The 2019 Capgemini World Wealth Report confirmed many wealth managers’ fears, when it reported that unsatisfactory service experience is the most significant factor (87%) influencing HNWIs to move to other firms.
Trust is the glue that holds every client relationship together. Advisors must be authentic and transparent, sympathetic to a client’s situation and demonstrate their expertise in driving value in the relationship. During a recent webinar, Dominic Snell of Wealth Dynamix and Jonathan Drechsler of Recordsure debated how wealth managers can up the ante in nurturing trusted client relationships and deliver impressive client service, from the very first engagement.
Although this need to engage effectively out of the starting blocks might seem obvious, many wealth managers have focused digital transformation investments on onboarding and online portals. However, these initiatives are only experienced after a prospect has decided to become a client. If they suffer poor service during initial engagement, many will not get that far – first impressions really do count.
The key is to optimise client experience through every stage of the client lifecycle, which fosters trust, encourages loyalty and enables advisors to grow revenues by securing greater share of wallet. The only way to achieve this is through automation. In recent years, automation and artificial intelligence technologies have become robust and secure enough to support wealth managers in their quest for operational efficiency, a holistic client view and a frictionless client experience.
6 key takeaways
1. Eliminate duplicate data collection, at all costs. Few aspects of the client experience are more frustrating than being asked the same questions, over and over, by different people at every stage of the account opening process. Many wealth managers have failed to connect systems and processes in ways that support downstream data exchange, yet something as rudimentary as this can very quickly sour the relationship and leave clients wondering how carefully you are handling their data.
2. Leverage data to drive next best actions. A huge quantity of rich, real-world client data is captured during initial engagement: demographics, financial profiles, family structure, aspirations, goals, typical behaviour, and more. Systems and process must be capable of capturing this data, organising it into a unified whole and unlocking its value, which empowers any team (e.g. marketing, compliance, operations, AML) – not just advisors – to provide the best advice and take the most appropriate action, at the right time.
3. Be transparent to build trust. Clients must always know what data you are holding about them and how you are using it. When they can see how it can drive value and growth, and they appreciate the compliance that underlies it, they will consent to its retention.
4. Manage compliance more effectively. Firms have regulatory obligations under MiFID II to record all actions leading to advice, and GDPR to ensure data privacy. When conversations are recorded, transcribed and automatically analysed during the initial engagement phase, an indisputable authoritative record is created and the operational efficiency of the compliance process is significantly enhanced. Compliance risk and process flaws are quickly detected, compliance teams can focus human effort on issue resolution, and the records can be used for training purposes to improve prospect management in the future.
5. Spend time on value-added client service. By automating client lifecycle management processes, significant administration time – up to 50% for advisors – can be saved and reallocated to work that will reduce risk (e.g. suitability assessments) and increase AuM (e.g. matching products to client requirements in a timely manner).
6. Be considerate and compassionate. COVID-19 has reminded us that a little compassion can go a long way. Everyone has had to adapt to sweeping cultural changes and it is important to communicate with every prospect in an appropriate way. When switching from face to face discovery meetings to video calls, some HNWIs may feel unsettled, devalued and underserviced. However, some prospective clients feel less inhibited speaking on a recorded video rather than being in a room with a microphone, and being able to replay sections of the video to family can be beneficial. By communicating effectively, it is possible to transform crisis into opportunity.
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