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How Prudential Leverages Texting to Build Client Loyalty

“It was really a no brainer for us. We’ve had so much success with social media using Hearsay; we were happy to move forward with Hearsay Messages and to finally have a solution that meets our business needs.” – Birdia Chambers, Prudential Head of Social and Digital Strategy
hearsay messages textingMore than 50 percent of today’s financial advisors are texting their clients, because they know that’s how their customers prefer to communicate. And texting is the most responsive form of communication; not only are 98 percent of text messages opened, 90 percent are read within three minutes.
As a leading Fortune 50 financial services company with thousands of advisors, Prudential recently implemented Hearsay Messages to capitalize on this powerful communication channel, increase engagement and drive client loyalty.

What Was Prudential Looking to Solve?

For several years, Prudential’s advisors were very eager to text their client but their policy prohibited them from doing so. Prudential’s compliance team didn’t have a mechanism in place to supervise, monitor or capture advisor texting activity.
“We weren’t successful in finding a solution that would satisfy the regulatory obligations associated with texting until Hearsay created its Messages product,” said Birdia Chambers, Prudential’s Head of Social and Digital Strategy. “It was really a no brainer for us. We’ve had so much success with social media using Hearsay; we were happy to move forward with Hearsay Messages and to finally have a solution that meets our business needs.”
Prudential also needed a solution that provided quick, easy attestation – consent from clients that explicitly states they’ve opted in to receive text messages from a Prudential advisor – in order to abide by company compliance policies.

Who Was Involved in the Discovery Process?

As common in any large firm, there were multiple stakeholders during the discovery and decision-making process. Prudential achieved buy-in by:

  • Keeping control partners in the loop every step of the way, specifically during the concept phase.
  • Engaging their compliance, risk management and legal partners, allowing them to weigh in and truly understand what type of solution they were looking for.
  • Working closely with their technology team, as this was not just a systematic solution, but a compliance solution as well.
  • Involving senior leadership to ensure there was the necessary executive support to move forward with this type of solution.

What Were the Results?

“Our advisors are constantly telling us how easy the app is to use; how intuitive it is to be able to send a text message to a client,” said Birdia. The most common uses to date have been sending polite greetings, as well as meeting reminders and acknowledgements. As a result, Prudential has seen a significant increase in advisor productivity.
Prudential is currently incorporating Hearsay’s new Texting Console for Hearsay Messages, which gives advisors the ability to have their administrative teams send and respond to text messages from their desktop computers, on the advisor’s behalf. With advisors spending 55 percent of their time in client meetings, on the road and other client-facing activities, the Texting Console offers a valuable way for staff to establish a “texting command center” at the home office to quickly respond to client texts.
Hearsay Messages also offers various types of attestation to ensure compliance. To meet internal regulations for consumer opt-in, Prudential chose custom email attestation. Advisors simply let their clients know they should be expecting the email, and as a result of this proactive communication, no clients have opted out.
Within just a few months, Prudential’s use of Hearsay Messages has produced impressive and insightful results, including:

  • Clients respond to advisor texts within 2.5 minutes on average
  • No clients have opted out of receiving text messages
  • No compliance violations by advisors
  • Easy learning curve – advisors have quickly adopted Hearsay Messages with little training
  • Highest texting traffic: Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays

One-to-one messaging is undoubtedly the key to deeper client relationships. We look forward Prudential’s continued success on this powerful new channel!
For more information, watch the Prudential webcast featuring Birdia and Victor Gaxiola, Hearsay’s head of customer advocacy.
Interested in a Hearsay Messages demo? Contact your Hearsay rep or fill out our quick request form!
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“It was really a no brainer for us. We’ve had so much success with social media using Hearsay; we were happy to move forward with Hearsay Messages and to finally have a solution that meets our business needs.” – Birdia Chambers, Prudential Head of Social and Digital Strategy
hearsay messages textingMore than 50 percent of today’s financial advisors are texting their clients, because they know that’s how their customers prefer to communicate. And texting is the most responsive form of communication; not only are 98 percent of text messages opened, 90 percent are read within three minutes.
As a leading Fortune 50 financial services company with thousands of advisors, Prudential recently implemented Hearsay Messages to capitalize on this powerful communication channel, increase engagement and drive client loyalty.

What Was Prudential Looking to Solve?

For several years, Prudential’s advisors were very eager to text their client but their policy prohibited them from doing so. Prudential’s compliance team didn’t have a mechanism in place to supervise, monitor or capture advisor texting activity.
“We weren’t successful in finding a solution that would satisfy the regulatory obligations associated with texting until Hearsay created its Messages product,” said Birdia Chambers, Prudential’s Head of Social and Digital Strategy. “It was really a no brainer for us. We’ve had so much success with social media using Hearsay; we were happy to move forward with Hearsay Messages and to finally have a solution that meets our business needs.”
Prudential also needed a solution that provided quick, easy attestation – consent from clients that explicitly states they’ve opted in to receive text messages from a Prudential advisor – in order to abide by company compliance policies.

Who Was Involved in the Discovery Process?

As common in any large firm, there were multiple stakeholders during the discovery and decision-making process. Prudential achieved buy-in by:

  • Keeping control partners in the loop every step of the way, specifically during the concept phase.
  • Engaging their compliance, risk management and legal partners, allowing them to weigh in and truly understand what type of solution they were looking for.
  • Working closely with their technology team, as this was not just a systematic solution, but a compliance solution as well.
  • Involving senior leadership to ensure there was the necessary executive support to move forward with this type of solution.

What Were the Results?

“Our advisors are constantly telling us how easy the app is to use; how intuitive it is to be able to send a text message to a client,” said Birdia. The most common uses to date have been sending polite greetings, as well as meeting reminders and acknowledgements. As a result, Prudential has seen a significant increase in advisor productivity.
Prudential is currently incorporating Hearsay’s new Texting Console for Hearsay Messages, which gives advisors the ability to have their administrative teams send and respond to text messages from their desktop computers, on the advisor’s behalf. With advisors spending 55 percent of their time in client meetings, on the road and other client-facing activities, the Texting Console offers a valuable way for staff to establish a “texting command center” at the home office to quickly respond to client texts.
Hearsay Messages also offers various types of attestation to ensure compliance. To meet internal regulations for consumer opt-in, Prudential chose custom email attestation. Advisors simply let their clients know they should be expecting the email, and as a result of this proactive communication, no clients have opted out.
Within just a few months, Prudential’s use of Hearsay Messages has produced impressive and insightful results, including:

  • Clients respond to advisor texts within 2.5 minutes on average
  • No clients have opted out of receiving text messages
  • No compliance violations by advisors
  • Easy learning curve – advisors have quickly adopted Hearsay Messages with little training
  • Highest texting traffic: Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays

One-to-one messaging is undoubtedly the key to deeper client relationships. We look forward Prudential’s continued success on this powerful new channel!
For more information, watch the Prudential webcast featuring Birdia and Victor Gaxiola, Hearsay’s head of customer advocacy.
Interested in a Hearsay Messages demo? Contact your Hearsay customer success team!
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Creating a Text Message Compliance Policy for Advisors: 5 Considerations

text messagingWe all know that texting is mandatory among next-gen consumers. But did you know that it’s a growing communication channel for advisors, too? According to a recent internal Hearsay survey of more than 1,700 financial advisors and insurance agents, nearly 30 percent of advisors are already sending text messages to their clients.
From a compliance standpoint, are your advisors breaking your policy and putting your firm at risk?
Opening up a new communication channel for advisors isn’t easy, especially for compliance. With regulators paying closer attention to compliance infractions via text messaging, firms need to have the proper supervision over their advisors’ activities on this channel. Similar to opening up social media networks to your firm, in order to reap the full benefits of texting, you must plan and account for compliance and legal issues that could put your company at risk if left unchecked.
Here are five things to consider when opening up this new channel of communication at your firm:

1. Understand your use cases

Given the different content categories, it is important to encourage behavior for approved use cases and create disincentives to discourage employees from engaging in prohibited activities. For instance, a policy can contain rules that only permit advisors to use text messaging in order to maintain their relationship with clients.

2. Determine advisor texting intent

It is worth evaluating how you will enable your field with texting capabilities and adjust your policy according to how it will be leveraged. Provide concrete examples of what is allowed and what is not allowed.

3. Understand different text types

It is important to understand the difference between short code versus long code texting capabilities. Depending on the model you support, communicate the associated state and federal consumer protection laws in your policy.

4. Understand the level of consent required to contact individuals

When conducting business communications via text message, rules may require consent between the consumer and employee before having certain conversations. For instance, customers who have a prior business relationship with an advisor require a level of consent that is lower than a prospect. It is important to know and understand the type of consent that is required for your sanctioned use cases.

5. Record the consent

Once you have an understanding of the type of consent that is needed, make sure that there is a record of consent provided by the consumer. Even if consent can be obtained orally or can be implied by circumstance, ensure you have a corresponding record that demonstrates such consent was properly obtained.
For more on how to create a text message policy for your firm, read our free, comprehensive Texting Policy Guide for Financial Services and check out our webinar on how to roll out a compliant text messaging program.
Disclaimer: The material available in this article is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice.
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3 Best Practices for Rolling Out a Compliant Text Messaging Program

textingDid you know that 98 percent of texts are opened and 90 percent are read within the first three minutes? What’s more, texting has been proven to help advisors close deals faster – research shows advisors saw a 40 percent higher conversion rate when texting a prospect after an in-person meeting.
Few can argue that texting is one of the biggest game changers for improving the advisor-client/prospect experience; 80 percent of financial services firms are either currently using or plan to use text messaging as a key part of customer and employee communications.
But how can organizations open up this powerful channel and ensure compliance? In 2016 alone, there have been more than 11 regulatory disciplinary actions against financial services firms related to unsupervised business communications, which is a major uptick from last year. Without a program and policy in place, advisors are leaving firms at risk.
In a recent Hearsay webcast on how to roll out a compliant text messaging program, guest speakers Yasmin Zarabi, Hearsay Vice President of Legal and Compliance (@yasminzarabi), Bella Tityevskaya, Guild Mortgage Vice President of Compliance and Legal, and Meghbartma Gautam, Hearsay Product Manager (@skyspeak), walked through three best practices to consider when implementing an advisor text messaging initiative:

Best Practice No. 1: Follow the Four Pillars of Compliance

Like any other digital program, texting for business purposes comes with certain risks and responsibilities. Hearsay’s four pillars of compliance (below) provide a framework for firms that want to enable their advisors to engage on digital channels, including text messages. Companies should have a formal written policy that is distributed among its field force and ensure they are trained properly. In addition, firms need to make sure that the program has proper supervision as well as record retention tools in place.
four pillars of compliance

Best Practice No. 2: Assign a Steering Committee

Cross functional teamwork is essential to roll out a compliant program. Bella emphasized that it’s critical to form a steering committee that includes members from IT, compliance, legal, sales and marketing teams. This committee should be involved in both selecting program criteria and vendors.

Best Practice No. 3: Adhere to Attestation and Legal Requirements

Under consumer protection laws, advisors must have consent to text business messages to consumers. Therefore, it’s important to select a technology partner that has set up attestation. There are several laws that need to be considered, including the CAN-SPAM Act, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and FINRA regulations. Firms should determine the purpose of the message and whether the vendor has the means to comply with the requirements for that text.
The question isn’t should firms allow advisors to text, but rather how can they allow them to do so compliantly. For more information, watch the webcast below and join the conversation using #HSCompliance!

Disclaimer: The material available in this article is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice.
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LIMRA Annual Conference 2016: Innovation and The Age Dichotomy

limra-100-anniv-3-color-finIn celebration of LIMRA’s 100-year anniversary, nearly 1,000 forward-thinking executives from across the globe gathered in Chicago last week to discuss key issues transforming the life insurance industry.
Two main themes included the importance of innovation and the dichotomy of Baby Boomer and Millennial behavior, priorities and preferences.
LIMRA’s CEO & President, Robert Kerzner noted, “Disruption isn’t coming. It’s here.”

Innovate and Adapt, or Fail

Guest speaker and Former Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, encouraged attendees to embrace and be part of the disruption. Innovating and adapting to change is imperative for everyone. Any company designed for success in the 20th century is doomed to fail in the 21st. The looming question asked of everyone was, “How will you drive that transformation rather than being driven by it?”
Many of the sessions focused on the challenge of meeting customers’ expectations. Speakers encouraged organizations to think with a customer-centric approach, by building experiences around the consumer.

Everyone’s Talking About Millennials, But Don’t Forget the Boomers

How companies engage both Boomers and Millennials requires an understanding of similarities and differences in the use of advisors and technology. Millennials now represent 25 percent of the population (1.8 billion worldwide) and 70 percent of their households’ own life insurance. They want to engage with advisors face-to-face, yet deeply care about convenience and value. (Only 15 percent of Americans are willing to pay more than $100 for advice on financial risks and insurance products.)
While the Millennial market is primed to be unlocked, Kerzner encouraged attendees to continue investing in the aging population. After all, Boomers and retired Americans hold 84 percentof all U.S. investable assets (of $31 trillion). In addition, 70 percent of seniors will need long term care by 2025. Both of these groups represent a major opportunity for the industry. The same techniques can work, but must be adapted.

So, what’s ahead for LIMRA and their members in the next 100 years? There is no doubt the priorities will be centered around technology, evolving regulation, and continuously finding a new way to reach customers.

Dreamforce 16: Lessons Learned from Women in the Boardroom

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Claire Hughes Johnson, Clara Shih and Sukhinder Singh Cassidy

Research shows that Fortune 500 companies with the highest representation of women board directors attain significantly higher financial performance on average than those with the lowest representation of women board directors.
This year, we were fortunate enough to hear from a powerhouse panel of women, including our very own Clara Shih, who have earned a boardroom seat and have had the opportunity to impact change from the top. The panelists shared insights on driving change and offered advice on breaking into the world of corporate boards.
(Watch the full recording of the panel discussion.)
Road to the boardroom
Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, Founder and CEO of Joyus, currently serves on the boards of Ericsson and TripAdvisor. She was deliberate in her quest to join a public board. While many considered her to be too junior at the age of 30, she made her mission known and her colleagues took note. Sukhinder saw the growing need for both digital and international experience in public boards. She joined a nonprofit board before taking on her first public board just one year later.
Clara Shih, Founder and CEO of Hearsay, noticed that tech and digital were becoming increasingly important. As a new CEO seeking a Fortune 500 board position while also running her own board at Hearsay, Clara was tapped by Sheryl Sandberg to replace her seat in the Starbucks boardroom. Reflecting on that moment, Clara said, “Credit to Sheryl Sandberg for seeing something in me that I didn’t see in myself.”
Claire Hughes Johnson, COO of Stripe and board member of Hallmark Cards, Inc., was thoughtful about what she could commit to. Her first board was with a nonprofit school, before joining Hallmark’s private board. Claire highlighted the importance of finding the right fit and focusing on the issues you care about.
She went on to provide additional context, describing the major differences between nonprofit, private and public boards.

  • Non-profit boards focus on giving, fundraising and providing operational advice.
  • Those on private boards typically get pulled into as much as they want which. VC’s don’t have as much strategic influence.
  • CEO’s don’t want public boards to run the executive team, but rather represent shareholders.

A goal or a reflection of success
So, what’s the secret to  joining a board? Well, if you aren’t a CEO, at what are you a domain expert? Boards are all about specialization and bringing that experience to table, which means you need to be the best in your field. Claire was quick to point out that joining a board shouldn’t be the goal. If you have demonstrated a specialization, it’s a signal. Have awareness of your network; you have to be out there. That wait to get tapped thing doesn’t work for everyone. Similar to looking for your dream job, consider what it is that you care about, what products you use and whether you are in a position to learn more. What is it that you represent? What constituency you are representing? You have to advocate and campaign for yourself.
The importance of paying it forward
It’s no secret that once you’re on a board, you’re likely to be approached for new opportunites. When these women can’t take on additional responsibility, they always pay it forward and advocate for other women who are looking to join a board. The issue of advocacy is so important to Sukhinder, she founded theBoardlist, a curated marketplace to help discover and find exceptional women leaders for private company boards. theBoardlist aims to accelerate gender diversity and business performance in the boardroom. To date, over 2,000 women have been nominated, 50% outside of Silicon Valley. Sukhinder believes high quality supply leads to high quality demand.
Influencing change from the top
An important role of any board member, especially at a public company is around governance. You are incentivized to see something no one else is. Building relationships with the management team, providing insight and asking the right questions are critical first steps. It’s no surprise that the boardroom is a great place to discover best practices. Sukhinder has been able to impact change with succession and talent planning as well as recruitment at Joyus. She’s also brought efficiency to the boardroom. Gone are the days of presenting a deck with a hundred slides. Instead she encourages the board and executive team to identify ten issues ahead of time and determine what can be influenced in those five board meetings throughout the year. Clara has brought several best practices from the boardroom to Hearsay, including the introduction of strategic planning meetings as well as financial and operational planning in the fall. She went on to say, “I feel like I’m a better CEO at Hearsay because of my experience on the board.” Claire always comes back from her Hallmark board meetings with a new perspective on the challenges that the hundred year old company faces. She is constantly inspired by the company’s commitment to reinvention.
The need for diversity beyond gender
Women are not the only demographic to come up short in the boardroom. There is an overwhelming lack of diversity across minorities as well as sexual orientation. All three panelists agreed there are far greater issues at hand and no one has tackled them well. We need tools to grow the pipeline of diverse candidates and surface it to exist. Public companies are ahead of this as they are much more methodical and know the skill sets they need to add. Private companies often struggle. It’s viewed as more of an afterthought. If a recruiter takes three times as long to hire for a position, so be it. Companies need to have representation that includes international, minority groups and even those with experience from outside of the industry. Due to the many legal requirements that employers face, it’s important to represent who you are and talk about it as part of your identity, especially when networking. You are your best advocate in promoting your brand. If you want to be on a board, speak up and let the company know about your ambitions. A diverse board always results in better outcomes.
The panelists left those in the room, and millions around the world watching live, with a sense of inspiration and empowerment. The lessons learned and actionable steps provided truly resonated with the audience. No doubt there are many more women (and men) well on their way to the boardroom after hearing from Clara, Sukhinder and Claire.
Check out our full Dreamforce coverage here!