups who are leveraging smartphones and GPS to provide consumers with personalized, on-demand products and services via a few taps of a mobile app. These companies are disrupting a variety of industries, including transportation (Uber, Lyft), food (Caviar, Munchery, Sprig) and travel (Airbnb). As technology startups that use data to provide an ultra-personalized, ultra-convenient experience capture more and more market share, the threat to institutional companies is real.
For financial advisors and agents, the lesson here is clear: You need to engage with your clients and prospects when they want to hear from you and how they want from you.
Consider these three tips:
1. Listen for life signals
You’re well aware that there are certain key events in a person’s life that are opportune moments to reassess their financial situation: a new child, marriage, car, living situation, educational opportunity. And thanks to social media, many people announce these changes to their social networks. Rather than leave it up to luck to be in the right place at the right time – or, worse, be in the dark altogether – build your social media presence and leverage technology to help you quickly identify these important life events happening in your social networks.
2. Be omni-channel
A big part of providing a personalized customer experience is giving them a choice in how to communicate with you. The ability to provide an omni-channel experience – where interactions move seamlessly between online and mobile SMS and phone and in-person – is increasingly important in this hyper-connected era. By being findable and available on multiple channels and platforms, the easier it is for customers to engage with you.
3. Focus on the relationship
At the end of the day, the financial services business is built on personal relationships, and that means showing customers and prospects that you’re more than just an advisor selling financial products and services. Thanks to social media and technology, you can easily share the non-professional side of your life – your interests, friends and family, community service work. You might be surprised at how many customers are happy to share the same with you.
How are you delighting your clients and prospects with custom experiences?
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Connie Sung Moyle

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