The financial services sector has been transformed by the onset of digital technology—but it’s also given advisors an invaluable resource to provide next-level client experiences.
Innovations across the digital, social and mobile worlds have reshaped client preferences, and it’s now standard to seek immediacy, simplicity, and customized advice. In finance, clients expect to communicate with their advisors whenever they want, which means firms must do more to retain their loyalty.
The bar has been raised—but that also means the stakes are higher. Today, those who leverage digital effectively have the opportunity to create long-term, high-value relationships with clients. This comes down to utilizing a selection of powerful digital tools for financial advisors’ interactions with clients. So what should firms’ objectives be when implementing these tools?
An advisor that knows their client well enough to make personalized recommendations is able to earn trust. This is a valuable asset in today’s financial services landscape. In order to build that relationship, firms and advisors must be prepared to communicate at their clients’ convenience, across multiple digital channels.
For financial advisors, digital tools should make it easy to reach customers who may not utilize traditional channels, such as via the telephone or in-person interactions. Starting with several channels gives the advisor the opportunity to establish a repertoire of trusted touchpoints with each client, which can eventually be converted into business opportunities.
Digital collaboration is a win for client experience, but it can also lead to problems if not deployed with security in mind. In today’s data protection climate, the base of a client’s trust often hinges on the quality of a firm’s digital security protocols. Security, therefore, must be chief among considerations when implementing new digital functionalities.
Firms should be on the lookout for solutions that can host remote interactions in a secured environment. Unsurprisingly, this will require verification and login credentials from both the client and the advisor. Integrating all communication channels into a unified digital platform is the ideal foundation for creating these secure environments, avoiding the need for repetitive (and time-consuming) identity authentication.
Having clear objectives is an important starting point determining which digital tools for financial advisors can truly add value to a firm’s CX offering. Drawing on Unblu’s extensive experiences working with diverse players in the industry, we’ve narrowed down five digital tools that ensure client experiences are a cut above.
01. Client onboarding software
Since it’s often the first high-touch interaction a client has with an advisor, client onboarding should be seamless. Using a digital onboarding solution is vital to achieving the end-to-end experiences that clients look for, and can be deployed for a variety of tasks. Financial advisors can offer a convenient, rapid service for straightforward processes like opening an individual or SME account, all the way up to onboarding trusts and complex structures. Whatever the client’s situation, an easy initial onboarding will ensure they remain open to new products and services in the future.
02. Online scheduler tool
An online scheduler automates the appointment booking process between financial advisors and clients. Not only does this boost efficiency by saving time and getting meetings booked in, but the best online schedulers will also make the run-up to a meeting more convenient for clients. Firms should go after digital tools for financial advisors that are capable of comparing several calendars to calculate the next available appointment—and of course include a reminder functionality that notifies clients of upcoming meetings.
03. Online meeting solution
True client-centricity means going beyond platforms like Zoom or Skype as catch-all solutions. In the current landscape, competitive firms will be expected to offer a range of functionalities for online meetings, empowering clients to communicate in the way that suits them at a given time.
This could be via an integrated video platform with access to relevant documentation, a co-browsing solution for collaborative tasks, or an e-signature add-on to close deals within meetings. Whatever the moment calls for, these meetings must take place in secure, compliant environments—a standard that is most easily met through an integrated digital platform.
04. Messaging software
Sometimes a query requires a lower-touch interaction than a video meeting provides. In situations like this, asynchronous messaging lets clients communicate with their financial advisors in a convenient, hassle-free way. If necessary, the query can be escalated to a real-time meeting—but generally, a messaging feature is an ideal way for advisors to resolve minor queries in a time-efficient and direct manner.
With an integrated digital platform, it’s possible to provide a messaging experience that resembles the functionality of popular platforms like WhatsApp. These maintain conversation history for quick and compliant access, as well as fostering easy conversation and rapport between advisors and clients in a secured digital environment.
05. CRM solution
If digital tools for financial advisors are your CX fleet, a CRM is the control base of all your customer-facing operations. By centralizing and organizing all relevant information on clients, leads, and prospects, a robust CRM takes care of many behind-the-scenes tasks so that firms can direct human resources towards productive client interactions.
A winning CRM should win you over with a modular design, open technology, and high configurability. It’s also important that it can be easily integrated with existing platforms so that data can be securely and efficiently managed. Once connected and configured, the CRM should produce a detailed picture of client behavior across every department and touchpoint.
Equipping financial advisors for CX success
Facing demands for personalization, convenience, and remote communication, financial advisors must be ready to switch their briefcases for digital toolkits. With a strategy pinned down, firms can afford to be selective about which digital tools for financial advisors they implement into their architecture. It'll be those that leverage digital to create seamless client journeys and ultra-convenient services who are first in-demand.