Skip to content

Financial Services Races toward Customer Experience Greatness

Data and analytics — the secret sauce in a 360 degree customer view

The financial services industry is racing to deliver amazing customer experiences. Completing my first year at Hearsay – and looking back on years spent at data and analytics companies – the race was inevitable. As digital technology capabilities rise, customers’ expectations have increased for personalized, high touch engagement and the industry has been forced to compete in an age of transformation.

The goal of building a seamless customer experience has been pursued for over 10 years now. Industry after industry has been disrupted by cloud-first, agile and flexible upstarts, driven by volumes of new data types that could suddenly be captured cost-effectively and we entered the age of the customer. The personalized experiences of B2C giants like Amazon and Uber forever changed the way every company does business. From retail to healthcare to streaming movies to insurance, customers today choose businesses that deliver an engaging, relevant experience by phone, online and in-person.

At the core of that customer experience? Data. For the Financial Services industry, this is fortuitous. As an industry, a side benefit of mandatory compliance and regulatory requirements is the vast amount of both customer and communication data we capture. This data can be the foundation for creating more personalized experiences. Working with enterprises in the era of big data, the ultimate goal of almost everyone was to build a 360 degree view of the customer. One of the biggest challenges coincidentally, was the capture of customer data and client engagements. However, as innovative, open source technologies such as Hadoop and Spark let us both house and capture streaming data and unstructured data — social media data being one of those — our views began to expand. With enough data, artificial intelligence began to hit the mainstream. We could suddenly detect sentiment, for instance, with more accuracy as our algorithm finally had enough data to train quickly with increasing levels of accuracy. Simply put, our ability to understand and serve our customers personally was greater than ever before.

However, there were challenges. First, the majority of customers had enterprise legacy systems with siloed data. They struggled to integrate ever increasing amounts of information to create one ‘golden record’ for each customer that could be accessed across all departments. Second, and by far the bigger challenge, was incomplete (or in some cases too much) customer data. Enterprises had difficulty capturing and integrating data and of course determining what gold actually existed in the vast data lakes that emerged. They were often limited by cost and talent to sort relevant data and began building metadata catalogs. These challenges continue.

For financial services today, however, we are much further along in addressing these issues. The constant capture required for compliance has become invaluable. We can now expand our view and understanding of the customer with the data captured across multiple communication channels such as social media, texting and voice. Applying AI, we can begin to automate and trigger actions that will make personalization faster and more precise. AI is so prevalent because of these simultaneous data forces. For more on this you can read my article on the convergence of forces that drove this phenomenon.

Financial Services firms still struggle with many of the same integration issues other enterprises face. However, the data collection phase is ripe for discovering valuable insights. Insights that will lead to a more personalized experience that advisors and agents can deliver based on client expectations. I’m excited to see the progress our customers are making on this journey to create a high tech and right touch experience for their clients. When we enter 2020, the winners will be those who leverage data across multiple communication channels and leverage insights to drive action for a one of a kind, personal client experience.

Hearsay a Finalist for Two Wealth Management Industry Awards

Recognized by WealthManagement.com in Technology Providers: Social Media Leadership and Innovation New Applications categories

Hearsay is on a mission to make compliant digital communications easier for financial advisors and more personalized for their clients. So when the only awards program of its kind to honor outstanding achievements by companies, organizations and individuals that support financial advisor success notified us that we’d been named a finalist for two awards this year, needless to say we were thrilled.

WealthManagement.com’s prestigious Industry Awards recognize new technology innovations, product categories and products that enhance advisors’ ability to move the industry forward, help advisors better run their businesses and enhance service to their clients. Based on outstanding achievements over the past year, Hearsay Social was recognized as a finalist in the category of Technology Providers: Social Media Leadership. We’ve also been nominated for Hearsay Relate, our compliant text and mobile calling solution, for Technology Providers: Innovation New Applications categories.

With a record number of nominations for its awards program this year – more than 650 – we’re especially honored to have been named a finalist in two categories. WealthManagement.com is laser-focus on supporting, educating and elevating wealth professionals that aligns perfectly with Hearsay’s undertaking to transform the financial services industry. To be named a finalist in two award categories by an organization with such a mission underscores the importance of the work we do every day to help our customers’ advisors better support their clients.

We made it to finalist in the Social Media Leadership category, on the strength of Hearsay Campaigns. Hearsay Social makes it simple for advisors to subscribe and automate social marketing activities so that they can spend more time one-on-one with clients and prospects. Hearsay Campaigns posts fresh, relevant content on the advisor’s behalf so that even the busiest representatives can be social leaders. Advisors can increase social activity and engagement while reducing the impact on compliance and supervision teams. Additionally, Hearsay Campaigns offers corporate marketers increased distribution for their best content, ensures brand consistency across the field and provide ROI measurement of their social selling programs.

In the Innovation New Applications category, Hearsay Relate was recognized as a game-changing communications application that helps regulated financial services firms modernize the way their advisors communicate with clients, increasing personalized touch points across the digital channels that clients prefer. Relate’s features provide advisors the ability to delegate administrative tasks; artificial intelligence that simplifies common, industry-specific workflows, such as predictive, one-touch “quick replies” to texts; and pre-scheduling texts for annual review meeting confirmations, billing reminders, bond maturation and more.
A panel of independent judges made up of top names in the industry will determine the WealthManagement.com 2019 Industry Award winners who will be announced at a special event in New York City on September 12, 2019.

SEC Reg BI: Here’s How Hearsay Can Help

It’s been a long time coming, but it’s finally here. Compliance experts have been talking about these changes since April 2018, when our own Deep Kingra participated in a compliance conference where experts discussed how the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) would carry forward the “Best Interest Rule” originally promulgated by the Department of Labor. Those experts predicted SEC action in May of 2018. One year later, the SEC finally followed through. On June 5, 2019, the SEC voted 3-1 to raise the bar on the standard of conduct for how brokers and advisors operate. By passing the new Regulation Best Interest (Reg BI), the new Form CRS Relationship Summary, and updating two separate interpretations under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, the SEC is enhancing “the quality and transparency of retail investors’ relationships with advisers and broker-dealers…while preserving (in terms of choice and cost) a variety of investment services and products.”

Some, like SIFMA President & CEO, Ken Bentsen, say this is a big win for the industry and investors alike, imposing substantial new requirements and ramifications for those found to be out of compliance. Others, like AARP don’t think it goes far enough to protect investors contending the new rules leave too much ambiguity and can easily confuse investors.

Regardless of whether the rules go far enough, there are definite actions firms will need to take before the transition deadline of June 30, 2020. Reg BI and the new advice reform package will require brokers and advisors to change their operations, including mandatory disclosures, marketing materials and compliance systems. The good news, Hearsay customers, is that Hearsay is here to help.

Four Ways Hearsay Can Help with Reg BI Compliance

Pre-approved content: Organizations will soon have an affirmative obligation to demonstrate that certain marketing materials sent to clients serve that client’s best interest. Features such as Hearsay’s Content Library allow Hearsay customers to pre-review and approve content before advisors send those communications to their clients. Customers are able to adapt their current work activities to Reg BI requirements without substantial change management.

Proof of action: Organizations will now have to affirmatively prove that an organization is serving a customer’s best interest. Hearsay Cloud’s compliance layer helps here by archiving all communications sent by advisors through Heasay software, allowing organizations to not only show records of communication, but to show those records within the context of the full conversation between the advisor and client.

Profile automation API: Reg BI also placed emphasis on mandatory disclosures and how advisors market themselves to the general public. This will have a concrete impact to advisor profiles on social media and biographical information on an advisor website. Organizations will need technological assistance to ensure continued compliance with these requirements. With the soon to be released (Q3 2019) profile automation API, Hearsay customers will be able to analyze and update broker / advisor profiles at scale. Profiles include Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and advisor websites.

Professional Services engagement: In a recent audit of one client’s field social profiles, the client discovered only 11% had mandatory disclosures included. Reg BI will not leave room for that kind of lax compliance. The Hearsay Professional Services team can help you determine what your specific Reg BI challenges are and how we can help.

Are there other ways you can think of that we haven’t discussed here? Reach out to your customer success manager to learn more.

Hearsay expands Advisor Cloud to partner with the critical systems you rely on

New integrations allow advisor firms and insurance companies to leverage Adobe Experience Manager, Sitecore, DocuSign and more, to make high-quality social publishing, client engagement and field insights easier than ever

It’s no surprise that enterprises use a variety of tools in support of data-driven sales and marketing. No one platform can do everything you need. In theory, all of these tools make life easier and improve outcomes. But who among us hasn’t experienced the complexity of manually integrating data from two, three or more systems and putting it all together in Excel? Improving results and saving time with today’s software is only possible when systems talk to each other. At Hearsay, we’re doing our part by aligning our product and integration strategy alongside our customers needs.

System integration is nothing new to Hearsay; for years our customers have been able to sync Salesforce, Microsoft, or any other CRM they may be using, as well as their existing archiving vendor, using our compliant digital communications platform. Now, we have extended the Advisor Cloud platform further to integrate with other core systems, notably content management systems, e-signature, business intelligence, data visualization and more.

As we continue to expand the Hearsay platform to become a core component of our customers’ respective ecosystems, we are laser-focused on delivering solutions and workflows that complement and add to the systems our customers rely on every day.

Hearsay Integration Use Cases

The leading financial services firms leverage the Hearsay platform and our extensible APIs to solve critical challenges facing their businesses.

Share all content with Content Management Systems integration

By integrating with content management systems such as Adobe Experience Manager or Sitecore, your best-in-class corporate content can now be shared seamlessly with field advisors and agents with a single click.  Your field can now easily access your highest quality marketing content for quick and simple compliant distribution to their networks via social and personal websites. Firms can significantly expand the reach of marketing efforts, provide agents and advisors with the most engaging content, and more accurately measure content performance and the impact that content has in delivering results for the field. It saves marketers valuable time too, by eliminating the need to enter content into two different systems and syncing advisor/agent-client interactions back for tracking.

Enhance critical data points for Business Intelligence and Data Visualization

Hearsay already provides embedded analytics, powered by Looker. But for customers using other business intelligence and data visualization platforms such as Tableau, Power BI or SAP BI, integrating Hearsay can help surface critical new data points. For instance, Hearsay Relate offers metadata that has been missing from customers’ core systems (texts, call data, etc.). By combining this with a tool like Tableau, sales leaders glean actionable insights, i.e. engagement data that can help identify gaps in coverage where reps are under-resourced. As a result, teams can operate far more efficiently.

Compliant document execution over any channel

Hearsay APIs also help automate and facilitate the timely execution of critical client documents. Hearsay integrates with Docusign, for instance, to deliver paperwork on the client’s preferred channel to advance advisor/agent productivity — all while remaining compliant. Then with Hearsay Relate, any questions about documents can be answered immediately. All of these activities are automatically logged into core systems so agents and advisors, as well as leadership, get a clear picture of the status of critical documents.

Is there something you want to integrate with Hearsay that’s not outlined here? We’d love to talk about it to see how we can support you.
While Hearsay APIs may be the most noteworthy release, we’ve made several other updates and upgrades since the year began. Customers can see them here.