The Human Client Experience in Wealth Management
There’s a lot of talk (and investment) in client experience – but the missing link is human client interaction. This is fine in certain categories like credit cards, but not financial advice and planning. Journey research shows clients don’t want to choose one or the other – they require a seamless omnichannel experience which sometimes means looking up their account balance through a mobile app without having to talk to anyone, and other times means being able to get their advisor on the phone when Brexit or a life event happens.
The issue with digital-only experiences is that they quickly become commoditized table stakes. Every mobile app these days basically has the same functionality (account balance, trade stocks, portfolio statements). Digital has become table stakes – you need mobile apps to stay in the game, but having a mobile app doesn’t score you any extra loyalty because everyone else has it too. Typically, it’s a race to the bottom where firms compete on price alone.
What still commands a premium, and is priceless, is the human experience. The Holy Grail is, as Steve Jobs said in 2000, “the intersection of computers and humanism” where technology can be used to enhance human connection. This is the Advisor Cloud manifesto.
But getting advisors to embrace technology is hard. For one, there is regulation and supervision burden. Advisors are also, annoyingly, human beings – set in their ways, resistant to change. But more than ever, because of the seismic shift in consumer expectations, agents must change.
Around the world, the average adult spends over two hours each day on social media, and a total of six hours engaging on a digital screen. In this era of Google and constant connectivity, consumers prefer to do their own research and validation – CEB/Gartner estimates that 57% of the buying decision has been completed before a prospect is willing to speak to a rep. This means content marketing and being findable online are more important than ever. Since most individual advisors don’t have the ability to manage content marketing and SEO, corporate marketing teams play a critical role enabling the full advisor digital engagement stack: Social Selling, Advisor Sites, Advisor Texting, and Advisor Email.
Introducing Hearsay Advisor Actions
Over $68 trillion dollars in personal wealth is set to be transferred to spouses and the next generation in the coming decades, with three-quarters of this at risk from heirs switching advisors. Even existing, longstanding client relationships are increasingly under pressure from the fee awareness which roboadvisors and subscription fee models have introduced into the market.
The best advisors avoid these risks through excellent proactive service and financial planning. The top practices have figured out they should use a combination of beneficiary meetings and social events targeted at clients’ children to start building relationships before a transfer event. Digital engagement encompassing texting, emails, and calls allow advisors to stay top of mind and deepen relationships between visits, and often turning into cross-sell opportunities.
On the client acquisition front, over $7B is spent each year by wealth management firms on marketing and advertising. In addition, advisors spend on top of this on local business development and events. Whether prospects are sourced from corporate or by advisors themselves, the follow-up and onboarding today are high-friction and inconsistent. Even the best advisors don’t always consistently and systematically follow up because there are many steps and everything is manual.
Hearsay’s new configurable Actions Orchestration Engine changes all of this. It allows every advisor to behave as the very top producer does, and automates 90% of the manual steps.
Today’s next best action AI efforts typically fail because advisors are not incentivized to manually report back to corporate whether or how they performed the suggested action. Without the closed-loop feedback, machine learning cannot occur. Hearsay addresses this problem by closing the loop with built-in tracking on all client interactions and journeys regardless of channel.
As we tackle these field execution gaps, starting with Beneficiary Engagement and Life Events, and later Market Movements and Required Distributions, we expect to shift the typical normal distribution of low-, mid-, and high-performing advisors to a new world where everyone can easily behave as the best would. This will completely change transformation, with a human client experience that is also data-driven. We can enable every advisor to go from transactional product pusher to high-tech, right-touch advisor and fiduciary!